26 2012

书名翻译的难题

Published by under Lost in Translation

书名的翻译,有时是件很头疼的事。有时候一些电影片名就已经让人觉得不好翻译,但是至少电影片名至少还有吸引人去看的作用,一些书名干脆就是故意让人看不懂,似乎那样才能激发读者的好奇心。

2012-09-25 The Casual Vacancy, by JK Rowling

JK Rowling 本周四将出版她第一本以成年读者为对象的小说 The Casual Vacancy。Vacancy 意思清楚,但加上 Casual 就有点让人摸不着头脑。幸好出版社还是透露的一些情节,所以把书名放到小说语境中,可以推断其实这是一个英国的选举专门词汇,指的是地方区议员(parish councillor)在任上离职后,产生的一个职位空缺,就叫 casual vacancy,根据英国的地方政府法案,必须马上通过选举填补这个空缺,这就是这本小说开头的情节。这个术语的正式翻译,可以参考香港政府的官方译法“临时空缺”,因为香港采用的英国的体制,这本小说书名可以翻译为《临时空缺》。

入选今年Booker Prize提名名单的 Hilary Mantel 的小说 Bring Up the Bodies 也有点让人无从着手。有些中文媒体把这里的 Bodies 翻译成了“尸体”,是错误地理解了原意。这本小说是作者的小说《狼厅》(Wolf Hall)的续集,写的是皇后 Anne Boleyn 的失宠陨落的过程,在叙事者克伦威尔的暗中策划下,Anne Boleyn 以“通奸叛国”罪名下狱,但审判过程还是要走走样子的,“bring up the bodies”是开庭审判此案时的一道命令,通知负责关押皇亲国戚的伦敦塔监狱中的护卫将Anne Boleyn的“同党”们提来候审。所以这本书的书名译成《提堂》是最合适的,而且还和《狼厅》呼应。

有些书的书名就根本没法翻了,比如去年有一本受到各方高度赞扬的小说 There But For The,作者是 Ali Smith。这个古怪的书名看上去是取自一句谚语“There but for the grace of God, go I”(“如非蒙主恩典,我非垮不可。”)的前半句,但其中的四个单词其实是书中四章的标题。我没看过这本书,无法从书的内容中领会到书名的深意,只有等待高手来提供一个准确传神的译名了。

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08 2009

Daily Quote: some upper middle class young magician

Published by under Daily Quote

苏格兰作家 James Kelman 在最近的爱丁堡图书节上说:

…if the Nobel Prize came from Scotland they would give it to a writer of fucking detective fiction or … about some upper middle class young magician or some fucking crap.

他没有指名道姓,但是苏格兰现在最出名的作家是写Rebus和其它侦探悬疑系列小说的 Ian Rankin 和Harry Potter系列的作者 JK Rowling。你可以自己去对上号。

James Kelman 属于苏格兰的“文学小说作者”(literature writer),是苏格兰唯一获得过图书奖 Booker Prize的作者。这些针对“类型小说作者”(genre writer)的攻击,自然引发了一番争论。

其实他在图书节上还对苏格兰文学现状说了不少有争议的,苏格兰报纸 The Herald上这篇文章有比较详细的记录:‘Chilled-out’ Kelman raises the temperature

The Sunday Herald 还组织了一场辩论:ARGUMENT OF THE WEEK: Is pulp fiction taking over Scotland’s bookshelves?

《卫报》上Alan Bissett的综合评论:Why Kelman’s rage at the genrefication of Scottish literature concerns us all

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十一 13 2008

英语阅读 JK Rowling on Harry Potter’s last, long walk

Published by under 英语阅读

英国作家 JK Rowling 在《生日图册》(The Birthday Book)中介绍她最喜欢的生日故事,选择她自己的作品《哈利·波特与致命圣灵》(Harry Potter and Deathly Hollows)中的一段:哈利·波特即将独自面对伏地魔(Voldemort)。

JK Rowling on Harry Potter’s last, long walk
The author introduces her favourite scene from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows in this extract from The Birthday Book, a treasury of children’s stories and poems

* JK Rowling
* guardian.co.uk, Thursday November 13 2008 11.19 GMT

Harry Potter by Quentin Blake Harry Potter in the Dark Forest. Illustration by Quentin Blake, copyright © JK Rowling 2008

I admit that, at first glance, the extract I’ve chosen for The Birthday Book might not seem particularly celebratory, given that it has for its subject my hero walking to what he believes will be certain death. But when Harry takes his last, long walk into the heart of the Dark Forest, he is choosing to accept a burden that fell on him when still a tiny child, in spite of the fact that he never sought the role for which he has been cast, never wanted the scar with which he has been marked. As his mentor, Albus Dumbledore, has tried to make clear to Harry, he could have refused to follow the path marked out for him. In spite of the weight of opinion and expectation that singles him out as the “Chosen One”, it is Harry’s own will that takes him into the Forest to meet Voldemort, prepared to suffer the fate that he escaped sixteen years before.

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