For the Mountaintop

Zhang Xiaofeng

-- To Students of the Graduating Class

| 译文摘自张培基《英译中国散文选二》

Long, long ago, in a very, very faraway place, a tribal chief found himself terminally ill.

1,《高出何处有》即“哪里是山顶”,可直译为Where to Find the Mountain,此处译为For the Mountaintop,意即“攀登高峰”更加突出了文章的主旨
2,faraway这是个需要注意的词,经常被误用,一般来说, faraway是形容词,做定语或表语.far away是短语,做状语.
如: Many faraway stellar systems can be observed through a space telescope.
Far away, and down near the horizon, the sky began to turn grey.
3,“正病危”,“病危”可译为be critically ill be dying,be critically ill; be terminally ill; be at one's last gasp
4,“酋长”可译为tribunal chief


He summoned three most promising young villager to his bedside and said, “As I’m leaving you soon, I hope you can do one thing more for me. Young men, you three are all unusually strong and resourceful, so I’d like you to strive to climb that high mountain which we’ve always been worshipping as a sacred place. Now do your best to reach the topmost and most forbidding part of it and then turn back to tell me about your findings.”

1,“他找来村中最优秀的三个年轻人,对他们说”中的“找来”即“召唤,召集”译为sunmmon或call together
2,” 村中最优秀的三个年轻人”译得很有意思,不是three most promising young of the village 而是译为villager,增加了行文的简洁性
3,to his bedside是增益成分,增强文章的画面感
4,“为我做最后一件事”通常我们会译为 to do the last thing for me,但the last thing 也有“最不愿意干的事”的意思,因此此处译为do one thing more for me
5,“最凌越的”即“最难通过的,最险恶的”,故译为most forbidding part

Three days later, the first young man returned smartly dressed and said with smiling face,“Lord, I’ve been to the mountaintop where I saw flowers of all sorts lining both sides of a path, babbling spring water and singing birds. That’s a real nice place.”The old tribal chief replied smilingly,“Son, I’ve been there before. The place with singing birds and fragrant flowers, as you mentioned, is not the mountaintop. It’s the foot of the mountain. Now you can leave.”

3,“孩子”可译为young man,此处译为son,因英语中年长者用它称呼男孩或年轻男子
4,“山麓”即“山脚”译为the foot of the mountain

A week later, the second young man also returned. He looked terribly weary and his face was weather-beaten.“Lord, I’ve been to the mountaintop where I saw groves of tall, solemn pine trees and vultures circling in the air. That’s a real nice place.”“What a pity!” said the tribal chief. “Son, you’ve been halfway up the mountain rather than to its summit. But you had a real tough time. Now you can leave.”

2,“不过,也难为你了”即“你所经历的已经很难了”译为But you had a real tough time

A month later, everybody began to worry about the safety of the third young man. However, he finally showed up, hobbling along in rags. His hair was off-colored and his lips parched, but his eyes were clear and bright.

shuffle shamble stagger wobble,都是表“跛行”的意思;rags一般指“破布,抹布,破衣烂衫”此处in rages即“衣不蔽体”
3,“清炯的眼神”即“清亮的眼神”his eyes were clear and bright.

“Lord, I succeeded in reaching the summit. Well, what shall I say to you about it? There was nothing there but the wailing highland wind and the blue sky hanging over the land.”

1,“高风悲旋”= the wailing highland wind,wail意为“哀嚎,痛哭”,这种小词的使用可以大大缩短行文长度,并使文章更加生动,前面的bobble等词,也体现了这点
2,“蓝天四垂”可按“蓝天笼罩大地”,译为the blue sky hanging over the land.


“So you saw nothing at all? Not even a butterfly?”

“No, lord, nothing. All you can see is yourself. You feel how insignificant you are in this infinite universe and how sorrowful and agitated you are at the thought of heroes through the ages.”

1,“只有‘个人’被放在天地间的渺小感”其中“渺小感”这个词不容易译出,因此译者转换说法,将其译为“你会感到自己在无限的宇宙里有多么渺小”即You feel how insignificant you are in this infinite universe下句的“想起千古英雄的悲激心情”也是采取了同样的策略
2,“千古英雄”可按“历代英雄们”理解,译为heroes through the ages.,其中through all / the ages是出镜率比较高的一个词了,可做状语,如Through the ages, Earth mother has nurtured the innumerable generation of descendants with the sweet milk.古往今来,地球妈妈用甘甜的乳汁哺育了无数代子孙。


“Son, you’ve reached the real mountaintop. According to our tradition, you’ll undoubtedly be made our new tribal chief. My best wishes to you.”


What makes a real hero? A real hero has cuts and bruises all over his body, he is all alone on a long journey and he feels with increasing sincerity how small he is.

1,“真英雄何所遇?”即“怎样才能造就一个真英雄呢?”译为What makes a real hero?
2,“他遇到的是全身的伤痕,是孤单的长途,以及越来越真切的渺小感。”中文有时习惯用一个动词带起一串宾语,在我们来看很好理解,但是对于外国人来说就比较抽象了,很难体会到其中的意思,因此翻译时要把“遇到”具体化,即“他遍体鳞伤,孤独地行走在长长的旅途上,并越来越真切地感到自己有多么渺小”,译为A real hero has cuts and bruises all over his body, he is all alone on a long journey and he feels with increasing sincerity how small he is.