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口译笔译指导:汉译英基本功

2006-07-05 14:37

  最近我看了一本用英文出版的论文集,是介绍我国改革开放的情况的。书中共有文章18篇,其中13篇有译者署名,并经8人审阅,其余5篇没有译者署名,可能是作者自译,也许是直接用英文写的。

  这18篇文章均出自相关领域的专家学者之手,专业性比较强,要译好,或者要评论译文的优劣,必须有相关的知识。我们不具备这样的条件,而且我们只见到译文而见不到原文,因此我们只能就译文本身提出一些看法。

  一。名词与冠词

  1. Over long period of time in our country, state enterprise is a main provider in respect to financial income of nation.

  2. Those belonged to the latter approach pay much more attentions to the individuals.

  3. ……in term of both economics and environment.

  4. In other word, what do we think……?

  5. The actual situation is far from such a simple.

  6. In addition, the development of economy always has periods of rise as well as fall.

  7. Since 1990's, “globalization” has almost become an “everyday word” of the mass media in various countries.

  8. Those suffering more have to ask for aids from IMF and some western countries like U.S.

  9. On June 5, 1972 in Stockholm, United Nations held its first UN conference on Human Settlement, for the first time raising human environment issue into the agenda of international politics.

  10……capacity building thus becomes an only effective approach to sustainable development.

  英语的名词分可数名词和不可数名词,而且往往要和冠词连用。例1中的period,enterprise和nation都是可数名词。period在这里是泛指,没有说是哪一段时间,因此要加不定冠词,说a long period of time.enterprise在这里也是泛指,泛指往往用复数,或用单数加定冠词,表明这一类的东西,因此这里要说state enterprises,或the state enterprise, 既不用复数又不用冠词是不行的。nation在这里专指我国,一定要加定冠词,说the nation.例9中的issue也是专指,要加定冠词。

  英语有些名词既可用作可数名词,也可用作不可数名词。如preparation(s),negotiation(s),experience(s), success(es)等。这两种用法,其含义有时无大差异,有时略有不同。例2中的attention一词就属于后一种情况。据词典解释, attentions作为可数名词的复数,意思是 things that sb does to try to please you or to show their interest in you. 因此,例2只能用attention,不能用其复数形式。

  英语有些短语是非常固定的,叫做idioms,不能轻易改动,如in terms of,in other words,等等。因此,例3和例4中用名词的单数形式是不行的。

  英语许多词可以用作不同的词类,这在词典里都是标明的。但我们也不能随心所欲。例5 such a后面要跟名词,放个simple在那里是不行的,其实这句话只要把such a删去就行了。far from simple等于not simple,在语法上也是站得住脚的。

  用 economy一词泛指一个国家或地区的经济状况,要用定冠词。词典举例: The economy is in recession. | The new oil that we have found will improve the/our economy. | the slowdown in the Japanese economy  此三例选自三本不同的词典,但都用了the,有一本词典竟先说明(often the economy), 然后才释义。

  用英语表示“二十世纪九十年代”,应该是the 1990's.那一撇是可有可无的,但定冠词是一定要有的。这一点,许多译者容易忽略。

  例8里的IMF要加定冠词。词典举例: the IMF is an organization within the United Nations which is concerned with trade and economic development. 在例8中,U.S. 用作名词,前面也须加定冠词。再如“欧盟”的缩写是the EU.词典释义中写道: The EU used to be known as the EC(European Community)。这几个名称,the IMF,  the EU, the United Nations,无论是简称还是全称,在句子里作为名词出现时,都要加定冠词。有没有不加定冠词的情况呢?有的。UNESCO,NATO,ASEAN,这些词全不需要加定冠词。有什么规律可循呢?根据Michael Swan 所著  Practical English Usage(《英语用法指南》),首字母缩略词(acronyms),其读音像一个词一样,通常不用冠词。

  例10中的不定冠词须改为定冠词。根据Practical English Usage第65.4条,the经常与最高级连用,因为通常只有一个个体或集体称得上best或biggest等,其所指的是哪一个(或哪一些)是清楚的。由于同样的原因,the经常与first,next,last,same 和only连用。词典举例:She is the only person for the job.

  二。动词

  11.The influence of the related policies made by the government, including the policies which is considered afterwards to have played an active role in the development of the refrigerator industry, is secondary and supplementary.

  12.The disparity between the poor and the rich in food consumption are not manifested in quantity, but in quality.

  13.The first Constitution of the People's Republic of China which adopted on 1954 clearly indicates in its article 45: “……”

  14.Secondly, as mentioned above,  the comparison make us to think over the reasons of different choices of welfare policies.

  15.The rural people who made of the majority of the Chinese population did not enjoy these welfare.

  16.After the World WarⅡ, the developed economies have been recovering and developing rapidly.

  17.Who knows whether the SOE gains or losses?

  18.Although all the states are facing the possibilities of either win or lost, the developed countries enjoy the more favorable position than the under-developed countries.

  19.The government of Zhucheng town requested that the net asset in all Joint-Stock enterprises should be divided into two parts after fulfil their property assessment.

  20.As a result, the more rapidly the country develops,  the more tightly it is bounded to the international monetary and financial system.

  正确使用英语动词,需要注意三件事:一是时态对不对,与句中的时间状语是否吻合(如果有时间状语的话);二是数是否与主语一致,是单数还是复数;三是语态对不对,是主动还是被动。

  例11 which引导的从句中有afterwards,此时间状语的意思是“以后”,但其所指是过去发生的事,因此动词的时态应是过去时。从句主语 which指的是前面的复数名词policies,因此动词应为复数。这样从句就应改为which were considered……。 例12主语 disparity是单数,动词应该是is……,而不应是are……。例13 which引导的从句指的是constitution,动词应该用被动语态,因此应改为which was adopted……。

  英语动词是一个复杂的词类。除了注意以上三件事,还要看它跟什么词连用和怎样连用,一不小心,就会出错。

  例14主语comparison是单数,动词make需改为makes才能与主语的数一致。另外,make后面出动词不定式是不用to的,因此这个to 应删去。例15 make后面跟of可以表示用什么制作,但此处要表示to form,to constitute,就要用make up.词典举例: Women make up 56% of the student numbers.因此例15中的made of应改为made up.例9, raising the……issue into the agenda也不合乎英语说法,可改为putting the…… issue on the agenda.

  例16 先解决一个冠词问题。谈到“二次大战”之类的名称,英语若数字后出,则不用冠词,说Word WarⅡ就行了。若数字先出,则要定冠词,要说the Second World War.这一句主要是需要解决时间状语和动词时态一致的问题。After Word WarⅡ指的是二次大战结束后的一段时间,一般说来指的时间不太长,稍长一点也可以,但不能指到现在,动词只能是过去时。若想指到现在,就要说Since Word WarⅡ, 这样动词就可以用现在完成时或现在完成进行时。从例16的内容看,因提到recover,还是用过去时较好。这句话可改为After World WarⅡ, the developed economies recovered and developed rapidly.

  英语动词的形式变化多端。有时动词和名词的形式是一样的。如gain既可是动词,也可是名词。lose就比较复杂。动词是lose,其过去时和过去分词是lost,名词是loss, 形容词是loose.用哪种形式,全看它在句中起什么作用。例17,和前面的动词gains并列,就应该用动词loses, 而不该用名词losses.例18,在the possibilities of后面该用动名词winning or losing.例19,在after后面也该用动名词fulfilling.例20,后半句用了被动语态,但过去分词bounded是不对的。此处动词原形是bind,其过去分词应是bound,因此这里用is bound to……就对了。

  三。介词、连词与句子结构

  21.  When such a physical limit is reached, the food consumption and nutrition intake of the people would generally not increase despite of further rise in income.

  22. There was already a lot of discussions about the crisis in the economic as well as technical levels.

  23. On a certain degree, it is the goal but not the reality.

  24. The property assessment in the enterprise must be assessed by professional staffs and institutions that passed examination of the state.

  25. Having summed up the preliminary experience of reform in the cities and rural areas, the principle of…

  26. We should, from a long-term point of view, make efforts in developing the rural economy to reduce rural-urban disparity, therefore, labor migration from urban to rural areas, driven by benefit, will appear.

  27. The financial reform in China has made great progress, however, the whole financial market is still under restraint.

  28. But the question is, health is everybody's basic right, what is the reason to legally enforce some people to donate their blood just for other people's health?

  29. Government is no longer responsible for gain and loss in state enterprises since the reform, soft budget restriction in the enterprise changes more or less, the financial pressure for the enterprise aggravates.

  30. The reform of state owned enterprise was set as a key part of overall economic reform at the beginning of 80's,  since then the governments at central and local levels, entrepreneurs and economists have denoted much attentions and exerted many efforts to the reform,  but one has to admit that comparing to the reforms in all the other fields in country,  until now the reform of state enterprise is in the state of lowest point of “efficiency of input -output”, from all views, the achievements we have made can not match the huge efforts  (personnel resources, materials, finances and energies) we have exerted.

  介词是英语里最灵活的一个词类,它能引出介词短语在句中发挥各种作用,它能跟动词连用,把不及物动词变成及物动词,引出宾语。总之,介词在英语里广泛使用,在汉语里许多用动词表达的意思,在英语里可以用介词来表达。然而介词又是英语里一个很机械的词类,它有许多固定的说法,稍一改变,不是不合用法,就是产出了别的意思。这就使我们感到很困难,必须用心体会,牢牢记住。

  例21, despite就是介词,等于in spite of,因此不能说despite of,也不能说in despite of.例22,levels前面不能用in.levels在这里指的是讨论问题的角度,前面可用on.例23,习惯说法应是To a certain degree.此外,例1中的 in respect to也是不行的。可以说in respect of,也可以说with respect to,这是固定的,是不能换的。例13中的on 1954也是不行的,on只能用于日期,这里一定要用in.

  例24,主语是assessment,和动词must be assessed不搭配。把assessment删去,用property作主语,就和动词搭配了。例25,分词短语和主语不搭配,把principle换掉,用人来作主语就可以了。

  在英语里,therefore和however都是副词,不是连词,不能起连接分句的作用。词典举例: He's only 17 and therefore not eligible to vote. We thought the figures were correct. However,  we have now discovered some errors. 例26,可在第1个分句末尾加and.例27,可将however前面的逗号改为分号,或将此逗号改为句号,下面另起一句。

  例28,前半句是陈述句,后半句是问句。英语一般不这样说,可以分成两句,一个陈述句,一个问句,各自独立。也可以考虑在But后面加一个as,把前半句变成一个从句。

  汉语有时把几个短句放在一个长句里,只用逗号,不用连词,前后关系自明,这就是王力先生所说的“意合”。但这种作法在英语里则行不通。英语喜欢用连词,把前后关系说得清清楚楚,否则就不要放在一个句子里,这就是所谓“形合”。

  例29和例30就有这样的问题。现在别的问题都不谈了,只谈长句里面短句之间的联系。例29有三个短句,只用逗号相连是不行的,至少要把第3个短句之前的逗号改为and.例30很长,它所包含的三个短句也都有一定的长度,因此最好把它分成三句,从since then开始另起一句,然后从 from all views开始再起一句,这样就好多了。

  看到这里,读者也许会说,你啰嗦了这半天,但所谈内容的深度似乎并未超出任何一本简单的英语语法。的确是这样,本文所谈全是语法书里讲的最基本的道理,学英语的人没有没学过的。但知道这些规则是一回事,能正确运用这些规则是另一回事。

  本文所谈的十八篇文章,译文质量也不一样,有几篇质量很高,其余的则问题较多,参加工作的这二十多位译者和校阅者肯定学过好多年英语,掌握的词汇量很大,有不少翻译经验和专业知识,能翻译有一定深度的相当专门的文章。如果说他们还有什么不够的地方,那就是基本功还不够扎实,使用英语有许多漏洞。基本功问题不属于翻译问题,只是在翻译过程中暴露出来而已。不过事到如今,停下来重新练基本功,弥补这些漏洞已不可能,那就只能在今后的工作中针对这个弱点下功夫。

  我觉得,在这一方面,有两件事可以做。一是勤查词典,稍有犹豫就去查一查,正确的拼法,可数不可数,及物不及物,在句中怎样用,这些问题在字典里都可以解决。二是注意别人怎样用,不要视而不见。有人学了许多年英语,竟然不知道cannot是一个词,不能分开写,他们视而不见的毛病也太厉害了。只要做个有心人,注意观察,把基本功一天加固一点儿,日积月累,几年下来一定会大见成效。

  1970年,周恩来总理针对翻译工作有一篇讲话。他说:“搞翻译不是那么简单的,不是懂几句外国话就行的。不但要有政治水平,同时要有较高的文化水平。没有基本功和丰富的知识不行。基本功包括三个方面:政治思想、语言本身和各种文化知识。”

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