2017年2月11日 星期六

《青春》:我的文言翻譯版本

我在報館做過電訊新聞的翻譯工作,英譯中,一直覺得這是非常好的文字功夫鍛練。這等於不斷的句子重組練習,把英語句子限定的內容要素,根據中文的思維和表述習慣重組成文字流暢、邏輯無誤的句子。中文要用標準漢語,以保證不同地方的華人都看得明白。後來發覺,對一些文字,若用文言文去翻譯,有時更順暢、明白,而有言簡意賅之效。

昨天讀到一篇手機傳來的「心靈雞湯」短文,翻譯的,四百餘字,很好讀。再找來英文原文一讀,發覺原文只 246 字,平實簡潔得多。這是美國作家 Samuel Ullman (塞繆爾·厄爾曼) 的著名作品。

塞繆爾·厄爾曼終年 84 歲 (一八四零~一九二四年),當過兵,做過生意,退休後到七十歲才開始寫作,可謂大器晚成。最出名的就是短短的 Youth,有稱之為散文,有稱之為詩。它之出名是拜美國將軍麥克阿瑟之託。「麥帥」很喜歡這文章,在美軍佔領日本期間,把文章張貼在辦公室牆上,並多次在演講中引述其中句子。《青春》一文因而在日本特別出名。

在網上可以見多個中文版本,最長的凡五百多字,最短的節譯本有 255 字。一般來說,英譯中的字數會多些,據我自己的經驗,中文字數約為英文的 1.6 倍,不過打印出來的版面較小。聯合國各種文字的文件中,中文版永遠最薄,用紙最少。

我直覺這文章適宜用文言文翻譯,試譯了,全文如下,共 290 字。

青春

原作:塞繆爾·厄爾曼 (Samuel Ullman)
翻譯:蕭雪樺

青春不計年,惟心境所致也。非關乎頰紅、唇丹、足健,而關乎志,關乎神馳之質,關乎懷騁之暢,此為脈動之所繫也。

夫青春,一往無前而無踟躕之患,敢採驪珠而不困於惰。多見於花甲男兒,反少見於弱冠少壯。幾度春秋何可老其人?老其人,失其志可也。

流光逝,可皺膚容;丹忱失,可銷冰魄。憂懼而自怯,則心志沒,氣歸塵土矣。

人皆誘於天下之秘幻,皆有童子好奇之稚心。人生之樂,眾所欲享,六旬與二八,何有異哉?汝心共吾心,皆有靈犀焉,苟能通諸大美、大願、大喜、大勇、大能,則青春恆存不棄。

苟或靈犀毀而蒙垢,滿目盡冰霜,神虛氣短,年雖雙十而老衰。苟若靈犀擎而通明,則氣朗神清,即八十騎鶴,亦可翔飛若青春舞動耶?

Youth
by Samuel Ullman

Youth is not a time of life; it is a state of mind; it is not a matter of rosy cheeks, red lips and supple knees; it is a matter of the will, a quality of the imagination, a vigor of the emotions; it is the freshness of the deep springs of life.

Youth means a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity of the appetite, for adventure over the love of ease. This often exists in a man of sixty more than a boy of twenty. Nobody grows old merely by a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals.

Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul. Worry, fear, self-distrust bows the heart and turns the spirit back to dust.

Whether sixty or sixteen, there is in every human being’s heart the lure of wonder, the unfailing child-like appetite of what’s next, and the joy of the game of living. In the center of your heart and my heart there is a wireless station; so long as it receives messages of beauty, hope, cheer, courage and power from men and from the Infinite, so long are you young.

When the aerials are down, and your spirit is covered with snows of cynicism and the ice of pessimism, then you are grown old, even at twenty, but as long as your aerials are up, to catch the waves of optimism, there is hope you may die young at eighty.

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