十二种提高译文质量的方法

.星期一, 03/25/2013 - 16:02

Twelve Ways to Enhance Translation Quality

十二种提高译文质量的方法

There is no such a thing as perfect translation-and even if there were, we could not be sure it would satisfy the average client or critic. But we have been looking for ways to improve the quality of our translations and we would like to share a few of our findings with you. This is not a How to Become a Perfect Translator in 12 Easy Steps sort of thing, but some of the suggestions may make you think-or perhaps smile, who knows.
    根本不存在“完美的翻译”这类事情——即使有,我们也无法肯定:它就一定会使客户或译评家普遍满意。但是我们一直都在不断地寻找改善我们译文质量的方法;我们很乐意与您共同分享我们的几个发现。这并不是“如何通过12个简易步骤成为一个完美译者”那类事情,而是一些也许可以引你思考——或许发笑,谁知道呢?——的建议。
    1. Avoid Rework
    1. 避免返工

    Let's begin with trying to do things right the first time. Editing and revising are tricky, treacherous and time-consuming tasks. So, try to translate each phrase as if the translation were to be published on real time. The fewer points go into the "later" box, the smaller the chance they will pass unnoticed during editing and proofreading.
    从第一时间开始就要尽力把事情做好。修改、矫正,是既费力费时又难得做到忠实的苦差事。所以,要尽力译好每一个词语,就好像要正式出版一样。进入“最后”一关的点越少,修改、校对时,它们被忽略过去的几率就越小。

    2. Keep a List of Dangerous Words
    2. 保存一张“易出错词语表”

    What are the easily confusable of your target language? Principle and principal? What words can be mistyped? We don't mean words that do not exist and thus will be rejected by the spell checker, we mean legitimate words, such as where and were, both of which are correct, but have different meanings. Keep a list of your "favorite mistakes" and use the search command to see if and when you used them.
    你的目标语中易于混淆的东西是什么?到底是“Principle”还是“principal”?哪些词语可能被打错? 我们的意思并不是说那些不存在的因而被拼写检查程序拒绝的词,而是说具有不同含义的词,即合法的词,诸如“where”和“were”,这两个词都是正确的。保留一张你“最爱出错”的词语列表,仅当你使用这些词语的时候,用一下搜索命令。

    3. Run the Spell and Grammar Checker
    3. 执行拼写和语法检查程序

    Always run the spell and grammar checker before editing a text. Before checking spelling and grammar, however, select the entire document, set the language to your target language and make sure the checker is fully active. The information should be somewhere in a tools menu.
    但凡你要修改一篇文本,修改前务必运行一下拼写和语法检查程序。但在做拼写和语法检查之前,你要“全选”整个文档,设定好你的目标语言,确认检查程序处于完全激活的状态,该信息应该在“工具”菜单里。

    Spell and grammar checkers are often ridiculed, because they fail to detect real problems and suggest ludicrous solutions to non-existing problems, but they do find a large number of points that deserve attention and many of the solutions offered are perfectly correct. They do not solve all problems, but save a lot of work.
    拼写和语法检查程序往往遭人嘲笑,因为它们有时不能发现真正的问题,往往给一些不是问题的“问题”建议一些荒唐的解决方案,但是,它们却能发现大量应该注意的点,而且提供的解决方案也是完全正确的。虽然它们不能解决所有的问题,但却节省了大量的工作。

    4. Comply with Target-Language Typography and Punctuation Rules
    4. 遵守目标语言的排版与标点规则

    Different languages have different typographical and punctuation conventions and your translation should comply with target language usage. Far too many of us forget this and impose source-language rules on our target-language text. For instance, we often see Brazilian Portuguese translations where words are capitalized following English rules.
    不同的语言有不同的排印和标点习惯,你的译文应该遵守目标语言的用法。在我们目标语言的文本中,我们往往过多的忽略了这一点,而过多地依从源语言的规则。例如:我们常常看到巴西葡萄牙语译本中,单词却是依从英语的规则大写。

    In addition, many of us are simply careless typists or never bothered to learn how to enter text using a computer. For instance, we often find translations...
    此外,我们中间许多人打字非常粗心,或者对学习如何使用计算机输入文本从不上心。例如:我们常常发现……

    ...where words are separated by more than one space, there are spaces before commas ,but none after( and similar problems with brackets )tabs are used incorrectly and so forth.
    ……一些译本中的单词被一个以上的“空格”分隔了开来,逗号前面也放上“空格”,而在标记号后面又什么也没有(使用括号也有类似的问题)等等。

    This type of text makes life unnecessarily difficult for editors, typesetters, and proofreaders alike. In addition, it leaves an impression of carelessness that does not contribute much to our image.
    这种类型的文本,同样也给编辑、排印工人以及校对人员造成不必要的困难。此外,也给人留下了粗心大意的印象,这有损我们的形象。

    Don't tell us this is none of your business: you should try to make your translations so good that editor and proofreader do not have to touch them. You cannot, but you should try all the same.
    别告诉我们说这无关紧要:你应该尽力使你的译文好上加好,使编辑和校对人员不必触动你的译文。你可能做不到这一点,尽管如此,但你应该尽力。
   
    The above should not be construed to mean that you are to become a typesetter. In fact, to paraphrase a well-known dictum, we have an agreement with typesetters: they do not translate, we do not do typesetting. It means that our work should conform to a few basic rules of "typographical hygiene."
    以上所述,其含义不应该被解析为:你将变成一个排字工人。事实上,可以演绎一条众所周知的名言,想必排字工人也会同意:“他们不翻译,我们不排印”。这就是说:我们的工作应该遵守“排印卫生”的几条基本规则。
   
    5. Never use the "Replace All" Command
    5. 杜绝使用“全部替换”命令

    This is the most deadly and fatal of all commands. We know it can be undone. But we also know that, as a rule, you only notice you have done something horrible half an hour after applying it and introducing another 100 improvements in the text, and then it is too late for control-zeeing it.
    这是所有命令中最致命、最具毁灭性的。我们知道可以“撤销”这个命令。但是,我们也知道:一般说来,在你应用该命令后半个小时,你忽然发现:你做了一件非常可怕的事情,文本里还又多出了100处改动,而这时你再想改回去却为时已晚。

    6. Don't Let the Tug of War Spoil your Translation
    6. 别让“拔河比赛”糟蹋了你的译文
   
    During translation, source and target language play a game of tug of war, creating an unceasing tension that may enrich our work-or not, depending on how well we can handle it.
    在从事翻译的过程中,源语言和目标语言常常像是在玩儿“拔河”游戏,生成一种持续的“拉力”,也许会充实我们的工作——也许相反,这取决于我们如何能很好地把握它。

    And the Winner is: the Source Language!
    如果赢家是:源语言!
   
    When the source language wins, we have a piece of translationese, where we can easily see the "print through" of the original.
    当源语言获胜,我们就会得到一篇带翻译腔的译文,你很容易看到原文的“复印效应”。

    Sometimes the text is free from grammar errors, but you can see that it is not the real thing. It is correct, but it reads funny. That makes the task of the editor a lot more difficult, because it is impossible to quote grammar rules to prove that the text needs changing, a situation that results in endless mud-slinging matches between translator and editor. In many cases, there is a PM involved who, to make things worse, does not understand a word of the target language.
    有时,行文并没有语法错误,但你会觉得并不是很地道。行文是正确的,但读起来却很滑稽。这给编者的工作造成了很多困难,因为不可能去援引语法规则来验证这个文本是否需要改动,这种情形常常导致译者和编辑之间无休止的相互攻讦。在多数情况下,有一个谁——他往往使事情变得更糟——不理解目标语言的词语的问题。

    A good way to determine whether a translation is natural is to read it aloud, but unfortunately we never have time for that. However, you should try to read a paragraph of each job aloud, just to make sure it flows well. You may be in for a surprise.
    判定某个译文是否地道的好办法就是大声地朗读,但不幸地是,我们从不肯为此花时间。不过,尽力大声朗读每篇译作其中的一个段落倒是应该的,只有这样才能确定译文是否流畅。你也许会收到意想不到的效果。

    Ah, don't tell us that you translate technical stuff and that does not need to read natural. With the possible exception of parts lists, every text should read natural in the target language.
    哇,莫以为你翻译专业上的东西,就不需要读起来自然流畅。包括那些可能有异议的部分,每一个文本用目标语言读起来都应该是自然流畅的。

    And the Winner is: the Target Language!
    如果赢家是:目标语言!

    Natural style, however, should not be conquered at the expense of fidelity. This often is the result of an editing job done without comparing the target against source. An overeager editor often improves a translation away from the original, so to say-a case where the target language wins.
    自然流畅的文风,不应该以牺牲忠实为代价。这往往是做编辑时不将目标语言与源语言两相比对的结果。过于热心的编辑往往脱离原文对译文进行修改,可以说,在这种情况下,目标语就会占上风。

    When the target language wins, we have what the French call a belle infidèle—a translation that reads beautifully, but is not true to the original.
    如果目标语言获胜,就会出现法语的所谓“红杏出墙(belle infidèle)”现象——译文读起来很漂亮,但却不忠实于原文。

    The only way to determine whether a translation is true to its original is to compare them, a task neglected by more than one harried editor, or by agencies that, in an attempt to cut costs, ask editors-proofreaders to refer to the original only when needed, as if there were times when double checking translations against the original was not needed.
    判定译文是否忠实于原文的唯一办法,就是两相比对,不止一个编辑因不耐烦而忽略了这项工作;就是翻译委托人,因企图降低成本,也忽略了,只有在必要时才要求编辑校对人员提供原文,就好像花时间将译文和原文进行复核是不必要的似的。

    Most translators make a point of editing their own work, even if it is to be edited later by someone else, which is very good practice. Some of those translators prefer to edit in two steps: first, compare target and source texts, to check fidelity; then read the target text alone, to see if it flows. Others do it in the reverse order: first check for flow, then for fidelity.
    多数译者都特别注重对自己译作的编辑,即使日后由别人编辑也是如此,这是非常好的做法。其中有些译者宁愿将编辑分做两步走:首先,比对目标语和源语文本,核对忠实性,然后,单独朗读目标语文本,看看是否流畅。而另外一些译者则顺序相反:先是验核是否流畅,然后才是其忠实性。
   
    Whatever order you chose, stick to it, or you will never finish that job.
    无论你选择何种顺序,都务必要坚持这一点,否则这活儿你就没有干完。

    7. Know your Cognates, False and Otherwise
    7. 熟悉你的同源词,伪同源词及其他等等
   
    If your language pair has cognates, you probably have already been warned against false cognates, otherwise called false friends, those misleading pairs of equal or very similar words that have different meanings, such as eventual, which means one thing in English and quite another thing in Portuguese, to the dismay of more than one wannabe translator.
    如果你的“语言对”中有同源词,你既已被告诫须当心“伪同源词”,以及其他一些所谓“假朋友”了,这些让你误以为是对等的或非常相近的词,其含义是不同的,比如“eventual”,在英语中指称一个事物,而在葡萄牙语中却是指称完全不同的另外一个事物,结果使不止一个想成为译者的人感到沮丧。
   
    These admonitions have often led to the paranoid view that you cannot use cognates in a translation. Why not? Eventual has different meanings in English and Portuguese, but notável often is the optimal translation for notable. Of course, using a less-than-optimal translation when there is a better choice at hand results in unnecessary loss of precision.
    这些须戒惕的词,往往导致一种偏执的看法——在译文中不能使用同源词。虽然“Eventual”在英语和葡萄牙语中具有不同的含义,但葡萄牙文的“notável”一词却往往是英文“notable”一词的最理想的译文。当然,在手头有比较好的选择而不至必然有损准确度的时候,通常是在使用不够特别理想的译法。
    8. Be Precise
    8. 准确性

    Precision is a great translatorial virtue, but we often look for precision in nouns and verbs, whereas as often as not, precision lies in adjectives and adverbs. Adjectives and adverbs are the "shading words" par excellence, the little words that fine-tune our thoughts. Years ago, a Brazilian publisher entrusted a local college professor with the translation of a science book for the general public. Either because the translator didn't like what he read or for some other reason, although nouns and verbs were always correctly rendered, adjectives and adverbs were almost always translated wrong. A groundbreaking study became merely interesting, an obvious mistake became possible and so forth. The "technical terms," all of them nouns and verbs, were perfect and the publisher was very happy with it, but the translation was very poor.
    准确性,是一个译者最好的美德。但是,我们往往追求名词和动词方面的准确性,而准确性却往往是在于形容词和副词。形容词和副词绝对是“具有细微色彩差别的词语”,是些可以调谐我们思维的小词。数年前,一位巴西的出版商曾委托当地某大学教授翻译一本适宜一般公众阅读的科学著作。这位译者不是因为不喜欢他所读到的东西,就是出于其他别的什么理由,尽管对名词和动词总能给予正确地表述,但形容词和副词却几乎总是译错。一项开创性研究变得不那么吸引人了,显见的错误反倒可能变得更加明显。那些“专业技术性术语”,它们所有的名词和动词,都很地道,那个出版商也非常满意,但那篇译文却非常寒酸。

    9. Don't Fall into the Preposition Trap
    9.切忌落入介词陷阱

    Funny how many translators still fall into the preposition trap. Most prepositions do not have a life of their own: they are required by a verb or a noun. A good example is of, which is supposed to translate as de in Portuguese. It so happens, however, that to dream of is sonhar com because the verb sonhar (dream) takes the preposition com in Portuguese.
    有趣的是,不知有多少译者依然掉进了介词陷阱里。多数介词,自己本身没有生命:它们必须跟有一个动词或一个名词。“of”就是一个很好的例子,在葡萄牙语里,它应该被翻译为“de”。然而,如此凑巧的是,“dream of” 是“sonhar com”,因为在葡萄牙语中动词“sonhar(英文的dream)”带介词“com”。

    In those cases, you translate the verb or noun and don't give a thought to the preposition in the source language: just use the preposition required in the target language. That is, see verb or noun and the respective preposition as a single unit.
    在这种情况下,你翻译动词或者名词,不要考虑源语言中的介词:只使用目标语言中要求的介词。也就是说,把动词或者名词以及各自所带的介词看做一个独立的语言单位。
 
    10. Check Headers, Footers, Graphs and Text boxes
    10. 核对标题、脚注、图表和文本框

    We tend to go directly to the main text and forget about headers and footers, where more than one grave error lies in hiding. If the source text is an MS Word document, remember that some graphics will show only in print preview mode. And look for text boxes.
    我们往往直接专注于主体正文,而忽略了标题和脚注,那里可能藏有不止一个严重的错误。如果源文本是一个 微软的Word文档,要记住有些图表仅在打印预览模式下才显示出来。因此须检查一下文本框。
     
    We recently got into very hot water with an agency because we did fail to do this and the document had two tiny text boxes, totaling fewer than ten words. But they were key words and the first thing the final client paid attention to.
    我们最近和一个代理商闹得很不愉快,因为我们没能做到这一点,那份文件有两个很小的文本框,总共不到十个字。但却是些十分关键的词,而且那个最终客户马上就注意到了。

    11. Run the Spelling and Grammar Checker Once More
    11. 再运行一次拼写-语法检查程序

    Before delivering the job, run the spelling and grammar checker once more, just for safety's sake. We often introduce grammar and spelling errors while editing and this is the last chance to get rid of them.
    在交活儿以前,仅为保险起见,须再运行一次拼写-语法检查程序。我们编辑时常常会弄出一些语法和拼写上的错误,这是我们避免这些错误的最后一次机会。
   
    12. Have a Second Pair of Eyes Check your Work   
    12. 借助第二双眼睛核对的你译作

    If you are working for an agency, there is a very good chance your work will be checked by an editor. If you are working for a final client, you should arrange for someone else to read your job. Even if you are very good, a second pair of eyes will find the odd mistake and make the odd improvement that can make a great difference. But be prepared: no translator is a hero to his editor [Danilo's personal note: I should know!]
    如果你现在正在为代理商工作,那你的作品就会很幸运由一位编辑来核对。如果你正在为一个最终客户工作,那你就应该安排别人来阅读一下你的译作。即使你做得很好,第二双眼睛将会发现那些剩余的错误,甚至可以使译文大有改观。但须有思想准备:没有一个译者是能在他的编辑面前称英雄的[丹尼罗(Danilo)的个人观点是:我应该知道!


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