Yao Shun Translation Tips on Practice - Peter --你認識嗎?

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Peter --你認識嗎?

在中國內地最著名、科技最頂級的那間大學最先進又複雜的電腦面前,主人家信心十足介紹完他們研發最先進自豪的翻譯軟件,邀請我們幾個賓客現場考驗一下。同事沒有反應,阿祥老實不客氣坐下來湊興,按鍵打出這句話(完全不加思索、毫無預謀沒有機心的):"Peter and I went to lunch yesterday."

(同行造訪的老外系主任就叫做Peter,前一天我的確帶了他去吃餃子。)

一按輸入鍵,熒幕冒出來那行字教主人家尷尬死了,阿祥更後悔不已,無心得罪一眾科技大師:

「衰敗和我昨天去午餐。」

沒想到的是:"peter"是個動詞,意為逐漸減少或慢慢消失(例句:"The music just petered out--there was no proper ending.")。那個最先進的翻譯軟件認不出Peter(大寫)是人名(因為放在句首,若在句中,例如"Mary & Peter went to lunch",相信該翻譯軟件一定不會出醜)。

那是1990年的事了,今天的翻譯軟件肯定不致如此窩囊(Translate.Google.com的譯文是:「彼得和我昨天吃午飯」)。

不過,你恐怕也未必知道:"peter"也是英語粗俗俚語的一個詞,指男性的陽具(人畜皆可用),亦可指(較少用)監獄的囚室、法庭犯人欄、夾萬。

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阿祥最佳的翻譯拍檔是堯舜公司的Peter Fan,最崇敬又親摯的翻譯理論家是Peter Newmark (http://www.surrey.ac.uk/englishandlanguages/research/cts/prof_peter_newmark/index.htm),最喜歡的作曲家是Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyotr_Ilyich_Tchaikovsky)。

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