Yao Shun Translation Tips on Practice - 譯者,你夠冷靜醒目嗎?(上)

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譯者,你夠冷靜醒目嗎?(上)

試想想,你坐在翻譯室內,大堂的講者在做報告,忽然講了這句話,你會怎樣翻成中文?

The police were ordered to stop drinking at midnight.

又可曾想過(當時陣上當然沒有仔細思考去「想」的奢侈囉),不論你怎麼樣翻,你命中的機會只有25%?

因為此語至少有以下4個可能代表的意義:

1. At midnight, the police received an order: stop people drinking.
2. A midnight, the police received an order: policemen must not drink any more.
3. The police received an order:no one is allowed to drink after midnight.
4. The police received an order: policemen must not drink any more after midnight.

關鍵在於甚麼?(1)「午夜」所指的是命令發出的時間,還是事件發生(停止喝酒)的時間;(2)要禁酒者為誰──警察,還是其他人?

所以,四個可能性分別為:

1. 午夜時,警方收到命令,禁止人喝酒。
2. 午夜時,警方收到命令,警員不准再喝酒。
3. 警方收到命令:午夜後不准人喝酒。
4. 警方收到命令:午夜後警員不准再喝酒。

譯者一時不察,就拆招牌,落荒而逃!

下次介紹更可怕又麻煩的陷阱,讓大家減少機會被歧義(ambiguity)玩殘。

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