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http://www.yiyingyu.com - 发布时间:2010-11-18 - 所在栏目: 翻译技巧



my dear shu-wu[1], may 14

your letter gives me a joyful surprise[2]. your english is astonishingly good. this is not "flannel" or "butter"[3] but my sincere opinion (my hand upon my heart!). the idea found from your version of chairman's statement is, to say the least, quite unjust[4]. perhaps your hand is recovering some of its old cunning momentarily lost through long lack of practice[5]. at any rate, it would be a pity-nay, a sin, a crime[6]-to let your[7] english get rusty and become finally unserviceable。

yours in haste

by a slip of pen, you wrote "allocation" instead of "collocation". this is a mere peccadillo. don't let meticulousness about such trifles cramp your style。








[1] my dear…是英语书信的一种格式,并不非译出来不可。这里可译作:书武。林书武当时是中国社会科学院语言研究所研究人员。1970年冬,下放河南息县劳动锻炼,在那段时间跟钱钟书有过一段交往。此信写于1971年5月。

[2] a joyful surprise: 又惊又喜。英语的短语,译成汉语时往往变成动词短语。

[3] flannel: 花言巧语。此信中用双引号有两处。第一处有“所谓的”的意思,注8为第二处,意指原词。

[4] 这是一个复杂句,但并不难分析。要说的是"to say the least"是个插入语;英语句子常用插入语。例如: your composition, to put it bluntly, is ill written. 你的作文,坦率地说,写得很不好。

[5]momentarily lost修饰cunning; through long lack of practice, 这里又是名词短语变作译文中动词短语的例子。

[6] sin和crime几乎是同义词。这里连用,旨在加强语气。

[7] 词底下划一横线,表强调之意。


my dear lin[1], may 2

excuse this belated reply to your very kind may day greetings. it’s almost literally "a day after the fair". what with fixing the mosquito net, queuing for sweets at the co-op store, fetching and distributing letters, and the thousand and one odds and ends which eat away one's time, the red letter day was over before i know where i was[3]. well[4], here go my best wishes in which my wife joins. your letter makes me ashamed. i feel guilty like a swindler who has won your "gratitude" without doing anything to earn it. your characteristic generosity has led you to overestimate the aids to study i gave. yes, vocabulary is important. pedagogues used to distinguish a pupil's active... or[5] writing and speaking vocabulary. as you know, the latter is far more extensive than the former. how to turn the supinely passive into the nimbly active-- that's the big problem[6]. however, enough of shop talk. tomorrow to the battle and more power to your elbow![7]

yours sincerely







[1] 此信写于1972年5月2日,距上封信近一年。

[2] excuse my late arrival, 或excuse me for coming late都可以说,但中国学生似乎更喜欢采用后一个句型。所以信中说excuse this belated reply更显得新颖。

[3] 这是一个复杂句。thousand and one odds and ends, 极言琐事繁多。red letter day: 日历上节日、纪念日都是用红色字体印,故称。这个句子定是神来之笔,百读不厌。

[4] well是个多义词。作为感叹词,也可以表达多种意思,不能一律译作“嗳”、“嗯”、“啊”。这里信中用来改变话题。

[5] or除了常见的“或者”义之外,这里是“等于”、“即”的意思(注:此处原文有删减)。

[6] how to.。。是个话题,that是主话。这样的写法突出重点,又很生动。

[7] 两句都是不完全句。前一个常用,如快下课时说,enough for the time being(暂时就谈这么多), so much for today(今天就讲这么多)。后一个是口号式句,简洁有力。


my dear lin[1],

i am deeply grateful, but i have smiting of conscience[2]. as you know, i have my own ration of sugar, and i must not deprive you of yours[3]. as to the tidbits, a healthy young man has more need of them to stay his hunger[4] between the meals--much more than an old man does. so i am returning them with heartfelt thanks--accompanied with a little token of esteem[5]. the latest number of broadsheet is worth glancing at.[6]

your thankfully




钱钟书 谨上


[1] 这封信没署日期。大概写于1972年钱钟书杨绛离开河南明港,提前返回北京的几个月前。信中提到“白糖”、“点心”等话,指的是林书武为了感谢钱钟书赠送英语书报,对林书武学习上的指导,送给钱钟书的东西。

[2] smite和conscience搭配,是地道的英语,如:his conscience smote him. 他受到了良习的谴责。也可以说成: he had smiting of conscience。

[3] to deprive you of yours 夺取你的东西,不能说成to deprive yours. 同类动词还有一些,例如rob. those barking of a dog robbed me of my sleep. 狗吠了又吠,弄得我无法入睡。

[4] to stay ones hunger是地道的英语,学生往往想不到这种用法。“充饥”不要说成to fill ones hunger, 要采用这里的说法。

[5] a little token of esteem 当时钱钟书还送给林书武一些英文报纸杂志。

[6] to be worth 接动词的ing形式,表示值得做……,这里的is worth glancing at, 值得一看。注意:跟to be worthy的差别: to be worthy of something 应该得到某事物;to be worthy to do sth 应该做某事。



2、用词特点之一是多用近义词,如flannel和butter; sin 和crime; 词的搭配很地道,如“充饥”,“值得一看”等等的英语表达式,都是不可替换的。

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