【翻译】 翻译无小事!九大案例揭示“小错误”引发“大事故”
发布于 24天前 作者 kinglism 657 次浏览 来自 四级

Knowing how to speak two languages is not the same thing as knowing how to translate. Translation is a special skill that professionals work hard to develop. The importance of good translation is most obvious when things go wrong. Here are nine examples that show just how high-stakes the job of translation can be. 会说两种语言并不意味着就能当翻译。翻译是专业人员勤学苦练培养出的一项特殊技能。一旦翻译失误引发事故,好的翻译就显得尤为重要。以下有9个例子说明翻译工作有多重要。

  1. The seventy-one-million-dollar word 价值7100万美元的词

In 1980, 18-year-old Willie Ramirez was admitted to a Florida hospital in a comatose state. His friends and family tried to describe his condition to the paramedics and doctors who treated him, but they only spoke Spanish. Translation was provided by a bilingual staff member who translated “intoxicado” as “intoxicated.” A professional interpreter would have known that “intoxicado” is closer to “poisoned” and doesn’t carry the same connotations of drug or alcohol use that “intoxicated” does. Ramirez’s family believed he was suffering from food poisoning. He was actually suffering from an intracerebral hemorrhage, but the doctors proceeded as if he were suffering from an intentional drug overdose, which can lead to some of the symptoms he displayed. Because of the delay in treatment, Ramirez was left quadriplegic. He received a malpractice settlement of $71 million. 1980年,18岁的威利·拉米雷斯在昏迷状态下住进佛罗里达的一家医院。他的朋友和家人想把他的情况反映给护理人员和医生,但他们只会说西班牙语。一名会双语的员工提供了翻译服务,但是将“恶心”翻译成了“喝醉”。专业口译员应该知道“恶心”更倾向于是一种“中毒”症状,并没有“喝醉”所含的使用药物或酒精的含义。拉米雷斯的家人觉得他是由食物中毒引起的。拉米雷斯其实是属于脑内出血,但医生当作了蓄意药物过量来处理,因为药物过量也可能会引发同样的症状。由于耽误了治疗时间,拉米雷斯最终四肢瘫痪。他收到了7100万美元的治疗失当赔偿。

  1. Your lusts for the future 你们对未来饥渴难耐

When President Carter traveled to Poland in 1977, the State Department hired a Russian interpreter who knew Polish, but was not used to interpreting professionally in that language. Through the interpreter, Carter ended up saying things in Polish like “when I abandoned the United States” (for “when I left the United States”) and “your lusts for the future” (for “your desires for the future”), mistakes that the media in both countries very much enjoyed. 1977年卡特总统出访波兰时,国务院雇佣了一名懂波兰语的俄罗斯口译员,但该译员并不习惯波兰语的专业口译工作。这位译员将卡特说的“当我离开美国时”翻译成了“当我抛弃美国时”,将“你们对未来的期盼”翻译成了“你们对未来饥渴难耐”,到卡特终于离开波兰时,这些错误已经成为两国媒体的笑料。

  1. We will bury you 我们将埋葬你

At the height of the cold war, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev gave a speech in which he uttered a phrase that interpreted from Russian as “we will bury you.” It was taken as chilling threat to bury the U.S. with a nuclear attack and escalated the tension between the U.S. and Russia. However, the translation was a bit too literal. The sense of the Russian phrase was more that “we will live to see you buried” or “we will outlast you.” Still not exactly friendly, but not quite so threatening. 在冷战高峰时期,苏联总理赫鲁晓夫在一次讲话中说了一句从俄语翻译过来的“我们将埋葬你”。这句话被认为是对美国进行核打击的可怕威胁,从而加剧了美俄之间的紧张局势。但实际上这句翻译太过于字面化了。俄文原话的意思是“当你被埋葬时,我们会在场”,或者说“我们会比你活得更长久”。当然这也不是什么好话,但总不至于是赤裸裸的威胁。

  1. Do nothing 毫不作为

In 2009, HSBC bank had to launch a $10 million rebranding campaign to repair the damage done when its catchphrase “Assume Nothing” was mistranslated as “Do Nothing” in various countries. 2009年,由于标语“绝不麻痹大意”被误译成“毫不作为”,汇丰银行不得不耗资1000万美元重塑品牌。

  1. Markets tumble 市场暴跌

A panic in the world’s foreign exchange market led the U.S. dollar to plunge in value after a poor English translation of an article by Guan Xiangdong of the China News Service zoomed around the Internet. The original article was a casual, speculative overview of some financial reports, but the English translation sounded much more authoritative and concrete. 一篇将中国新闻社记者关向东的文章错译的英文报道在网上快速传播后,全球外汇交易市场出现恐慌,导致美元大幅贬值。原文不过是对一些财务报表的随意地推测性总结,而英文版却变成了看似相当权威而确凿的文章。

  1. What’s that on Moses’s head? 摩西的头上是什么?

St. Jerome, the patron saint of translators, studied Hebrew so he could translate the Old Testament into Latin from the original, instead of from the third century Greek version that everyone else had used. The resulting Latin version, which became the basis for hundreds of subsequent translations, contained a famous mistake. When Moses comes down from Mount Sinai his head has “radiance” or, in Hebrew, “karan.” But Hebrew is written without the vowels, and St. Jerome had read “karan” as “keren,” or “horned.” From this error came centuries of paintings and sculptures of Moses with horns and the odd offensive stereotype of the horned Jew. 被译者奉为守护神的圣杰罗姆为了将《旧约全书》从原版希伯来文直接翻译成拉丁文,而自学希伯来语,他没有像其他人一样以三世纪的希腊语版本为基础进行翻译。由此面世的拉丁文版本成为后来成百上千种翻译版本的原型,但其中也包含了一个著名的错误。当摩西从西奈山下来时,他的头上散发着“光芒”,或者用希伯来文说是“karan”。但是,希伯来文字中没有元音,所以圣杰罗姆将“karan”误读成“keren”,即英文中的“角”。从此以后,数个世纪的绘画和雕塑中的摩西头上都长着角,这也成为犹太人都长着角的古怪而盛气凌人的印象的由来。

  1. Chocolates for him 送给男性的巧克力

In the 50s, when chocolate companies began encouraging people to celebrate Valentine’s Day in Japan, a mistranslation from one company gave people the idea that it was customary for women to give chocolate to men on the holiday. And that’s what they do to this day. On February 14, the women of Japan shower their men with chocolate hearts and truffles, and on March 14 the men return the favor. An all around win for the chocolate companies! 20世纪50年代,当时的巧克力公司开始鼓励日本人庆祝情人节,而一个公司的翻译错误让人们认为女性送给男性巧克力是情人节传统。然而,他们也是这样做的。每年2月14日,日本女性都会送给男性许多心形和松露巧克力,而在3月14日,男性则礼尚往来。但最终赢家终究是巧克力公司啊!

  1. You must defeat Sheng Long 你必须击败“升龙”

In the Japanese video game Street Fighter II a character says, “if you cannot overcome the Rising Dragon Punch, you cannot win!” When this was translated from Japanese into English, the characters for “rising dragon” were interpreted as “Sheng Long.” The same characters can have different readings in Japanese, and the translator, working on a list of phrases and unaware of the context, thought a new person was being introduced to the game. Gamers went crazy trying to figure out who this Sheng Long was and how they could defeat him. In 1992, as an April Fools Day joke, Electronic Gaming Monthly published elaborate and difficult execute instructions for how to find Sheng Long. It wasn’t revealed as a hoax until that December, after countless hours had no doubt been wasted. 日本电子游戏《街霸2》中的一个角色说:“破不了升龙拳,就别想赢!”这句话从日语翻译成英语时,“升龙”被写成了Sheng Long。同样是“升龙”二字,在日语中可以有不同的读法,译者在处理词汇表时没有考虑到语境,以为是游戏引入的一个新角色。这让玩家抓狂似的想搞清楚“升龙”是谁,怎样才能打败他。1992年,《电子游戏月刊》为了在愚人节开个玩笑,发表了找出“升龙”的详细而复杂的攻略。直到当年12月,人们才发现被骗了,之前付出的不计其数的时间无疑都白费了。

  1. Trouble at Waitangi 怀唐伊困局

In 1840, the British government made a deal with the Maori chiefs in New Zealand. The Maori wanted protection from marauding convicts, sailors, and traders running roughshod through their villages, and the British wanted to expand their colonial holdings. The Treaty of Waitangi was drawn up and both sides signed it. But they were signing different documents. In the English version, the Maori were to “cede to Her Majesty the Queen of England absolutely and without reservation all the rights and powers of Sovereignty.” In the Maori translation, composed by a British missionary, they were not to give up sovereignty, but governance. They thought they were getting a legal system, but keeping their right to rule themselves. That’s not how it turned out, and generations later the issues around the meaning of this treaty are still being worked out. 1840年,英国政府与新西兰的毛利人首领达成协议,毛利人寻求庇护,免遭横行村庄的罪犯、水手以及商人的抢掠,英国则希望扩大对殖民地的控制。《怀唐伊条约》得以起草,双方均在上面签字,然而他们签署的却是不同的文件。条约的英文版规定“毛利人要绝对服从英国女王,毫无保留地让出所有利益与主权。”根据一位英国传教士完成的毛利语译文版,毛利人须放弃的不是主权,而是治理权。他们认为自己可以建立除保留自治权以外的法律制度,但结果并非如此,后人一直在争论该条约含义的问题。


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