翻译的速度

阅读本文大约需要: <1 分钟

我得想想怎么说这个问题。

从前给本科生上课,告诉他们美国的程序员写程序极慢,慢到一行代码要值几个美元,每天能写个100行代码,就可以维持一家人的生计。那时我在写一个自动跑网易“剑侠世界”的LUA脚本,前端后端数据库,多线程,多游戏角色自动同步组队完成各种任务,打怪升级,自动交易,自动合成玄金,加上windows的底层api控制角色自动登入和下线,经常在游戏服务器上漫山遍野都是我们工作室的小号,引发其他玩家的惊叹,再怎么也想不出我们居然可以实现这么复杂的功能。

但是每逢周二网易系统维护,开新区,都是我最忙的日子。因为需要立刻分析各种升级的任务,修改代码,确保程序在新系统下运行。那时每分每秒都很珍贵,浪费一点时间就可能造成新区注册不够,无法产生有效受益。我就这样一天写8小时的程序,维持着工作室的运行,在工作室的办公室里开了一间教会,收入50%奉献,不用租金、不付传道人工钱,运行了一年。

现在想来,当时如果选择比特币挖矿,凭着那几台工作站,可能早就财务自由了。


但写程序终究是年轻人的事业,我现在最多能写Hello World!,就直接挂在主板上了。

于是转而做神学翻译。我按照原文计算,对自己的要求是1小时翻译1000个英语单词。按照20个词一句话的平均长度,大概2分钟处理一句话。一般来说,我不会先通读全句,再开始翻译,而是直接从第一个短语开始扫描,输入对应的中文,直到发现句子的主要动词,才开始调整句子的结构。所以,前面的短语或分句,作为一个语义块,可以放在句子的任何位置,但基本的翻译不会做太大的改动。

这样翻译一遍之后,若有必要,再重新读一遍,根据中文的要求调整句式。这样的调整通常都是例行公事(routine),或者将状语从句放到前面来,或者将太长的补语或状语转为前置的独立说明句,等等,略有套路可循,不需要太费神去分析。

举例如下 (请先考虑几分钟再看下面的译文。Bruce老爷子有的时候语法也会有小的瑕疵,真不一定每句话都符合语法标准):

Cornelius’s description of his vision affords an opportunity of repeating part of a narrative very important in Luke’s history, as Peter’s description of his vision in 11:5–10 affords an opportunity of repeating another part.

我会首先看到前面的短语“Cornelius’s description of his vision”:哥尼流对自己异象的描述。

接下来,是动词"affords", 因为带有时态,因此是主要动词无疑。这样一来,前面的部分就是主语了:(哥尼流对自己异象的描述)提供了 ……

在后面是宾语,但是有两个of,有点复杂:an opportunity of repeating part of a narrative,一个重复部分叙事的机会。

但是,最后的短语,“very important in Luke’s history”,核心词是个形容词,不能修饰动词,只能修饰名词。根据就近原则,最近的名词是“narrative”,所以,把这个短语的翻译插入到“叙事”的定语位置,调整表述:一个重复在路加历史中非常重要的叙事的一部分的机会。

整个句子是:哥尼流对自己异象的描述,提供了一个重复在路加历史中非常重要的叙事的一部分的机会。

后面的"as",引起一个状语从句,修饰主要动词,而句子结构是完全一样的,不需要另外表述:而彼得在11:5-10中对自己异象的描述,提供了重复另一部分的机会。

这就是第一遍扫描的成果:哥尼流对自己异象的描述,提供了一个重复在路加历史中非常重要的叙事的一部分的机会,而彼得在11:5-10中对自己异象的描述,提供了重复另一部分的机会。

简单看一遍,我会调整句型,让句子在含义不变的情况下,通顺一点:哥尼流对异象的叙述,提供了一个机会,让路加可以复述这个历史意义极其重大的故事的一部分,而彼得在11:5-10中对他自己的异象复述,又提供了重复故事另一部分的机会。

这样就完成了一句话的翻译,99%的情况下至少语义是正确的(个别时候,句子会理解错)。但是在交付译稿之前,我还会再审核一遍,只读中文翻译部分,如果读起来没有问题,基本上不会有太大的问题;如果读起来我觉得上下文不对或者有什么不顺的地方,再仔细检查英文,好好地分析和修改。

再举一例:

He repeated the words spoken to him by the celestial visitant who stood before him in shining robes.

主语:He, 他。

主要动词:repeated。 他重复了……

宾语:the words. 他重复了话。

这里的宾语很长,the words spoken to him by the celestial visitant who stood before him in shining robes. 英语习惯将定语从句放在被修饰的名词后面,汉语几乎都需要调整:

他重复了站在自己面前、穿着光明衣裳的天使对他所说的话。


当然,我使用CAT软件辅助翻译,尽量将检查重复术语、输入经文编号和各种年代、数字的时间缩短,减少不必要的击键次数,也是提高翻译速度,但大体上保持质量不会下降的方法之一。

从精力上看,我每天全力投入翻译的时间不会超过4小时,但是大概翻译的工作量与别人8小时差不太多(有的时候我会夸口说,我的速度是一般初学者的3-5倍,而且质量还比他们更好一点)。

对我来说,一天5000字的工作量足够维持一家人的生计,剩下的时间就可以陪着孩子们玩耍,或者预备讲道了。不够的地方在于,若要预备讲道,每周用在翻译上的时间最多只有3天而已。若像这个月要出差10多天,仍然会有不少缺乏的地方。

对比起来,速度更慢的译者,大概更难利用翻译来养活一家人了。


没怎么睡好。长长的午睡之后,带着孩子们去游泳。倒是晚上工作了两个多小时,补回了白天无所事事的时间。

今日份的祝福:

耗时199 分钟
英文字数3226
中文字数5367
原文译文比5367/ 3226 = 1.66
翻译句数132
平均句长3226/ 132= 24.4
单句平均耗时267/ 176 = 1.5分钟

若想提高翻译水平,请先翻译例句,再参考我的译文较好。


4. Peter Enters the House of Cornelius (10:23b–33)

25–26 When Peter arrived, Cornelius hurried out and paid him the respect which he judged fitting for a messenger of God, prostrating himself at the apostle’s feet in an attitude of homage and supplication.32 A messenger of God was supposed to have some godlike quality himself, to be a theios anēr, as the technical term has it.33 It is unlikely that Peter had ever had such reverence paid to him before, and no doubt it embarrassed him considerably: “Please get up,” he said, helping his host to rise to his feet; “I am only a mortal myself.”

27–29 Then, talking with him in a friendly manner, Peter accompanied him indoors, and there was the whole group of Cornelius’s friends, full of eager expectation. Two or three days previously, Peter would not have believed it possible that he could find himself in such company, under a Gentile roof; but much had happened since then. “You know very well,” he said to Cornelius and the others, “that to mix in Gentile society is taboo34 for a pious Jew; but God has taught me not to regard any person as unfit to associate with.” Actually, the terms of his vision on the housetop at Joppa taught him to call no food profane or unclean if God pronounced it clean; but he was quick to grasp the analogy between ceremonial food laws and the conventions affecting intercourse with non-Jews. It was largely because of their lack of scruples in food matters that Gentiles were ritually unsafe people for a pious Jew to meet socially. Intercourse with Gentiles was not categorically forbidden; but it was liable to render a Jew ceremonially unclean, as was even the entering of a Gentile building35 or the handling of articles belonging to Gentiles. The most ordinary kinds of food, such as bread, milk, or olive oil, coming from Gentiles, might not be eaten by strict Jews, not to mention flesh, which might have come from a forbidden animal or from one that had been sacrificed to a pagan divinity, and which in any case contained blood. Hence, of all forms of intercourse with Gentiles, to accept their hospitality and sit at table with them was the most intolerable. However, Peter’s lesson had so impressed itself on his mind that he accompanied Cornelius’s messengers without scruple or protest. And now that he had arrived, he asked them to state more fully their reason for inviting him.

30–33 Cornelius then described the vision,36 which he had seen three days before (four days by inclusive reckoning), at the very hour at which he was now speaking, the hour of afternoon prayer. He repeated the words spoken to him by the celestial visitant who stood before him in shining robes.37 It was in accordance with his directions, he explained, that he had sent for Peter, and he heartily thanked him for coming so promptly. “Now then,” he said, “we are all here present before God, to hear all that the Lord has directed you to say.” Never had a preacher of the gospel a more promising audience—as promising in its way as Philip’s one-man audience on the Gaza road when he was invited to expound the Isaianic prophecy of the suffering Servant (8:30–35).


参考译文:

25–26 当彼得到来时,哥尼流急忙外出迎接,按照自认为尊重神使者的方式接待他,以尊敬恳求地姿态俯伏在使徒脚下拜他。32人们认为,神的使者在某种程度上接近于神,从术语theios anēr(神人)就可看出这种意味。33彼得可能从前从未这样受人尊重过,无疑觉得相当不自在:“你起来”,他一边说话,一边将主人从脚下扶起;“我也是人。”

27–29 接着,彼得一边以友善的口气对他说话,一边随他进屋,屋里早已坐满了哥尼流的朋友,个个都满怀期待。两三天之前,彼得绝不会相信自己会和这样一群人一起待在一个外邦人的家里;但是在这短短的几天之内,已经发生了许多事情。“你们清楚地知道”,他对哥尼流和其他人说,“对于敬虔的犹太人来说,与外邦人交往是一种禁忌;34 但神已经教导我,不可认为有什么人是绝对不可结交的。”实际上,他在约帕屋顶所见的异象里,神给他的教导是,神所洁净的食物,不可当作俗而不洁净的;但是他很快就把握住了仪式性的食物律法与影响犹太人与非犹太人交往的传统之间的类比含义。 很大程度上,正是因为外邦人缺少食物方面的禁忌,使得敬虔的犹太人与他们交往,有着仪式上不洁的巨大风险。律法并未严格禁止与外邦人交往;但即使进入犹太人的房屋35 或拿起属于外邦人的物品,都会造成犹太人在仪式上不洁净。最常见的食物,比如饼、牛奶或橄榄油,若是从外邦人那里进口来的,最严格的犹太人都可能不会食用,肉类就更不用说了,因为可能出自律法禁食的不洁动物或者来自于献给异教神明的祭物,而且随时可能带着未放干净的血。因此,在所有与外邦人的交往方式中,接受他们的款待或与他们一同坐席,是最不可容忍的。然而,彼得的教训是如此深刻,因此他没有任何顾虑或推辞,就与哥尼流的信使一起出发了。现在他既然到了,就想进一步了解他们邀请他来的详细理由。

30–33 于是哥尼流叙述了自己三天之前所见的异象(按照包含演算法,是第4天),这时正好也是下午祷告的时间。他重复了站在自己面前、穿着光明衣裳的天使对他所说的话。他解释说,正是得了天使的指引,自己才派人去请彼得,并且衷心感谢他如此迅速地赶来。“现今”,他说,“我们都在神面前,要听主所吩咐你的一切话。”从来没有哪位传道人遇到过比这更好的听众——优异的程度,和腓利在迦萨路上遇到一个人,邀请他解释先知以赛亚的受苦仆人预言一般无二(8:30-35)。

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