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古典文学翻译范例之三 : 聊斋志异

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古典文学翻译范例之三 : 聊斋志异. Strange Stories from A Chinese Studio (Excerpt) Translated by Herbert A. Giles Selected Tales of Liao Zhai (Excerpt) Translated by Yang Hsienyi and Gladys Yang. 【 概述 】.

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  • Strange Stories from A Chinese Studio (Excerpt)
  • Translated by Herbert A. Giles
  • Selected Tales of Liao Zhai (Excerpt)
  • Translated by Yang Hsienyi and Gladys Yang
  • 《聊斋志异》是一部文言志怪小说,成书于17世纪文言小说衰败之际,而立于不败之地,得益于其深刻的社会意义、鲜明的艺术形象、凝练优美的语言以及“花鬼狐妖”的内容。蒲松龄通过对虚幻世界的描写,抒发自己对美丽、真诚的向往,对丑恶、虚伪的鞭挞,“鬼也不是鬼,怪也不是怪,牛鬼蛇神倒比正人君子更可爱。笑中也有泪,乐中也有哀,几分欢乐,几分悲哀,几分玩笑,几分感慨!(电视连续剧《聊斋》主题曲)”科举失利的他藏在狐仙鬼妹的背后发出对现实世界尔虞我诈、重利轻情的批判与嘲弄。
蒲松龄的语言既典雅、高贵又活泼、生动,抒情气息极浓,给外译工作形成美丽诱人的障碍。知难而进者有三,其中著名汉学家、翻译家Herbert A. Giles的版本Strange Tales from a Chinese Studio(简称盖译)和杨宪益、戴乃迭夫妇的Selected Tales from Liao Zhai影响较大。
  • 蒲松龄
  • 罗刹海市
Strange Stories from A Chinese Studio (Excerpt)

Translated by Herbert A. Giles


Selected Tales of Liao Zhai


Translated by Yang Hsienyi and Gladys Yang

The Rakshas and the Sea Market

盖译:Once upon a time there was a young man, named Ma Chun, who was also known as Lung-mei. He was the son of a trader, and a youth of surpassing beauty. His manners were courteous, and he loved nothing better than singing and playing. He used to associate with actors, and with an embroidered handkerchief round his head the effect was that of a beautiful woman. Hence be acquired the sobriquet of the Beauty.

杨译:Ma Ji, whose other name was Longmei, was the son of a merchant. A handsome, unconventional lad, he loved singing and dancing; and his habit of mixing with actors and wearing a silk handkerchief on his head made him look as beautiful as a girl and won him the nickname Handsome.

盖译:At fourteen years of age he graduated and began to make a name for himself; but his father, who was growing old and wished to retire from business, said to him, “My boy, book-learning will never fill your belly or put a coat on your back; you had better stick to the old thing. ” Accordingly, Ma from that time occupied himself with scales and weights, with principal and interest, and such matters.

杨译:At the age of fourteen he entered the prefectural school, where he was winning quite a name for himself when his father, growing old, decided to retire.

“Son, ” said the old man, “books cannot fill your belly or put a coat on your back. You had better follow your father’s trade.”

Ma, accordingly, turned his hand to business.

盖译: He made a voyage across the sea, and was carried away by a typhoon. After being tossed about for many days and nights he arrived at a country where the people were hideously ugly. When these people saw Ma they thought he was a devil, and all ran screeching away.

杨译: While on a sea voyage with other traders, Ma was carried off by a typhoon. After several days and nights he reached a city where all the inhabitants were appallingly ugly; yet at the sight of him they exclaimed in horror and fled as if he were a monster.

盖译:Ma was somewhat alarmed at this, but finding that it was they who were frightened at him, he quickly turned their fear to his own advantage. If he came across people eating and drinking he would rush upon them, and when they fled away for fear, he would regale himself upon what they had left.

杨译:At first Ma was alarmed by their hideous looks; but as soon as he discovered that they were even more afraid of him, he made the most of their fear. Wherever he found them eating or drinking he would rush upon them, and when they scattered in alarm he would regale himself upon all they left.

By-and-by he went to a village among the hills, and there the people had at any rate some facial resemblance to ordinary men. But they were all in rags and tatters like beggars. So Ma sat down to rest under a tree, and the villagers, not daring to come near him, contended themselves with looking at him from a distance.

Later, Ma made his way to a mountain village where the people showed more resemblance to human beings. But they were a ragged, beggarly lot. As he rested under a tree, the villagers gazed at him from a distance, not daring to approach;

They soon found, however, that he did not want to eat them, and by degrees approached little closer to him. Ma, smiling, began to talk; and although their language was different, yet he was able to make himself tolerably intelligible, and told them whence he had come. The villagers were much pleased, and spread the news that the stranger was not a man-eater.

but realizing after some time that he would not eat them, they began to draw nearer, and Ma addressed them with a smile. Although they spoke different tongues, each side could understand something of what the other said. And when Ma told them that he came from China, the villagers were pleased and spread the news that this stranger was not a cannibal after all.

Nevertheless, the very ugliest of all would only take a look and be off again.; they would not come near him. Those who did go up to him were not very much unlike his own countrymen, the Chinese. They brought him plenty of food and wine. Ma asked them what they were afraid of.

The ugliest of them, however, would turn away after one look at Ma, not daring to draw near. Those who did go up to him had features not entirely different from the Chinese; and as they brought him food and wine Ma asked why they were so afraid of him.

They replied: “We had heard from our forefathers that 26,000 li to the west there is a country called China. We had heard that the people of that land were the most extraordinary in appearance you can possibly imagine. Hitherto it has been hearsay; we can now believe it.”

“We were told by our forefathers,” they answered, “that nearly nine thousand miles to our west is a country called China inhabited by the most extraordinary looking race. We knew this by hearsay only before; but you have provided proof of it.”

He then asked them how it was they were so poor. They answered, “You see, in our country everything depends, not on literary talent, not on beauty. The most beautiful are made ministers of states; the next handsomest are made judges and magistrates; and the third class in looks are employed in the palace of the king. Thus these are enabled out of their pay to provide for their wives and families. But we, from our very birth, are regarded by our parents as inauspicious, and are left to perish, some of us being occasionally preserved by more humane parents to prevent the extinction of the family.”

Asked the reason for their poverty, they replied: “In our countrywe value beauty, not literary accomplishments. Our most handsome men are appointed ministers, those coming next are made governors and magistrates, while the third class have noble patrons and receive handsome pensions for the support of their families. But we are considered as freaks at birth, and our parents nearly always abandon us, only keeping us in order to continue the family line.”

Ma asked the name of their country, and they told him it was Lo-ch‘a. Also that the capital city was some 30 li to the north. He begged them to take him there, and next day at cock-crow he started thitherwards in their company, arriving just about dawn.

When Ma required the name of their country, they told him that it was The Great Kingdom of Rakahas, and that their capital lay about ten miles to the north. And upon Ma’s expressing a desire to be conducted there, they set off with him the next day at cock-crow and reached the city at dawn.

The walls of the city were made of black stone, as black as ink, and the city gate-houses were about 100 feet high. Red stones were used for tiles, and picking up a broken piece Ma found that it marked his finger-nail like vermillion. They arrived just when the Court was rising, and saw all the equipages of the officials. The village people pointed out one who they said was Prime Minister.

The city walls were made of stone as black as ink, with towers and pavilions a hundred feet high. Red stones were used for tiles, and picking up a fragment of one Ma found that it marked his finger-nail just like vermilion. They arrived as the court was rising, in time to see the official equipages. The villagers pointed out the prime minister,

His ears drooped forward in flaps; he had three nostrils, and his eye-lashes were just like bamboo screens hanging in front of his eyes. They several came out on horseback, and they said these were the privy councillors. So they went on, telling him the rank of all the ugly uncouth fellows he saw. The lower they got down in the official scale the less hideous the officials were..

and Ma saw that his ears drooped forward in flaps, he had three nostrils, and his eyelashes covered his eyes like a screen. He was followed by some riders whom the villagers said were privy councillors. They informed Ma of each man’s rank; and, although all the officials were ugly, the lower their rank the less hideous they were.

By-and-by Ma went back, the people in the streets marveling very much to see him, and tumbling helter-skelter one over another as if they met a goblin. The villagers shouted out to reassure them, and then they stood at a distance to look at him. When he got back, there was not a man, woman, or child in the whole nation but knew that there was a strange man at the village; and the gentry and officials became desirous of seeing him.

When Ma turned to leave, the citizens of the capital exclaimed in terror and started flying in all directions as if he were an ogre. Only when the villagers assured that there was nothing to be afraid of did these city people dare stand at a distance to watch. By the time he got back, however, there was not a man, woman or child in the country but knew that a manmonster was there; so all the gentry and officials were curious to see him and asked the villagers to fetch him.

However, if he went to any of their houses the porter always slammed the door in his face, and the master, mistress, and family, in general, would only peep at , and speak to him through the cracks. Not a single one dared receive him face to face; but finally, the village people, at a loss what to do, bethought themselves of a man who had been sent by a former king on official business among strange nations. “He,” said they, “having seen many kinds of men, will not be afraid of you.”

But whatever house he went to, the gate-keeper would slam the door in his face while men and women alike dared only peep at him through cracks and comment on him in whispers. Not a single one had the courage to invite him in.

Then the villagers told him: “There is a captain of the imperial guard here who was sent abroad on a number of missions by our late king. He has seen so much that he may not be afraid of you.”

So they went to his house, where they were received in a very friendly way. He seemed to be about eighty or ninety years of age; his eyeballs protruded, and his beard curled up like a hedgehog. He said, “In my youth I was sent by the king among many nations, but I never went to China. I am now one hundred and twenty years of age, and that I should be permitted to see a native of your country is a fact which it will be my duty to report to the Thorne. For ten years and more I have not been to Court, but have remained here in seclusion; yet I will now make an effort on your behalf.”

So they called on the captain, and he was genuinely pleased to meet Ma, treating him as an honoured guest. Ma saw that his host who looked like a man of ninety, had protruding eyes and a beard like a hedgedog’s.

“In my youth, ” said the captain, His Majesty sent me to many countries, but never to China. Now at the age of one hundred and twenty, I have been fortunate enough to meet one from your honourable country! I must report this to the king. Living in retirement, I have not been to the court for more than ten years; but I will go there for your sake early tomorrow morning.”

Then followed a banquet, and when the wine had already circulated pretty freely, some dozen singing girls came in and sang and danced before them. The girls all wore white embroidered turbans, and long scarlet robes which trailed on the ground. The words they uttered were unintelligible, and the tunes they played perfectly hideous. The host, however, seemed to enjoy it very much, and said to Ma. “Have you music in China?” He replied that they had,

He plied Ma with food and drink, showing him every courtesy. After they had drunk a few cups of wine, a dozen girls came in to dance and sing in turn. They looked like devils, but wore white silk turbans and long red dresses which trailed on the ground; and Ma, who could not understand the performance or the songs, found the music weird in the extreme. His host, however, listened appreciatively and asked eventually whether China could boast equally fine music. Receiving an affirmative answer,

and old man asked for a specimen. Ma hummed him a tune, beating time on the table, with which he was very much pleased, declaring that his guest had the voice of a phoenix and the notes of a dragon, such as he had never heard before. The next day he presented a memorial to the Throne, and the king at once commanded Ma to appear before him.

the old man begged him to sing a few bars. So, beating time on the table, Ma obliged with a tune.

“How strange!” exclaimed the captain, delighted. “It is like the cries of phoenixes and dragons. I have never heard anything resembling this before.”

The following day the old man went to the court to recommend Ma to the king, who decided to summon him for an audience.

Several of the ministers, however, represented that his appearance was so hideous it might frighten His Majesty, and the king accordingly desisted from his intention. The old man returned and told Ma, being quite upset about it. They remained together some time they had drunk themselves tipsy. Then Ma, seizing a sword, began to attitudinize, smearing his face all over with coal-dust. He acted the part of Chang Fei1, at which his host was so delighted that he begged him to appear before the Prime Minister in the character of Chang Fei.

But when two ministers declared hat Ma’s revolting appearance might shock His Majesty, the king changed his mind. The captain, quite upset, returned to tell Ma of the failure of his mission.

One day, after Ma had stayed with the captain for some time, under the influence of wine he smeared his face with coal dust to perform a sword dance in the role of Zhang Fei1.

at which his host was so delighted that he begged him to appear before the Prime Minister in the character of Chang Fei. Ma replied, “I don’t mind a little amateur acting, but how can I plat the hypocrite for my own personal advantage?” on being pressed he consented, …

“You must appear before the prime minister with your face painted like that,” urged the captain, who admired this disguise immensely. “He is sure to patronize you, and will certainly procure you a big salary.”

“It is all very well to disguise oneself in fun, ” protested Ma with a laugh. “But how can I play the hypocrite for the sake of personal gain?”