历史上非常严重的翻译错误,翻译员要注意
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历史上非常严重的翻译错误,翻译员要注意

错误翻译
发布时间:2016-07-27作者:系统管理员

在外交场合,如果翻译出错,轻则闹笑话,重则会影响两国关系,甚至历史也会因此发生重大转折。近日,BBC整理了历史上最严重的翻译错误,包括:因翻译不准导致苏联与西方的关系曾一度降到冰点;因翻译错误导致美国某总统被当众表达性欲......

“我很高兴捏到了波兰的私处”

Jimmy Carter knew how to get an audience to pay attention. In a speech given during the US President's 1977 visit to Poland, he appeared to express sexual desire for the then-Communist country. Or that's what his translator said, anyway. It turned out Carter had said he wanted to learn about the Polish people's "desires for the future".

美国前总统吉米·卡特知道如何吸引观众的注意。在他1977年访问波兰发表演说时,他似乎对当时还是共产主义国家的波兰表现出性欲——或者他是被翻译给坑了。后来才发现,卡特原来说的是希望了解波兰人民“对未来的渴望”。

Earning a place in history, his translator also turned "I left the United States this morning" into "I left the United States, never to return"; according to Time magazine, even the innocent statement that Carter was happy to be in Poland became the claim that "he was happy to grasp at Poland's private parts".

根据《时代》杂志记载,翻译史蒂文·西摩也是“蛮拼的”,想必可以青史留名了。他把“我今早离开美国”翻译为“我离开美国,再也不回去了”;还把卡特一句原本人畜无害的“我很高兴来到波兰”翻译成“我很高兴捏到了波兰的私处”。

Unsurprisingly, the President used a different translator when he gave a toast at a state banquet later in the same trip – but his woes didn't end there. After delivering his first line, Carter paused, to be met with silence. After another line, he was again followed by silence. The new translator, who couldn't understand the President's English, had decided his best policy was to keep quiet. By the time Carter's trip ended, he had become the punchline for many a Polish joke.

果不其然,卡特在国宴上发表祝酒辞时换下了这名“翻译达人”,但美国总统的“杯具”还没有结束。在讲完第一句祝酒辞后,卡特停顿了一下,翻译一片沉默;卡特 又讲了一句,迎接他的还是沉默。原来新翻译听不懂总统先生的英语,于是愉快地决定,与其多说多错,不如保持沉默。到卡特结束他的波兰之行时,他已经成为了 许多波兰人的笑柄。

翻译失误曾让冷战升级

In 1956, Soviet premier Nikita Khrushchev was translated as saying “We will bury you” to Western ambassadors at a reception at the Polish embassy in Moscow. The phrase was plastered across magazine covers and newspaper headlines, further cooling relations between the Soviet Union and the West.

1956年,苏联总理赫鲁晓夫在莫斯科的波兰大使馆里接见西方诸国大使。赫鲁晓夫语出惊人“我们要埋葬你们”。这句话很快便登上了各大报刊杂志的头版头条,使苏联与西方的关系进一步降到了冰点。

Yet when set in context, Khruschev's words were closer to meaning "Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will dig you in". He was stating that Communism would outlast capitalism, which would destroy itself from within, referring to a passage in Karl Marx's Communist Manifesto that argued "What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers." While not the most calming phrase he could have uttered, it was not the sabre-rattling threat that inflamed anti-Communists and raised the spectre of a nuclear attack in the minds of Americans.

然而根据上下文来看,赫鲁晓夫原话的意思应该是“不管你们喜不喜欢,历史都在我们这一边。我们会为你们掘土。”他实际上指的是马克思在《共产党宣言》里写的 一段话“资产阶级生产的首先是自身的掘墓人”,意思是资本主义将从内部自我毁灭,共产主义最终将战胜资本主义。虽然这句话也不那么让人安心,但毕竟还算不 上什么刀光剑影的恫吓,也不至于激怒反共势力,让如临大敌的美国人以为受到了核威胁。

Khruschev himself clarified his statement – although not for several years. "I once said 'We will bury you', and I got into trouble with it," he said during a 1963 speech in Yugoslavia. "Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you.

"1963年,赫鲁晓夫本人在南斯拉夫的一次演讲上澄清了这段话。“我曾因为一句‘我们要埋葬你们’,而引来许多麻烦。我们当然不会用铁铲埋葬你们。你们国内的工人阶级将埋葬你们。”

外交辞令惹麻烦

Mistranslations during negotiations have often proven contentious. Confusion over the French word 'demander', meaning 'to ask', inflamed talks between Paris and Washington in 1830. After a secretary translated a message sent to the White House that began "le gouvernement français demande" as "the French government demands", the US President took issue with what he perceived as a set of demands. Once the error was corrected, negotiations continued.

谈判中的误译往往会引发争执。1830年,在法国与美国的谈判中,因为一名秘书把法语的“请求”一词(demander)错误地翻译为“要求”,使这场谈判 变得火药味十足。翻译将法国呈递给白宫的公函一开头的“法国政府请求”错误翻译为“法国政府要求”,导致美国总统杰克逊提出反对意见。直到这个错误得到纠 正,那场谈判才继续下去。

Some authorities have been accused of exploiting differences in language for their own ends. The Treaty of Waitangi, a written agreement between the British Crown and the Māori people in New Zealand, was signed by 500 tribal chiefs in 1840. Yet conflicting emphases in the English and Māori versions have led to disputes, with a poster claiming 'The Treaty is a fraud' featuring in the Māori protest movement.

有人指出,有些当权者利用不同语言间的差异实现不可告人的目的。1840年英国王室和新西兰毛利人达成的书面协议《怀唐伊条约》便是一例。在这份英国与 500名毛利部落首领签订的协议中,英文版和毛利文版各执一词互相矛盾。这导致毛利人在抗议运动中打出标语,宣称“这份条约是个骗局”。

翻译错误

“长远的历史眼光”

More of a misunderstanding than a mistranslation, one often-repeated phrase might have been reinforced by racial stereotypes. During Richard Nixon's visit to China in 1972, Chinese premier Zhou Enlai famously said it was 'too early to tell' when evaluating the effects of the French Revolution. He was praised for his sage words, seen as reflecting Chinese philosophy; yet he was actually referring to the May 1968 events in France.

这个翻译错误其实是一场误会。1972年美国总统尼克松访华时,周恩来总理说,现在评价法国大革命还“为时过早”。这句充满中国哲学的名言使周恩来成为了外国人心目中智慧的贤者;然而周总理其实指的是法国1968年5月发生的学生骚乱事件。

According to retired US diplomat Charles W Freeman Jr – Nixon's interpreter during the historic trip – the misconstrued comment was "one of those convenient misunderstandings that never gets corrected." Freeman said: "I cannot explain the confusion about Zhou's comment except in terms of the extent to which it conveniently bolstered a stereotype (as usual with all stereotypes, partly perceptive) about Chinese statesmen as far-sighted individuals who think in longer terms than their Western counterparts.

当年尼克松对中国进行历史性访问时,担任他翻译的是美国外交官小查尔斯·弗里曼。他认为这场误解更多来源于西方对中国人的刻板印象,“(西方)不假思索地曲 解了原话的意思,再也不会改正。除了对中国领导人比西方领导人更加高瞻远瞩、看事物更加长远的刻板印象,我找不到更令人信服的理由。”

"It was what people wanted to hear and believe, so it took hold."

“人们愿意听到和相信这样的话,所以它深植于世人心中。”