Lecture #2: Chinese-English Translation: A Suggested Method for Beginning Students

Lecture #2: Chinese-English Translation: A Suggested Method for Beginning Students
第二讲座:趣谈中文翻译:一个推荐给初学者的翻译方法

Carl Gene Fordham
Beijing International Studies University
Monday 23 October 2017
傅君恺
北京第二外国语学院
2017年10月23日

You can watch it either on YouTube or Bilibili.
你可以在YouTube或者哔哩哔哩上观看讲座的视频。

YouTube: Chinese-English Translation: A Suggested Method for Beginning Students

Bilibili (哔哩哔哩): 【傅君恺】趣谈中文翻译:一个推荐给初学者的翻译方法

Apologies
Sorry this has taken over four months to post this! I have been incredibly busy of late. I actually gave this lecture in October last year, but have only just had time to write up a summary and translation today. I am planning on giving a few more public lectures at BISU this semester, so stay tuned!
致歉
抱歉等了四个多月才把这个发表到博客上!最近我实在是太忙了。事实上我是去年10月份做的这个讲座,但今天才有时间写总结和翻译。我计划下个学期在北京第二外国语学院举办更多的公开讲座,所以,敬请各位密切关注!

What I Discussed in my Lecture
You might remember that during the first public lecture I gave at BISU I talked about the importance of cultivating good study habits when learning a foreign language. I also discussed some common problems faced by Chinese learners of English. In this follow-up lecture, my focus is primarily on translation, specifically Chinese-into-English translation. I provide a step-by-step procedure that students can follow when doing translation exercises and projects.
讲座内容
各位可能还记得我曾在北京第二外国语学院做的第一个公开讲座,该讲座谈及了在学外语时养成良好学习习惯的重要性。同时我也讨论了些中国人在学习英语时面对的常见问题。在今天谈论的这个后续讲座中,重点主要落在了翻译,特别是汉译英。我给出了个“分阶段”步骤,以让学生在做翻译训练和任务时采用。

Naturally, this should only be taken as a guide; if you find my suggestions useful, you can try to incorporate them into your work, but everyone has their own working style, so I encourage students to develop their own methods as well. In addition, teachers rarely give students a clear breakdown of how translation is done by professionals, so I think my ideas can at least be a good starting point for discussion.
当然,这一方法仅供参考,如果你觉得我的建议有用,你可以将其结合到你的翻译实践中,但毕竟每个人都有自己的行事风格,所以我也鼓励学生们探求自己的学习方法。其次,老师很少给学生讲清楚专业译者的工作流程,所以我觉得我的观点至少可以作为探讨的切入点。

Before presenting my translation process, I discuss with the audience some issues that I believe can be addressed by placing more emphasis on process and practice in translation training.
在展示我的翻译过程前,我和观众探讨了一些翻译问题,这些翻译问题我认为可以通过注重翻译训练中的过程和练习以解决。

Problem No. 1
First I discuss the distinction between the translation product and process, and how the former is often emphasised by teachers to the neglect of the latter. I present an image of a cabinet and ask the audience to imagine they are cabinetmakers and it is their job to teach students how to make them. I propose that it would be absurd to give a bunch of inexperienced students a beautiful, finished cabinet and ask them to simply copy it by themselves. And yet this is exactly the way translation is taught by many teachers.
问题1
首先我谈到了翻译结果和翻译过程的区别,及教师通常是重视翻译结果而忽视翻译过程的。我向观众们展示了一张橱柜的图片,并且让观众想象他们自己就是木工,而他们的职责便是教导学生如何打造一个橱柜。我认为给一堆经验不足的学生们一个精致、成品的橱柜并让他们自己打磨会显得荒唐可笑。然而这正是很多教师的翻译教学方法。

Teachers give students products (i.e. reference translations) and ask them to copy them, but very little is explained about how that product is actually made. Sometimes they give students raw materials (grammar, vocabulary) and diagrams (theory) but this still does not provide much insight about the complicated process involved when translating a text. In my view, this is something that must addressed in translation schools. I also note that this phenomenon is less common in interpreting training.
教师给学生翻译结果(如参考译文)并让学生模仿,但却很少解释翻译结果是怎么来的。有时候教师给学生“原料”(如语法、词汇)和图表(理论),但这依旧没能给出翻译文本时涉及的对复杂过程的深层次理解。依我所见,对翻译过程的深层次理解必须在翻译学派中体现。我还要提醒的是这一现象在口译训练中更不常见。

Problem No. 2
Then I talk about a common complaint of Chinese students and teachers: that almost all the theories they learn about are based on Western languages, which often hold very little relevance to their own translation experiences. I propose that the problems Chinese language translators face tend to be much more complex than those faced by European language translators.
问题2
然后我谈了中国学生和教师都存在的常见抱怨:那就是他们学习的几乎所有理论都基于西方语言,而这与他们自身的翻译经历关联甚微。我的观点是汉语译员面临的问题远比欧洲语系译员们面临的问题复杂。

Chinese and English have almost no relationship between each other, as they have developed completely independently of each other. To take Western linguistic theories and apply them directly to Chinese translation is like comparing apples with oranges. We should encourage Chinese translation teachers to come up with their own understandings of the translation process that students can relate to and apply directly in their own work.汉语和英语几乎没有关联,因为他们相互间完全独立发展。将西方语言学理论直接应用于汉语翻译如同将苹果和橘子进行对比。我们应该鼓励教授翻译的中国教师拥有其对翻译过程的独到见解,对学生有意义,并且能让学生直接将其应用于他们的翻译任务中。

Problem No. 3
The urgency to develop a practical process for Chinese translation students to follow is clear when one considers the fact that Chinese-English translation is one of the biggest language directions in the world, and its market is only going to grow larger as China becomes increasingly powerful on the international stage.
问题3
当我们认识到中英互译是世界上最大的语言方向之一并且随着中国在国际舞台上越发强大,中英互译市场只会越来越大,很明显,我们亟需给学翻译的中国学生找出一种实用步骤来遵循。

Despite this, the translation industry in China is far less developed than that of Europe and the United States. In China there are very few agreed-upon standards and principles of translation (especially Chinese-into-English) that would help improve the quality of translations here, and thereby avoid embarrassing renderings like “Hotel for Aliens”, and the myriad of Chinglish expressions we have all been exposed to.
即便如此,中国翻译行业的发展远远落后于欧洲和美国。中国几乎没有能够帮助提高翻译质量的公认翻译标准和原则(特别是汉英互译)来避免诸如Hotel for Aliens这样的尴尬表述,以及我们都见过的无数中式英语表达。

My Method
Please note that my method is but one among many, and a basic one at that, targeted at beginners. It is intended for non-literary texts, since translating literature is an intricate process that could probably never be streamlined in such a fashion. The method is mainly based on my own experience of projects with tight deadlines. Since everyone has their own style of working, I hope students can use this presentation as inspiration to develop their own method that works best for them.
我的方法
请注意我的方法只是无数方法中的一种,并且是基础性的,对应目标群体为初学者。该方法用于非文学文本,因为文学翻译过程复杂,难以将此译法应用其中,进而提高工作效率。这一方法基于我自身的紧迫性翻译实践。因为每个人都有自己的行事作风,我希望学生可以将此展示当成灵感来源以找寻最适合他们自身的方法。

Why Focus on Method?
In project management we often talk about the requirements of Time, Quality and Cost represented in the Project Management Triangle, and how it is difficult to achieve all three in a given project. In my presentation I propose a new triangle diagram specially for translators that takes into account our professional standards of Accuracy, Fluency and Timeliness. I explain in my lecture how my translation process can go some way toward improving these three requirements, and especially those of accuracy and timeliness.
为什么关注方法?
在项目管理中,我们经常谈到以项目管理三角形为代表的时间、质量和成本要求,并且知道要想在一个给定项目中同时实现以上三点是十分困难的。在我的展示中,我提出了一个专为译员而定制的新型三角图,该三角图考虑到精确度、流利度和即时性专业标准。在我的演讲中我解释到了我的翻译过程是如何一步步达到这三个要求的,特别是准确和即时性要求。

Basic Principles
If we acknowledge that Chinese and English are two languages with almost no common ground, we should encourage students to understand as much about the cultural, social and linguistic differences as possible. As far as I am concerned, no good C-E translator can produce professional translations without this awareness.
基本原则
如果我们承认汉语和英语是两种几乎没有共同点的语言,我们就应该鼓励学生尽可能多地了解两种语言间的文化、社会和语言学差异。依我所见,能翻出高质量译文的优秀汉译英译者都清楚这点。

The advantage of this method is it forces the translator to give equal emphasis to both the literal meaning of the source text and the grammatical and stylistic requirements of the target text. This will become clearer to the audience during the presentation section, where I show in real time how my process can be carried out on a couple of example texts.
该方法的优点是它迫使译者同等对待源文本的字面意义和目标文本的语法、语体要求。观众在展示环节会理解更加到位,在该环节我通过几个文本例子展示了我是如何进行翻译过程的。

Stages in My Method
My method involves three stages, or the “Three Rs”:
该方法的各个阶段
我的方法包括三个阶段,或称Three Rs:

1. Reading
一、阅读
2. Rendering
二、翻译
3. Revising
三、修改

Stage One: Reading
During this stage, I read the ST in its entirety, making sure I understand every term and concept used. I may need to consult native speakers or experts for some tricky terms or concepts. Lastly, I open the document in my word processor and divide it into digestible chunks, to make the translation process easier to handle.
阶段1:阅读
在这一阶段,我整体阅读了源文本,确保我明白用到的所有术语和概念。对于一些棘手的术语或概念,我可能需要询问母语人士或专家。最后,我在Word文档中打开文件,将其分解为各个模块以令翻译过程更易操作。

Stage Two: Rendering
Then, I translate every unit (every zi [Chinese character] and ci [Chinese word]) of the source text literally. To save time I only make idiomatic shifts (i.e. changes to sentence structures, collocations or expressions) instinctively. Lastly, I maintain the original sentence structure and even grammar where possible, as long as the rendering is still readable.
阶段二:翻译
接下来,我逐字翻译源文本的每个单位(包括每个字和词)。为了省时间,我只会依靠本能反应进行习语转换(即调整句型、搭配或表达)。最后,我尽可能保留原来的句型甚至语法,前提是保留译文的可读性。

Stage Three: Revising
In this last stage, I re-read my rendering and make as many changes as possible. During this time I may fix grammatical errors, change sentence structures and word orders to make them more idiomatic or to conform with target language norms, and make final decisions on ‘tricky’ units.
阶段三:修改
在最后这一阶段,我再次阅读我的翻译并且尽可能多的修改。此时我可能会修改语法错误,改变句子结构和单词顺序以让译文更地道或符合目标语规范,并最终决定如何处理“棘手”单位。

Benefits of This Method
In my mind, there are three main benefits to this method. First, it streamlines the translation process. I can deal with simple renderings first, make quick progress early on, and leave difficult parts for later. Second, it minimises fatigue. I can separate accuracy and fluency, so I do not have to focus on both at once. Third, it prevents mistranslation. During the Rendering stage, I can ensure every unit is accounted for, so nothing is left out. This is particularly important for legal and commercial texts, or any text where small details in the source text are crucial.
该方法的益处
我认为该方法有三个主要益处。首先,简化翻译过程。我可以先处理简单翻译,在早期就有快速进步,并将困难部分留到后面。第二,该方法最大程度减少疲劳。我可以将精确度和流利度分开,这样我就无需一心二用。第三,该方法避免误译。在翻译阶段,我确保每个单位都解释了,因此没有一个单位有所遗漏。这对法律、商业和任何小细节都至关重要的文本中尤为重要。

Examples of the Method in Action
I then present two examples of my proposed translation method by way of a TAP, i.e. a Think-Aloud Protocol. This involves recording myself translating a text, during which time I provide commentary on the process in real time. In my lecture I then present the video and analyse my performance so students can better understand the translation process. You can watch the lecture video on YouTube or Bilili to see the method in action.
该方法的例子
然后我通过“出声思维法”(Think-Aloud Protocol)展现了两个我自己的翻译实践例子。出声思维法可以记录我翻译文本的过程,然后在这个过程中我实时做出评论。在演讲中我播放了视频并且分析了自己的表现,这样学生可以更好地理解翻译过程。你可以在YouTube或哔哩哔哩上观看该视频以了解此方法在实践中的运用。

Some Caveats
Though TAP is a useful tool for students and teachers, it is not without its flaws. Notably, it only reveals parts of the process that are conscious to the translator, so any task performed unconsciously cannot usually be revealed. Also, in my presentation I only chose two simple texts that are not good representations of professional-level translations.
注意事项
虽然“出声思维法”之于学生和教师都是种实用工具,但它并非完美无瑕。显然“出声思维法”仅揭示译者有意识的部分翻译过程,因此该方法通常不能揭示任何无意识的翻译行为。同样,在我的展示中我也仅仅选取了两个不能代表专业翻译级别的简单文本。

I did this for three reasons. One, it is very time-consuming to present professional-level translation to a general audience due to its complexity. Second, most translation projects are highly confidential. Third, not everyone in the audience had a background in translation. For these reasons I chose to use simple texts, but in future sessions we could see what could be learnt by applying the method to higher-level texts.
我选取这两个不代表专业翻译级别的简单文本有三个理由:首先,因为专业级别的翻译文本复杂深奥,因此将其展现给普通观众显得非常耗时。其次,大多数翻译任务都高度保密。最后,在场的观众并非都具备翻译背景。基于以上原因,我选择使用简单文本,但在以后的讲座,我们可以看看将我的翻译方法应用于高级别文本中,观众能收获到什么。

Conclusion
And that’s it! Be sure to watch the lecture video in its entirety to understand how my proposed translation process works. I look forward to reading your feedback in the comments section!
结论
以上便是全部内容!请务必看完全部讲座视频以便理解我提出的翻译过程,期待在评论区读到大家的反馈!

Cheers,
Carl
谢谢!
傅君恺

Leave a Reply