英译中国现代散文选 | 何其芳 雨前

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雨前
Praying for Rainfall

最后的鸽群带着低弱的笛声在微风里划一个圈子后,也消失了。也许是误认这灰暗的凄冷的天空为夜色的来袭,或是也预感到风雨的将至,遂过早地飞回它们温暖的木舍。
The last flock of pigeons have also gone out of sight after doing their final circling in the soft breeze, the sound of their whistles barely audible. They are hastening back to their warm wooden dovecote earlier than usual perhaps because they have mistaken the bleak leaden sky for nightfall or because of their presentiment of a storm.

几天的阳光在柳条上撒下的一抹嫩绿,被尘土埋掩得有憔悴色了,是需要一次洗涤。还有干裂的大地和树根也早已期待着雨。雨却迟疑着。
The willow twigs, daubed with a light green by several days of sunshine, are now covered all over with dust and look so sickly that they need to be washed. And the parched soil and tree roots have likewise been dying for rainfall. Yet the rain is reluctant to come down.

我怀想着故乡的雷声和雨声。那隆隆的有力的搏击,从山谷返响到山谷,仿佛春之芽就从冻土里震动,惊醒,而怒茁出来。细草样柔的雨声又以温存之手抚摩它,使它簇生油绿的枝叶而开出红色的花。这些怀想如乡愁一样萦绕得使我忧郁了。我心里的气候也和这北方大陆一样缺少雨量,一滴温柔的泪在我枯涩的眼里,如迟疑在这阴沉的天空里的雨点,久不落下。
I can never forget the thunderstorm we often had in my home town. Over there, whenever the rumble of thunder reverberated across the valley, the buds of spring would seem to sprout freely after being disturbed and roused up from their slumber in the frozen soil. Then tenderly stroked by the soft hands of fine rain, they would put forth bright green leaves and pink flowers. It makes me nostalgic and melancholy to think about old times and my mind is as depressed as the vast expanse of North China is thirsty. A tear stands in my dull eye and, like the rain lingering in the murky sky, is slow to roll down.

白色的鸭也似有一点烦躁了,有不洁的颜色的都市的河沟里传出它们的焦急的叫声。有的还未厌倦那船一样的徐徐的划行。有的却倒插它们的长颈在水里,红色的蹼趾伸在尾后,不停地扑击着水以支持身体的平衡。不知是在寻找沟底的细微食物,还是贪那深深的水里的寒冷。
White ducks have also become somewhat impatient. Some are sending out irritated quacks from the turbid waters of an urban creek. Some keep swimming leisurely and tirelessly like a slow boat. Some have their long necks submerged headfirst in the water while sticking up their webbed feet behind their tails and splashing them desperately so as to keep their balance. There is no knowing if they are searching for tiny bits of food from the bottom of the creek or just enjoying the chill of the deep water.

有几个已上岸了。在柳树下来回地作绅士的散步,舒息划行的疲劳。然后参差地站着,用嘴细细地抚理它们遍体白色的羽毛,间或又摇动身子或扑展着阔翅,使那缀在羽毛间的水珠坠落。一个已修饰完毕的,弯曲它的颈到背上,长长的红嘴藏没在翅膀里,静静合上它白色的茸毛间的小黑眼,仿佛准备睡眠。可怜的小动物,你就是这样做你的梦吗?
Some of them stagger out of the water and, to relieve their fatigue, begin to saunter up and down with a gentleman-like swagger in the shade of the willow trees. Then, they stand about to preen their white plumage carefully. Occasionally they give themselves a sudden shake or flap their long wings to let off water drops from among their feathers. One of them, after grooming itself, turns round its neck to rest on the back, then buries its long red beak under its wings and quietly closes its small black eyes tucked away among the white fine hair. Apparently it is getting ready to sleep. Poor little creature, is that the way you sleep?

我想起故乡放雏鸭的人了。一大群鹅黄色的雏鸭游牧在溪流间。清浅的水,两岸青青的草,一根长长的竹竿在牧人的手里。他的小队伍是多么欢欣地发出啾啁声?又多么驯服地随着他的竿头越过一个田野又一个山坡!夜来了,帐幕似的竹篷撑在地上,就是他的家。但这是怎样辽远的想象啊!在这多尘土的国度里,我仅只希望听见一点树叶上的雨声。
The scene recalls to my mind the duckling raiser in my home town. With a long bamboo pole in hand, he would look after a large flock of gosling-yellow ducklings moving about on the limpid water of a shallow brook flanked on both sides by green grass. How the little creatures jig-jigged merrily! How they obediently followed the bamboo pole to scamper over field after field, hillside after hillside! When night fell, the duckling raiser would make his home in a tent-like bamboo shed. Oh, that is something of the distant past! Now, in this dusty country of ours, what I yearn for is to hear the drip-drip of rain beating against leaves.

我仰起头。天空低垂如灰色的雾幕,落下一些寒冷的碎屑到我脸上。一只远来的鹰隼仿佛带着怒愤,对这沉重的天色的怒愤,平张的双翅不动地从天空斜插下,几乎触到河沟对岸的土阜,而又鼓扑着双翅,作出猛烈的声响腾上了。那样巨大的翅使我惊异。我看见了它两肋间斑白的羽毛。
When I look up at a gray misty pall of a low-hanging sky, some dust particles feel chilly on my face. A hawk, seemingly irked by the gloomy sky, swoops down sideways out of nowhere, with wings wide-spread and immovable, until it almost hits the hillock on the other side of the brook. But it soars skywards again with a loud flap. I am amazed by the tremendous size of its wings. And I also catch sight of the grizzled feathers on its underside.

接着听见了它有力的鸣声,如同一个巨大的心的呼号,或是在黑暗里寻找伴侣的叫唤。
Then I hear its loud cry — like a powerful voice from the bottom of its heart or a call in the dark for its comrades in arms.

然而雨还是没有来。
But still no rain.

说明

何其芳(1912—1977),四川万县人,现代诗人、散文家、文学评论家。《雨前》是他写于1933年春的一篇充满艺术魅力的散文,收录在他的第一本散文集《画梦录》中。作者通过雨前自然景物和人物情态的描写,渲染出一种久旱盼甘霖的强烈气氛,托物言志,借景抒怀,流露出作者不满黑暗现实、渴望光明的心态。现用现在时态英译全文,以增加描述的生动性和现实感。

注释

①此文题目本可译为Before the Rain,现按久旱盼甘霖的主题把它译为Praying for Rainfall,其中Praying for的意思是“求”或“渴望”等。

②“带着低弱的笛声”译为the sound of their whistles barely audible,其中barely audible的字面意思是“勉强能听到”或“几乎听不到”,在此作“低弱的”解。此短语也可译为with the faint sound of their whistles。如译为the sound of their whistles trailing off也无不可,只是trailing off(逐渐减弱)与原意稍有差别。

③“几天的阳光在柳条上撒下的一抹嫩绿,被尘土埋掩得有些憔悴色了,是需要一次洗涤”译为The willow twigs, daubed with a light green by several days of sunshine, are now covered all over with dust and look so sickly that they need to be washed。也可按“经过几天的日晒,柳树上出现的嫩叶被尘土……”译为The light green willow leaves brought on by several days of sunshine now, covered all over with dust, look so sickly and hence need to be washed,其中to bring on是成语,作“使出现”或“使发展”解。

④“我心里的气候也和这北方大陆一样缺少雨量”不宜按字面直译。现按“我的心情抑郁,和北方大地干旱,达到同样的严重程度”译为my mind is as depressed as the vast expanse of North China is thirsty。

⑤“有几几个已上岸了”译为Some or them stagger out of the water,比Some of them come out of the water可取,因stagger能表达鸭子走动时摇摇晃晃的样子。

⑥“天空低垂如灰色的雾幕”译为a gray misty pall of a low-hanging sky,等于a low-hanging sky resembling a gray misty pall。可参考用同样结构表达的例子:a toy of a house = a toy-like house; a dwarf of a man = a dwarf-like man。

⑦“远来的”译为out of nowhere(不知从哪儿来),比from afar传神。

⑧“伴侣”在文中有“战友”的含义,故译comrades in arms,比companions或partners确切。

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