英译中国现代散文选 | 端木蕻良 耐力



The pigeon flies high. People tie a whistle to its leg so that they can enjoy the sweet sound coming from the air.

When the pigeon circles in the clear blue sky with a speck or two of white cloud, the rises and falls of the whistling sound are indicative of the aerial somersaults performed by the bird.

Pigeons fly in flocks. They hover over the ancient castles in Rome. In fact, they have been hovering over them ever since Dante first met Beatrice.

They wheel over Tian'anmen Square. In fact, they have been wheeling over it ever since the birth of the City of Beijing.

Some pigeons have a head shaped like that of a phoenix. Their wings are either black, white or speckled, and invariably strong and vigorous.

Their eyes glisten with love. They use their mouths to pass food to their nestlings. It is said that when the pigeon grows old, it will be fed in the same manner by the adult pigeons it has hatched and reared.

The pigeon's wings are shorter than those of the seagull, smaller than those of the sparrow hawk and less capable of gliding in the air than those of the eagle, but, nevertheless, stronger than all...

The pigeon is a social bird, but it also flies by itself. It often covers enormous distances on its own.

It has practically nothing to eat or drink while flying long distances non-stop day and night. While in flight over the sea, it finds nothing edible or drinkable, nor a place for taking a rest until a rocky spot is in sight, which means it is nearing the other side of the sea...

The camel conquers the desert while the pigeon conquers the air.

The camel cannot run as fast as the horse, the pigeon cannot fly with as much agility as the petrel. But both camel and pigeon are hardy. Their endurance is such as to put to shame both the raging sandstorm and the violent typhoon.

Their great endurance enables them to get to any place they want to. Almost no camel succumbs to difficulties in the midst of a desert and almost no pigeon falls dead while halfway over the sea.

Both camel and pigeon are very gentle, with eyes always twinkling timidly. But they never cringe from a blinding dust storm or a furious tempest...

The camel's hump symbolizes an arch bridge linking up the cultures of East and West. Armed with a jingling bell, it is a most reliable courier delivering most exciting messages...

The pigeon is a most trustworthy messenger. It does the work of delivering secret intelligence to a military commander with unerring accuracy.

The pigeon whistle is ringing again overhead. To me, however, the whole firmament seems to pale into insignificance in comparison with the small sound.




①“鸽子,在天空飞着”可译为The pigeon flies in the sky或The pigeon flies in the air,现译为The pigeon flies high,取其简洁。

②“从天空里,便飞来悠扬的哨响”可按“以便听到从空中来的悦耳哨响”之意译为so that they can enjoy the sweet sound coming from the air。

③“鸽子的翻腾”意即“鸽子在空中的上下翻滚”,故译为the aerial somersaults performed by the bird,其中aerial somersaults(空中翻跟头)是形象化的表达法。

④“哨子发声的波折”意即“哨子发声的高低变化”,故译为the rises and falls of the whistling sound。

⑤“但丁”(Dante Alighieri, 1265—1321)是意大利诗人,其代表作为《神曲》(Divine Comedy),反映中世纪意大利的社会矛盾,谴责教皇和僧侣的贪婪专横。

⑥“碧蒂利采”(Beatrice)为但丁作品《新生》(Vita Nuova)和《神曲》(Divine Comedy)中理想化了的一个女子。但丁在早年曾热爱过此女。

⑦“鸽子是喜欢群居的”可译为The pigeon is a social (gregarious) bird,或Pigeons often occur in flocks、Pigeons normally live in large groups等。

⑧“它们的耐力是坚强的,漫卷的黄沙和凶猛的台风在它们面前,都为之失色……”译为Their endurance is such as to put to shame both the raging sandstorm and the violent typhoon,其中to put to shame是成语,作“使……黯然失色”、“胜过……”等解。此句也可译为Their endurance is so remarkable that it overshadows both the raging sandstorm and the violent typhoon。

⑨“在沙漠里几乎找不到中途倒在沙里的骆驼”译为Almost no camel succumbs to difficulties in the midst of a desert,其中to succumb to的意思是“因……而死亡”或“被……压垮”,在此比to die from有略多内涵。

⑩“骆驼和鸽子,同样没有剑拔弩张的样子”可按“骆驼和鸽子都很温顺(不好斗)”之意译为Neither camel nor pigeon is fight-happy或Both camel and pigeon are very gentle。

?“骆驼的峰就是一座拱桥”不宜直译,现按“骆驼的峰象征一座拱桥”译为The camel's hump symbolizes an arch bridge。