翻译研究 | “酸了”英语怎么说

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“酸了”一词近来在网络上较为常见,意为羡慕、嫉妒,比如:酸了!腾讯员工平均月薪7万上热搜!“酸”一字有时也被替换成“柠檬”。是“心里酸溜溜的”这种表达方式的缩略版。

“酸”的英文是sour,英文中习语leave a sour taste in one’s mouth也是形容不好的感受,但它的意思是To have a persistent negative effect on somone after an offending incident has ended(https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/leaving+a+sour+taste+in+mouth),不是“羡慕、嫉妒”的意思。

网站给出的两个例句:

  • I know Kelly's your friend, but she was so rude at dinner–it just left a sour taste in my mouth.
  • Of course Andrew not inviting me to his party leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

由于中西文化差异,表达情感时,sour是“愤怒、怨恨、不快”(cross, bad-tempered, peevish, morose),不是中文“酸溜溜”的意思,所以sour无法翻译“酸了”。

直译走不通就考虑意译。“羡慕、嫉妒”可考虑译为envy或jealousy。这两个词的区别在于envy是羡慕别人拥有的东西,而jealousy带有失去自己拥有东西的恐惧

Jealousy is properly restricted to contexts involving emotional rivalry; envy is used more broadly of resentful contemplation of a more fortunate person.
—Bryan A. Garner, Garner’s Modern American Usage (3rd ed.), 2009
https://www.merriam-webster.com/words-at-play/jealous-vs-envious

因此,envy比jealousy更适合用来翻译“酸了”。仅从意思上说,用I am envious(of Tencent employees)!翻译本文开头提到的例子已经足够,但构成词语的要素不限于意思,还包括它的形式。“酸了”是一个带有幽默色彩的表达,同时借用感官体验比喻心理感受,这些都是这个词在形式上的特点,是这个词的特色所在。一个词的style在翻译时最好也能体现

沿envy寻找,想到短语green with envy。根据《剑桥词典》,这一习语的意思是to be very unhappy because someone has something that you want,例句为Chad is heading off to Spain for the week, and I'm green with envy.

关于Green with envy的来源,查到如下表述:

Why do we turn green with envy? Judith S. Neaman and Carole G. Silver report that?'green' and 'pale' were alternate meanings of the same Greek word. In the seventh century B.C., the poetess Sappho, used the word 'green' to describe the complexion of a stricken lover. The Greeks believed that?jealousy was accompanied by an overproduction of bile, lending a pallid green cast to the victim.

Ovid, Chaucer, and Shakespeare followedsuit, freely using 'green' to denote jealousy or envy. Perhaps the most famous such reference is Iago's speech in Act 3 of Othello:

O! beware my lord, of Jealousy;

It is the green-ey'd monster which dothmock

The meat it feeds on.

Although we are now more likely to ascribe the pallor of a friend to a questionable tuna fish salad sandwich rather than an emotional fit, 'green with envy' remains entrenched.

(https://www.phrases.org.uk/bulletin_board/1/messages/2195.html)

不管是白色还是绿色,羡慕到脸色变化可以算是很“酸了”。因此在生动性上,green with envy比只用envy更贴近“酸了”。Green with envy的问题是在幽默感上还是差了一些,另外green with envy这一表述由来已久,而“酸了”是个新近出现的词,这种新鲜感也会影响人们对于这个词的印象,最好也能够翻译出来。

综合以上考虑,green with envy中的green可替换为带有一些文学色彩,多形容草木葱郁的近义词verdant,将“酸了”译为verdant with envy,表示脸色因为羡慕而绿的像草木。这一更为大胆的表达可能会对使用场合有要求,如果追求安全、易懂,不在乎牺牲词语一些特质的话,green with envy是首选

(中国翻译研究院)

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