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如何翻译口语化的用语

    在口译工作中,常遇到一些口语化的用语,通俗浅显,但含义深邃,翻译成英文时,既要符合原文的意思,又要顺乎英文的语言习惯,使对方能正确理解讲话人的意思。这是口译工作中的一个难点。这里涉及两种文化和思维方式的相通。既要“知己”,即对中国思维方式的理解,又要“知彼”,即了解对方的思维方式和语言习惯。本人收集了一些通俗的口语,试译成英文,很不成熟,仅供口译工作者参考。

1.     辛苦了

当外宾刚抵达(下飞机)时,可以说:

“You’ve had a long flight(or tiring journey)”.

“Did you have a good trip?”

对工作劳累和办事“辛苦”,可说:

“You’ve been working hard.” “You’ve had a hectic day(or tiring)day.”

“Thank you for all the trouble you’ve taken.”

这事恐怕又得“辛苦”您了。

“I am afraid we’ll have to trouble you again.”

在检阅时,首长对列队人员说“同志们,辛苦了!”

在这种场合,既不能用“hard work”, 也不能用太长的语句来表达,可以简单地说“Salute, (or How are you,) comrades!”

2.     客随主便

Guests must suit the convenience( or comply with the wishes) of the host.

3.     入乡随俗

When in Rome, do as the Romans do.

4.     一见如故。一回生,二回熟。

Feel like old friends at first sight(or meeting). First time strangers,

second time friends.

5.     今天活动太紧张了。

You’ve had a long (busy) day.

We’ve kept you very busy today.

You’ve had a crowded (tight) programme today.

今天怎么搞?

What will be the scenario today?

6.     照顾不周,请原谅。

Please forgive us if we haven’t looked after you well.

Please forgive us for not having looked after you well.

Please forgive us if there are any oversights on our part.

7.     来到这里过得惯吗?

How do you find life here(in Beijing)?

How do you like Beijing?

Have you become accustomed to the life here ?

Have you adjusted yourself to the life here?

8.     这是我们应该做的。

It’s our pleasure. It’s our duty.

The pleasure is mine(ours).

9.     您太客气了。您过奖了。我不敢当。

It’s very(most) kind of you. Thank you for your kind words.(Your compliments).

You are being very considerate. You speak too highly of me. You overrate us.

It’s very kind of you to say so, but it more than we deserve. I am flattered.

10. 请留步,不用送我们出来了。

Please don’t bother. We’ll (I’ll) see ourselves(myself) out.

Please don’t bother to come to the door with me.

I’ll see myself out.

11. 水酒一杯,为各位洗尘接风。

May I offer you this glass of wine to greet you after your long journey (all the way to China).

12. 你的话有道理。

You have a point in saying that.

You have a point there.

13. 讲穿了;极而言之;话说回来,话没有说死。

To put it bluntly.

To speak in extreme terms.

To revert to the point. Back to the point.

There is no firm agreement as yet. There is no definitive word as yet.

14. 话要说明白,说话算数。

Make one’s views amply clear or make one’s position abundantly clear.

Our word counts. We mean what we say. What we Chinese say counts.

15. 扯皮

Wrangling or buck-passing.

They keep wrangling without getting anywhere.

双方互相扯皮,推卸责任。

They argued back and forth, each trying to shift the responsibility onto the other.

Passing the buck to somebody. (“Buck”是扑克牌游戏中,轮到某牌手做庄时,置于其前面的庄家标志。)

我说了算。

The buck stops here.(这是美国总统杜鲁门的名言)

谁说了算?

Where should the buck stop?

16. 搞小动作

Petty manoeuvres. The U.S has continued to hurt the feelings of the Chinese people by petty manoeuvres.

17. 互挖墙角

Undermine each other’s efforts. Each trying to cut ground( or pull the rug) from under the other’s feet.

18. 唱对台戏

Set one against the other. Each sings an opposite tune. The Soviet union and the U.S are setting themselves again each other. The Soviet Union and the U.S. are putting up a rivalry show.

19. 天塌不下来

The sky won’t fall. That won’t be the end of the world.

20. 没有什么了不起。

It’s (There is) nothing terrible. It’s no big deal. What does it matter? We don’t care.

21. 放心 Don’t worry.

你办事,我们放心。

With you in charge, we don’t have to worry( or we can all relax).

22. 不放心

Lack of faith(or trust) in somebody.

Have doubts about somebody’s intention.

Be skeptical about somebody’s purpose.

How can we feel easy if the threat is not eliminated.

23. 谈不上

Without……, anything will come to naught (or nothing can be   accomplished)

Out of the question:

例:“On the peaceful use of atomic energy, China is willing to provide help. As for asking us to help make the bomb, that is out of the question.”

Still less, or let alone.

例:“China has never had any contact with the South African authorities, still less(or let alone)nuclear cooperation.(更谈不上核合作)。

24. 交底

Bottom line.

We have given you the bottom line. We hide nothing from you.

25. 不买账

We are not going to take it from either of the two superpowers.

We won’t buy the stuff of either of the two superpower.

26. 破格

破格接待 Break the protocol to honor somebody.

                  We have been given exceptionally warm reception(or

exceptional hospitality).

破格提拨 

Make an exception or break the rule in promoting somebody. Get an exceptional promotion.

Promote somebody over the head of others.

27. 谈得拢,谈不拢。

See eye to eye; do not see eye to eye.

谈得拢,谈不拢,都不要紧。

It doesn’t matter whether we can agree or not.

谈得很投机。

We’ve had a very pleasant (or agreeable) conversation.

28.(某某)成不了什么气候(不可能有大的作为)。

They cannot prevail( cannot get anywhere; cannot have their way; cannot hold away.

They are incapable of doing much; they are not capable of accomplishing much.

29.要适可而止。

One should stop before going too far. One should have a sense of proportion.

手(不要)伸得太长了。

It has overreached(overextended) itself. One must not overextend

oneself.

30.皮球踢给你了。

The ball is now in your court.

31.怎么样?就这样,不怎么样。

How is everything? Just so so. It’s not terribly good(British understatement).

32.水涨船高,你追我赶。

It’s like a boat rising (or going up)with the water level, each trying to outdo the other.

Each seeking to gain one-upmanship over the other.

Engage in competitive one-upmanship or in spiralling (progressive) escalation.

33.对某人或某国做工作。

To talk to somebody about

To try to persuade somebody to do something, or dissuade somebody from doing something.

34.击中要害。

Hit where it hurts.

击不中要害。

Not scratch where one itches.

The Americans do not scratch where we itch.

35.打肿脸充胖子。

Boast about one’s pink cheek after having been slapped.

Try to satisfy one’s vanity when one cannot really afford to do so.

36.讲真理,不讲面子。

Keep to the truth and not spare the feeling of those who are criticized.

37.翻老账,不要翻老账。

Bring up old scores.

We do not want to bring up old scores.

38.对不起人。做对不起人的事。

To let somebody down; to do disservice to someone; to do something wrong.

例:We have done nothing wrong to them. We’ve never been unfair to them. We’ve done nothing we should feel sorry for them. We’ll not do any disservice to you. I would have let you down if I do not keep my word.

39.与某某闹翻了。

To fall out with somebody.

他们翻了。They fell out with each other.

40.解开疙瘩。

To untie the knot or remove the grudge.

例:The knot in its relations with the 1.3 billion Chinese people cannot be untied.

The grudge of the 1.3 billion Chinese people cannot be removed.

41.有骨气,守信用。

中国人有骨气 The Chinese people have backbone.

穷得有骨气   Though poor, he is a man of integrity.

中国人是守信用的 China keeps good faith. China is trustworthy. China’s good faith is impeccable.

42.苦差事,吃力不讨好。

It’s a demanding and unrewarding( or thankless) job.

43.有求于人。(有求于美国)

one-sided need

例:It would be wrong to regard China’s desire for developing Sino-U.S relations as her one-sided need, a need for China to seek help from the U.S., as her dependence on U.S. assistance.

44.自知之明。

Self-knowledge; wisdom of knowing one’s own limitaions.

缺乏自知之明。

Lack of self-knowledge; having no self-knowledge at all. Overrating oneself; being blind to one’s own weaknesses.

人贵在有自知之明。

It’s important to know one’s own limitations ( or weaknesses).A man’s virtue lies in taking a proper measure of himself.

45.(我是)矮子里拔将军。

I have been chosen for lack of a better one.

I’ve been selected from among the mediocre.

46.小道消息。

Back alley news, something learnt through the grapevine.

47.整人。

Try to fix somebody; to make somebody suffer; to make things difficult for somebody; give somebody a hard time; to make somebody the target of criticism and attack.

48.这是没有办法的办法。

This is the only possible solution under the present impossible circumstances.

49.以意识形态划线。

Condition our attitude towards someone (or relationship with somebody) upon ideology.

50.关系有所松动。

Things are moving in the relationship between….

There is some measure of flexibility(or lessening of rigidity) in bilateral relations or trade, etc.

立场没有松动。

Their position has not softened.

The U.S has not relaxed its stance on the Iraq issue.

51.有回旋余地。

Room for manoeuvre; allow some latitude.

留点回旋余地。

Leave some room for manoeuvre.

话已说绝,再也没有回旋余地了。

The last word was said and no room was left for manoeuvre.

留点回旋余地,别把话说死了。

Don’t make it so rigid (or inflexible), leave some leeway.

52.不怕鬼,不信邪。

We fear no evil spirits, nor any evil bluster.

这种译法比较简单有力。

“不怕”如译“are not afraid, are not daunted, scared, alarmed” 均不够有力。“鬼”直译是“ghost or devil”,太突显。“信邪”如译“don’t believe in evil cult”又不好懂。 “bluster”则含“boast and threat”之意,比较符合原意。

53. 缘份

Fate or chance that brings people together; predestination; predestined affinity or relationship.

我们有缘份

It seems that we are predestined to come together. We are brought together by fate( or by predestination). We are made for each other.

54.不见不散

Be there or be square.

55.把柄 Vulnerability

我没有把柄在他们手里。

I have no vulnerable points in their favor. They have nothing on me. They cannot manipulate me.

56.宰人(敲竹杠)

Ripe-off(cheating by charging too much money for something)

这家饭店真“宰人”。

This hotel always tries to rip off its customers.

一杯茶50元,真“宰人”。

50Yuan for a cup of tea. What a rip-off! It’s gouging one’s customers.

57.帮倒忙。

Trying to help but causing more trouble in the process.

Be counterproductive.

你在这个时候吹捧他,真是“帮倒忙”。

It’s counterproductive for you to pour praise on him at this juncture.

58.擦边球,直译是 “edge ball or touch ball”.

意译为: Sailing close to the wind.

              Taking advantage of loopholes.

59.拉拉队 Cheer-leading group.

加油! Go,go!

60. 他属“鸡”。 He belongs to the zodiac year of rooster.

                He was borne in the year of rooster.

虚岁  Nominal year of age.

实岁 Full year of age.

61. 撒娇 To play(or behave like) the spoilt (or pampered)child.

台湾向美国撒娇。The Taiwan authorities are playing the spoilt child before the Americans.

62.舍不得 To be reluctant(loath) or hate to

相处久了,舍不得离开。

As long-time friends, we hate (are reluctant) to part.

舍得吃穿。

He won’t grudge spending money on food and clothing.

舍不得吃,留给孩子。

We are loath to eat it and would save it for our kids.

舍不得花钱。

He is loath to spend his money.

63.事后诸葛亮,放马后炮。

Monday-morning quarterback(美国英语)。

“Quarterback”是橄榄球队中的后卫,负责指挥本队的进攻。橄榄球赛一般在周末举行,球队往往于比赛后的星期一召集队员对上周的比赛进行总结,由“Quarterback”来评议上周进攻中的优缺点。因此, “Monday-morning quarterback”就转化为“事后诸葛亮”或“放马后炮”之义。

64. 一个唱红脸,一个唱白脸。

One playing the tough guy and the other playing the soft (or nice) guy.

65.没劲,淡而无味,不痛不痒。

      这项声明没劲(淡而无味)。This statement is wishy-washy.

      这项决议案不痛不痒。This is an innocuous resolution.

 
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