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HomeModern Chinese EssaysJin Shenghua's Essay: A Long Bridge -- modern chinese literature 金圣华《一座长桥》

Jin Shenghua’s Essay: A Long Bridge — modern chinese literature 金圣华《一座长桥》

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A Long Bridge

Jin Shenghua

Translation is like a bridge with a very different climate and landscape at either end of it.Under the bridge,there lies a valley between steep mountains with a rapid stream flowing through it.Before the bridge is built,people on either side of the valley have for generations made no contact with those on the other.Hence,there have developed two different customs and habits,and two different languages and cultures.

One day,people of the two sides,each with a different culture and custom,suddenly desire to communicate with each other.What can they do?A bridge of course has to be built in order to cross the valley.But who is to build it?

At last,a group of people naively offer themselves for the job.

Someone asks them,“Don’t you know you’ll have to go about this job earnestly and fear no hardship?”

They nod their heads and answer with confidence,“We’re full of drive and not afraid of hardship.”

The questioner says again,“The profession you’re joining pays badly.And often you even have to work round the clock.Frankly,you won’t be fairly rewarded according to your labour.”

They answer,“We don’t want to get rich.”

The questioner says again,“Don’t you know that none in this profession have ever become prosperous.You have to toil away in obscurity.If you want to go after fame and compliments,you had better not choose this profession.When people walk on the bridge after it is built,none will ever think of putting up a monument to you.”

They answer again,“We don’t care for fame.”

The questioner concludes with a sigh,“OK,so you seek neither fame nor wealth.But mind you,you have to be very careful in doing this job.A solid foundation must be laid at each end of the bridge.A stone bridge is built with block after block of stone.A wooden bridge is built with piece after piece of wood.Even the building of a rope bridge requires great care.Each rope has to be tied tightly lest the foot passengers should fall into the ravine,to say nothing of reaching the opposite side.”

Bridges are being built one after another.Knowledge spreads and cultures interflow.But who thinks of the bridge builders?



(1)“险峻的山谷”指“位于陡峭的两山之间的狭长地带”,故译a valley between steep mountains,其中把“险峻”译为steep或dangerously steep皆可。

(2)“湍急的溪流”意即“中间有湍急的溪流”,故译with a rapid stream flowing through it,其中with和flowing through it都是译文中的增益成分。

(3)“两旁的人,各忙各的,世代相传”意即“两岸的人,世世代代不相往来”,故译people on either side of the valley have for generations made no contact with those on the other。

(4)“忽然想起要跟对岸打个招呼”意即“忽然想要同对岸的人联系”,故译suddenly desire to communicate with each other。

(5)“终于来了,一群傻里傻气的志愿者”译为At last,a group of people naively offer themselves for the job,其中offer themselves for the job作“自荐做这工作”解,全句也可译为At last a group of volunteers naively offer to do the job。

(6)“这份差事”本可按“这个工作”译为This job,现按“这一行”或“这职业”译为This profession,似更切合原文内涵。

(7)“必须默默耕耘”译为You have to toil away in obscurity,其中“耕耘”译为to toil away,意同to work very hard,不可直译为to plough and weed。又“默默”译为in obscurity意为without being known to people at large(鲜为人知)。

(8)“可别怪大家没提醒你们”不必直译,现按“请注意”或“请听着”译为mind you,既简易达意,又口语化。

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