外语 / 英语读物 · 5万字
有人还在讨论诗歌的可译性，实在无必要。实际上，诗歌翻译始终没有停止过，并且翻译水平越来越高。然而，诗歌翻译的确很难。弗罗斯特曾说："Poetry is what gets lost in translation（诗，翻译所失也）”。他不仅指出诗歌翻译的艰难，还指出误译的不可避免性。的确，我认为，凡是翻译，都有误译，即便理解正确，不恰当的表达也仍然存在。完全对等的翻译是不存在的。
他力求知诗真意，传其真意；知诗神韵，传其神韵。另外，他对许多诗词的理解很有新意。例如，“雎鸠”“蒹葭”到底为何物？他遍查资料，寻访专家，认真求证，呈现出自己独特的译文。他没有把“床前明月光”中的“床”译成"bed"，而是译为"around the well"，他是古今中外第一个如此处理的，是一创举。我认为，他对中国古诗词有着自己独到的理解，令人耳目一新。他的翻译是研究型翻译，并且很有说服力。
Translation is a transformation of one language into another, but not the simple substitution of language symbols.Instead, it is, in the end, cultural transformation.Translation is achieved through an analysis and deconstruction of the source language materials and the reorganization and construction of the content in the target language.In this way, an advanced integration of language and culture is produced.
In such an age when science and technology are highly developed, and artificial intelligence is increasingly perfected, the translation industry is being greatly challenged.Simple daily communications between people from different languages can be done through machine translation.Ordinary non-literary translation can be fulfilled with relative accuracy with the help of corpus, and general literary translation can be almost realized.
However, machines cannot translate classical poetry, since the language used in classical poetry is more condensed, and the vocabulary is more classical and elegant, as well as the fact that the meanings of words have been undergoing changes over time.Furthermore, profound emotions abound in poetry, so poetry is an emotional world, and in my opinion, it is also the highest realm of human life.
It is still debated whether poetry is translatable or untranslatable, and I believe the debate is really unnecessary.Poetry should be translated whether it is translatable or untranslatable.In fact, the translation of poetry has never stopped, and the quality of translation has become higher and higher.However, poetry translation is indeed difficult.Robert Frost once said that "poetry is what gets lost in translation." He has not only pointed out the difficulty of poetry translation, but also the fact that mistranslation is unavoidable.In fact, I believe, there are always mistranslations in translation of any kind.Even if a poem has been correctly understood, improper expressions still exist in translation.Absolute equivalence in translation is a castle in the air.
Poetry translation has been playing an important role in cultural construction.Chinese translation of foreign poetry, either into classical Chinese or modern Mandarin, has greatly and deeply influenced Chinese people at different times.The foreign poems translated are either encouraging or patriotic.They show us what love is about or sing highly of nature.This has enriched Chinese poetry.Meanwhile, foreign translations of Chinese poetry, whether translated by foreign scholars or Chinese translators, have all promoted foreigners' understanding of Chinese poetry culture, ethics, and social customs, and stimulated exchange between world cultures.
Translating Chinese poetry into English is an important way to spread Chinese culture, and it is also a vital means to introduce Chinese culture to the West and help other countries know more about China.Poetry is the essence of Chinese literature in history and it has carried the DNA of the Chinese culture and reflected the cultural spirit of the Chinese people, as well as the poets' sentiments and beliefs throughout Chinese history.
The Book of Songs includes folk songs of the Yellow River Basin, ceremonial or festive odes of the nobles and ritual hymns of sacrifice to praise ancestors.It reflects the social life of the Western and Eastern Zhou Dynasties within a period of about five hundred years.In the late years of the Warring Period, The Verse of the Chu, which originated in the Kingdom of Chu in the Yangtze River Basin, indicated that poetry writing had shifted from a collective product to an individual one.The Book of Songs and The Verse of the Chu are the two origins of Chinese poetry, and they together have established the tradition of the harmonious coexistence of realism and romanticism in classical Chinese poetry.
During the Western and Eastern Han Dynasties, Music-Bureau poetry achieved great success and blossomed.In the Wei and Jin Periods and the Southern and Northern Dynasties, Music-Bureau poetry continued to develop, thus becoming the embryo of the Tang poetry and the Song lyrics.
The Tang Dynasty was the golden age in the history of Chinese poetry and witnessed the prosperity of different schools and brilliant poets, who were at the peak of achievement in Chinese poetry writing.
Lyrics were the typical literature of the Song Dynasty.In the early Song Dynasty, lyrics were mainly about personal sadness or melancholy over parting.Su Shi broadened the scope of lyrics, elevated their artistic conception, enriched their expression and created the "School of Heroic Abandon." With Xin Qiji's appearance, lyrics reached their apex in the realm of thought and spiritual outlook.This was unprecedented in the history of poetry.In the artistic expressions of lyrics, there were breakthroughs in poetry development.In the late Song Dynasty, lyrics became delicate and restrained again.Qin Guan's lyrics were soft, delicate and beautiful, while Li Qingzhao was a genius in word choice and refinement and was quite good at poetical sketches.At the end of the Song Dynasty, Wen Tianxiang's and some other poets'patriotic poems were the final splendor of poetry in the Song Dynasty.
The Yuan Dynasty was known for its dramatic songs.Yuan songs broadened the scope of poetry expression and very often, there was intertextuality between dramatic songs and poems in previous dynasties.Dramatic songs are free in form and lively in language.The use of everyday colloquial speech was common in dramatic songs and regional characteristics could be found in their language, thus being loved by both the literati and the common people.In their closeness to daily life, dramatic songs have brought a breath of fresh air to poetry writing.
The Ming and the Qing Dynasties were famous for novels.Except for Yang Shen, Gong Zizhen and Nalan Xingde, there were few influential poets during the two dynasties.Gong Zizhen's poems exposed the darkness of society and expressed his great ambition to serve the country, thus earning him the reputation of being "a first-class poet in three hundred years"(by Liu Yazi).
In modern and contemporary China, poets have come out in large numbers, but Mao Zedong was the only one who perfectly merged his personal aspirations with his love for the nation and country.Mao Zedong's poems are epics of Chinese revolution and construction, and have inherited traditional patriotism.They have striking characteristics of the times and reflect the spirit of the Chinese people and the original aspiration of the Communist Party of China.Mao Zedong's poems express his great revolutionary ideals and have become cultural symbols of the spirit of modern China.He was the poet whose poems enjoyed the most widespread publication with readers around the world.
For 3,000 years, in the long river of Chinese poetry, classic poems have been an impressive accumulation of Chinese spiritual aspiration and the rich soil for the growth and development of the Chinese people.Classic poems have been with Chinese people for generations and have nourished their national spirit.
The English translation of classic poems is an important part of spreading Chinese culture to foreign countries.There has been a long history of translating Chinese poetry into foreign languages.The translators have tried what they could to spread Chinese poetic culture to the world, and share or draw on all the achievements of world civilizations.It is their wish to make Chinese poetic culture part of world cultures.However, with the changing times and research done on poems, it is really necessary to retranslate them.Mr.Yin Shaodong's A Collection of Classic Chinese Poems and Lyrics is a little flower among those translation works.
I have formed close friendships with the foreign language circle in colleges and universities in Yunnan, particularly the School of Foreign Languages and Literature of Yunnan Normal University.I have been to Yunnan very often for classes, or lectures, or field studies, and have made friends with many learned and sincere scholars of different nationalities, one of whom is Mr.Yin Shaodong.I am very happy to meet a young scholar, an admirable talent in translation, who has a common interest with me.
Mr.Yin Shaodong is a speculative and creative scholar with a rigorous and inquiring mind.He has taken part in the project led by Professor Li Changyin,"Classics of Yunnan Ethnic Groups in English Translation." This project is part of "The Thirteenth Five-Year Plan for Key National Publication Program." He has translated Gold Flute, an epic of the Hmong people, and his translation is faithful, expressive and smooth.In his translation, he has achieved the perfect integration of language communication and cultural transmission, and has thus made a contribution to the English translation of ethnic classics.
Mr.Yin Shaodong has selected and translated one hundred classic Chinese poems, which will be published.These poems are classics which have been popular and widely praised one generation after another among Chinese people.He tried to convey in English the images, artistic conception, the beauty of sound and form and the romantic charm of these classic Chinese poems.When translating the poems, he constantly strived for perfection and creativity in the formation of unique characteristics in the English translation of Chinese poems.
He has made every effort to know a poem's true meaning, convey its true meaning in English, know a poem's romantic charm and convey its romantic charm in English.Moreover, he has a new and fresh understanding of many poems.For instance, what really are "jujiu" and "jianjia"? He searched for materials, consulted experts, conducted serious research and finally presented his own unique translation to us.He did not translate "chuang" in Li Bai's "chuang qian ming yue guang" as "bed," instead, he used the phrase "around the well" to convey the meaning of "chuang." He is the first translator in the world to deal with the word in such a way.It is my idea that he has his own unique understanding of classical Chinese poetry.His translation is based on research and it is very persuasive and convincing.
Mr.Yin Shaodong's understanding, textual research and translation have provided us with another way to correctly understand these poems.I believe that the different ways he offered are very convincing.
Broadly speaking, his book has the following features:
1.It meets the requirements for international communication.In the context of globalization, it is China's national strategy to relate, in good ways, Chinese stories to the world.These Chinese stories should also be correctly told to introduce Chinese culture to foreign countries and help the world know more about China.The English translation of Chinese literature, particularly classical literature, is one of the most important parts of the strategy.English translation of classical Chinese poetry can help international readers further understand the long Chinese literary tradition and China's glorious literary achievement.In this way, they can have a more thorough and deeper understanding of Chinese culture.This will enable different civilizations to know and emulate each other and people from different countries will be closer to each other.
2.The poems selected are representative.The collection includes classic poems from the Pre-Qin Period to the modern times, with a time span of over 2,000 years.The works selected include poems from The Book of Songs, and The Verse of the Chu to Mao Zedong, covering each period of Chinese history and different styles.The majority of classic poems selected are from master poets like Li Bai, Du Fu, Su Shi, Xin Qiji, Li Qingzhao, Mao Zedong, as well as classic poems of other poets.Among the works selected, three poems, like a breath of fresh air, are well worth mentioning.
Firstly, Liu Yuxi's An Epigraph on the Simple House, according to traditional literary division, is neither a poem nor an article.It is an epigraph, so different from other literary styles.However, it should be pointed out that an epigraph makes use of rhymed verse, so it is not, in a strict sense, prose.From this point of view, the appearance of An Epigraph on The Simple House in a poetry collection, which is well-founded, will be a fresh reading experience for readers.
Secondly, Tune to "Riverside Daffodils"·Rolling, Rolling, the Yangtze River Flows Eastward, a lyric poem from Yang Shen, a Ming Dynasty writer, is in fact, the opening words of On the Qin and the Han Dynasties.This third part of the fiddle ballads Twenty One Dynasties is sung in Chinese southern dialects.Later, in the early Qing Dynasty, when Mao Zonggang and his father commented on the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, written by Luo Guanzhong, and published their version, they borrowed the lyric poem and put it at the beginning of the Romance of the Three Kingdoms.In the 1990s, it was used as the theme song of the TV series the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, so it has become widely known all over China.The translator can see what others cannot for the very fact that his selection is really unique.
Thirdly, the selection of the Anthem of National Southwestern Associated University, written by Luo Yong, is another example that makes the present collection so special.The lyric, written to the tune "Red Water Fern," is grave, elegant, and touching.The selection of this lyric poem has special significance, indicating the translator's respect for the glorious history of the National Southwestern Associated University and his pride in being a part of Yunnan Normal University.This collection excels similar ones because of the inclusion of these three poems.Mr.Yin Shaodong has blazed a trail in selecting classic Chinese poems for English translation.
3.The translation of the collection is of high quality.The one hundred classic Chinese poems in the collection are almost all rhymed, and their English translations are also almost rhymed.Each line of the English version is rhythmic, and the translator has tried hard to get the ending word in each line to rhyme, which makes his version beautifully musical with a captivating tune.Overall, his translation has reproduced each original poem's thematic content, form, characteristics and language style in terms of faithfulness, expressiveness, and elegance.Therefore, it can be seen as an important product of the English translation of Chinese poetry.Undoubtedly, the translation can never be as perfect as the translator wishes, since every reader has his/her own expectations.However, as long as the translator is correct in his understanding of the poems, it is understandable that there might be some flaws in his translation, which, I think, should be tolerated.
The present collection of the English translation of Chinese poetry is well worth paying attention to in the circle of the English translation of classical Chinese poetry whether in the West or in China, the publication of the book will greatly enrich readers'understanding of classic Chinese poems.The book will also provide some enlightenment to the English translation of Chinese poetry.
On the verge of its publication, it was expected of me by the translator's director in the School of Foreign Languages and Literature of Yunnan Normal University and the translator himself to read through the draft and write a foreword for the collection.Within a limited time, it is hard for this short piece to tell in detail the charm of Mr.Yin Shaodong's translation.The readers are expected to find them all by themselves.
This short piece of work serves as the foreword.
Li Zhengshuan Ph.D＆Professor
School of Foreign Studies of Hebei Normal University
Standing Vice Chairman and Secretary General of
Classics Translation Committee of CACSEC
6 June 2019