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《论语》中关于“君子”和“小人”的翻译

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作为中国儒家思想的经典作品,《论语》所反映的孔子的思想不仅深深融入了整个中华民族,也影响了整个世界。自十六世纪以来,众多国内外学者都相继推出《论语》的英译本。由国外学者翻译的英译本,较为广泛流传的是理雅各和威利版本,国内翻译或节译过的学者有辜鸿铭、林语堂、丁往道等。

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《论语》中“君子”和“小人”出现的频率极高,因此准确解读“君子”和“小人”的内在含义,对《论语》的整体翻译尤为重要。在各种英译本中对“君子”一词有多种译法,比如“the gentleman”, “the scholar”,“the good man”,“the superior man”,“intelligentle man”等,对“小人”一词也有多种译法,如“common people”,“the inferior man”,“the small man”,“the unworthy man”等。本文将以不同译本为参考,探讨两个词语在不同语境下的含义极其译法。

1
君子坦荡荡,小人长戚戚。

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威利译:The gentleman is calm and at ease; the Small Man is fretful and ill at ease.

丁往道译:The gentleman is open and at ease; the small man is full of worries and anxieties.

鲁金华译:The superior man is broad-minded and free of worries, while the inferior man is always heavy-hearted and sorrowful.

周仪译:A man of virtue is open-minded and always at ease; a man of meanness is full of distress at all times.

解析:四位译者的译文句式工整,用词简洁。此句表示君子心胸坦荡,思想坦率,其面容行为自然安定舒畅。而小人欲念丛生,心事满满,其外貌动作就会表现得忐忑不安,心神不宁。鲁金华译为“the superior man”和“the inferior man”强调的是君子和小人地位的差别,其他两位译者选用的“the gentleman”和“the small man”强调的仍是出身高贵与低贱的差异。周仪译为“a man of virtue”和“a man of meanness”较为接近原意,此句中“君子”和“小人”的主要区别在于个人的德识修养上。

2
子曰:“君子不重,则不威;学则不固。”

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理雅各译:The master said, “If the scholar be not grave, he will not call forth any veneration, and his learning will not be solid.”

辜鸿铭译:Confucius remarked, “A wise man who is not serious will not inspire respect; what he learns will not remain permanent.”

威利译:“If a gentleman is frivolous, he will lose the respect of his inferiors and lack firm ground upon which to build up his education.”

许渊冲译:An intelligentle man, said the Master, should not be frivolous, or he would lack solemnity in his behavior and solidity in his learning.

解析:原文的意思是君子应以虔诚笃诚之心,严肃庄重之态来学习和待人。本句中的“君子”偏重学识抱负方面,因此理雅各译为“the scholar”较为准确传达原文的意思。而辜鸿铭译为“a wise man”范围过于空泛。威利译为“gentleman”在此处并不十分合适,因为“gentleman”更侧重家境较好,受过良好教育,彬彬有礼的男士。而许渊冲更是别出心裁地创造了一个新词“intelligentle man”,将“intelligent”和“gentleman”合并在一起,充分发挥了译者的主观能动性。

3
子曰:“君子周而不比,小人比而不周。”

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理雅各译:The Master said, “The superior man is catholic and no partisan. The mean man is a partisan and not catholic.”

辜鸿铭译:Confucius remarked, “A wise man is impartial, not neutral. A fool is neutral but not impartial.

丁往道译:Confucius said, “The gentleman unites and does not plot with others; the small man plots and does not unite with others.”

解析:“小人”在《论语》中主要有两种意思,一是平民百姓,二是道德低下,见识简陋的人。显然,此处的小人指后者。三位译者的对“小人”的译法都不相同,辜鸿铭译为 “a fool”,理雅各为“mean man”,丁往道为“small man”,相比而言后两种译文更贴切原文传达的意思,表现出小人卑鄙自私,心胸狭隘的特点。另外对“周”的翻译也不同,分别为“catholic”, “impartial”,“unite”都较好地反映了本意。不过“catholic”源于“宗教”一词,更符合西方读者的思维。

4
子曰:“君子怀德,小人怀土;君子怀刑,小人怀惠。”

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理雅各译:The Master said, “The superior man thinks of virtue; the small man thinks of comfort. The superior man thinks of the sanctions of law; the small man thinks of favors which he may receive.”

辜鸿铭译:Confucius remarked, “A wise man regards the moral worth of a man; a fool only his position. A wise man expects justice; a fool, only expects favours.”

丁往道译:Confucius said, “The gentleman bears in mind virtues; the small man his homeland. The gentleman bears in mind the law; the small man favours.”

解析:本句再次对比“君子”和“小人”不同的人生境界。君子心系天下,胸怀远大,道德高尚。而小人思乡恋土,计较恩惠,考虑个人生计。但此处的“小人”虽不及君子品行高尚,但表现出来的也无功无过,只是普通百姓的想法和行为罢了。所以,此处若还将“小人”翻译为“a fool”,“small man”语气不免太重了,可译为“ordinary man”或“common people”。

译无定法,每位译者和读者都有自己的理解和偏好。本文的目的只是想借名家译文,说明“君子”和“小人”蕴含的意义是多层面的,不可一言概之。


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