Thursday, June 07, 2007

Letter to the editor

Reader Yongcheng Li from St. Augustine, Florida sent me his thoughts on the translation of an Anthony Hopkins classic

"The silence of the lambs" is a 1988 novel by Thomas Harris and also a 1991 academy award-winning film directed by Jonathan Demme. The Chinese translation of the title has always been 沉默的羔羊 (meaning the silent lambs).

I have never seen any "silent lamb" either in the movie or in the novel. What I saw were only bleating lambs. The movie was about overcoming of Starling's phychological trouble she had since her childhood of the poor lambs, and herself. At the end of the movie, Starling was startled when she received a phone call from Lecter. He asked her if the lambs had stopped screaming, and promised her that he will not come after her, and that he expected the same courtesy.

The actual meaning of "the silence of the lambs" is "making the screaming lambs silent". It is definitely not "the silent lambs". The title could better, in fact, be translated to 哀叫的羔羊 (the bleating lambs).

What do you say?

18Comments:

At 1:46 PM, Anonymous nia wrote ...

hello, I think this novel should be translated into "沉默羔羊":)that means “使羔羊沉默”

 
At 4:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

I don't agree with you, for example a film named "Gone With the Wind".
I think "飘" and "乱世佳人" is better than "随风而去".

"直译"有时候不如"意译",有些作家写了小说,起的书名根本和全书内容无关。

 
At 5:45 AM, Anonymous Yangqing wrote ...

Hello olr,
I think that we can make a little trick here, just reverse the order "沉默的羔羊(the silent lamb)" to "羔羊的沉默(the lamb's silence)" will be grammatically correct...
However I watched the movie when I was too young to know the inherent philosophy of the film (and also the abstruse English, at least I considered then:)). So I wonder if this translation can reflect the actual meaning of the film or not. Just for reference.

 
At 7:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

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great site, keep going.

we are more on the side of JAPLISH ! Here, we have ENGRISH !

Gruesse aus Japan

Daruma San
. DARUMA Museum, Japan .

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At 3:55 PM, Anonymous Charles.Xia wrote ...

看来这篇文章,不禁让我想起了《水浒传》的一系列搞笑译名:

1、《一百零五个男人和三个女人的故事》

2、《All Men Are Brothers: Blood of the Leopard》——四海之内皆兄弟:豹子的血

3、美国女作家赛珍珠翻译《水浒》七十一回本,取名为《四海之内皆兄弟》

4、《OUTLAWS IN THE MARSH》——沼泽地里的逃犯

 
At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

“哀叫的羔羊”太难听了,土冒到让人受不了。我就喜欢"沉默的羔羊"这个名字!怎么啦难道谁能勉强我改变我。
建议作者也少发点牢骚,当个沉默的羔羊!呵呵。
你们老外要是把中文翻译成英语之类的语言,估计更加破绽百出!

 
At 3:20 PM, Anonymous chu wrote ...

well,羔羊的沉默 would be very good. just as 生命中不能承受之轻 and 不能承受的生命之轻.
Chinese like things to sound good, 沉默的羔羊 does sound good...

 
At 7:09 PM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Thanks, everybody, for your very diversified comments insofar.

我很喜欢对最近帖子的看法这么多样化。。。加油!

 
At 9:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

“沉默的羔羊” (1)在语法上是错误的翻译,与原作者要表达的意义正好相反,是译界大忌。信,达,雅;信为首。(2)不切提。很好听,但未能传达任何与内容有关的信息。当你看完译制的中文电影,你会疑问,为何此电影的名字是“沉默的羔羊”?

“飘”和“随风而去“ 是同义,但更兼达,雅。

“沉默的羔羊” 与 "The silence of the lambs" 根本达不上边儿。是误译。

 
At 8:35 AM, Blogger Si wrote ...

嗯, 同意楼上的, 分析的很专业.
但我好像没看过这个电影, 即使看过也忘了 :p
要做好翻译真的很难,
纪韶融, 谢谢你给我们这个空间,
去发现更多中文和英文的差异 ^_^

 
At 2:22 PM, Anonymous mouse wrote ...

这个“误译”跟其他的不同。这是一个美丽的错误。
沉默这个词原本是人类的专属。“沉默的羔羊”给人深邃的感觉,跟电影的气氛非常吻合;加上这个电影名声在外,更让人充满好奇,不由自己地要去看。
“哀叫的羔羊”或者“让羔羊沉默”没有这种效果,将减少电影的魅力。

 
At 5:06 PM, Blogger The Cat Realm wrote ...

Interesting site. We live in a town with Spanglish, and our maid speaks Denglish once in a while.
Humans are funny!
Karl and Anastasia

 
At 12:09 AM, Anonymous K.G.-Bielefeld wrote ...

Eine interessante Seite. Durch den Artikel im Spiegel bin in hier gelandet.
Also, weiter so und viel spaß dabei.

 
At 1:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous wrote ...

让我们一起回顾一下故事的情节:惯传始终,女主人公悲惨的童年和心灵上的创伤,使她对幼时见过的那可怜待宰的,凄叫的羔羊们有着深深的同情。每当那创伤受到碰撞,那羔羊的哀鸣就会在她耳边响起。那挥之不去的哀鸣声贯穿整部电映(小说)。如何弥补那创伤,使她不再受那羔羊的哀叫声困扰是本影片的主体。

沉默的羔羊是译错了。

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous meg wrote ...

刚刚知道"沉mo的gao羊"原文书名
中文确实译错了
gao羊的沉mo
沉mo的gao羊

似乎后者更切题.

我觉得可能是译者有意为之,毕竟翻得出大篇的文章,这点小玩意他应该不会搞错,另外,不是还有编辑么?

译名与原名的差异,一定程度上也反映了中西方读者注意力的差异.作者想在书名里点出的是"静默",这个概念比较抽象,而中国读者希望得到具体一些的提示------中国的章回体小说里,每章都有个提点情节的题目,如"封神演义"第一章曰"纣王女娲宫进香"等.

至于"生命中不能承受之轻",确实不如"不能承受的生命之轻"准确,深刻......

哀叫的羔羊
实在是
很象A片的名字......寒,韩寒的寒.

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous Lego wrote ...

to translate an artwork is actually a re-creation(not 娱乐 here).
Tho it's not the author's original idea, 沉默的羔羊 make us feel something like "the silent marjority" or the "the silent victims", it's also related to the film. Personally, I can accept this translation.
PS:
老纪同志,you've done a great job here!

 
At 8:51 AM, Blogger olr — 纪韶融 wrote ...

Good point, Lego.

Thanks!

olr.

 
At 8:56 PM, Anonymous Madelia wrote ...

Great work.

 

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