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Translation at Word Level 词语的翻译






?词的广义与狭义 ?词的政治含义 ?基本词义

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For a translator, the first thing is to decide the proper meaning of the words in the specific context.

“Each word when used in a new context is a new word.” ----- Faith

One word usually has various parts of speech and various meanings. Polysemy (一词多义)

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甲:“这不过是点小意思。请您帮个忙!真不好意思!您就收下吧!这不是 我的意思,我们经理说先‘意思意思’……” It's really awkard to ask you for a favor. It is just a little gift for you. Please do take it. It was not me but our manager who insisted that we should send a gift as a token of our appreciation first. 乙:“咱们公事公办,不要这个‘意思意思’。” It ’s an official business. Please take it back. 甲:“够意思!不过,我的意思您还得收下,您别不好意思!” It’s so kind of you! But I insist that you should take it. Don't be embarrassed.” 乙:“我明白你的意思,您这“意思”跟“意思意思”还不是一个意思。” I see what you mean, but isn’t this YISI(to ask for a favor or show one‘s meaning for a special purpose by giving a gift)the same as YISIYISI? 甲:您真有意思!” How humorous you are!

Choice and Extension of Word Meaning
1.1 Based on its Part of Speech 1.2 Based on Word Collocation 1.3 Based on the Context * Positive or Derogatory Sense * Stylistic Sense

Parts of speech
? ? ? ? Barking dogs do not bite. 吠犬不咬人。 He was dogged by financial trouble. 他为财政困难所困扰。

P 58-59

1. Based on its Part of Speech (根据词性确定词义)
1) 2) 3) 4) 5) Like Wheat, oat, and the like are cereals. 小麦,燕麦等等都是谷类。(n.) You look like you’d seen a ghost. 你那副神情好像见了鬼了。(conj.) Keith and I, we were so close, like brothers. 我和凯斯亲密无间,情同手足。(prep.) Banana doesn’t like me. 香蕉不适合我的口味。(v.) Like enough, the merchant ship will arrive in port today. 商船很可能于今天抵港。(adv.) Like causes produce like results. 相似的原因导致相似的结果。(adj.)


1) Aluminum is a light metal. 铝是一种轻金属。(adj.) 2) Traffic on the road was extremely light during the night. 夜里路上来往的车辆极为稀少。(adj.) 3) Light the candle to see what happened inside. 点亮蜡烛看看里面发生了什么。(v.) 4) A soft light came into her eyes as she looked at him. 她望着他, 眼中闪露出柔情. (n.) 5) Recent research has cast new light on the causes of the disease. 最近的研究对该病的病因作了进一步的诠释. (n.)

2. Based on Word Collocation (根据词的搭配 习惯确定词义) …who is a good Christian, a good parent, a good child, a good wife or a good husband; who actually does have a disconsolate family to mourn his loss;… -- (W. M. Thackeray, Vanity Fair )
…… 真的是虔诚的教徒,慈爱的父母,孝顺的儿 女,贤良的妻子,尽职的丈夫,他们家里的人也的 确哀思绵绵的追悼他们。 ……(杨必 译)

a) 动宾搭配
to make a dress 做衣服 to make the bed 铺床 to make a living 谋生 to make a speech 发表演讲 to make a wish 许愿 to make trouble 惹麻烦 to make a will 立遗嘱 to make a mistake 犯错误

to hold a meeting 开会 to hold a position 坚守阵地/ 坚定立场 to hold one’s promise 信守诺言 to hold power 掌权 to hold one’s attention 吸引某人注意 to hold one’s breath 屏住呼吸 to hold a pipe between the teeth 嘴里叼着烟斗 to hold a leading post 担任领导职位

b) 形容词和名词搭配 broken
broken promise 背弃的诺言
broken money 零钱

broken spirit 消沉的意志
broken English 蹩脚的英语

broken sleep 断断续续的睡眠
broken heart 肝肠寸断

broken sunshine 时隐时现的阳光
broken home 支离破碎的家庭

Heavy – 你知道这有多“重”?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Heavy applause Heavy sleep Heavy gait Heavy smoker Heavy sea Heavy eater Heavy food Heavy news Heavy reader
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? 热烈的掌声 熟睡 沉重的步伐 烟瘾大的人 波涛汹涌的海面 食量大的人 油腻而难消化的食物 悲痛的消息 沉闷冗长的读物

1) He lives in a shabby room. 他住在一间陋室里。 2) An old man in shabby clothes came to the door. 一位衣衫褴褛的老人来到门前。 3) This is a shabby excuse. 这是不正当的藉口。 4) It's a shabby behavior to speak ill of others behind their backs. 在背后讲人坏话很卑鄙。 5) Customers get such shabby treatment in this restaurant that they never want to come again. 这家饭店如此怠慢客人,没人会愿意再度光顾了。

3. Based on the Context (根据词的使用场合确定 词义)
? 词本无义,义随文生。 ? 文(?)context

E.g. balanced information 全面的消息 balanced :平衡的→包括正反两方面→全面的(消息) (即不会“报喜不报忧”)
词的翻译的基本方法 : 掌握根义,根据上下文和逻辑关系对 词义进行引申。(根义+上下文=译法)

1. The general’s estimate of Hitler was coldblooded and honest. cold-blooded:冷血的→不带感情色彩的→非主观 的→客观的(评价) 将军对希特勒的评价是客观的,可信的。 2. His spoken English isn’t good enough because of lack of exposure. exposure:暴露→直接接触(与英语)→英语环 境 由于缺乏英语环境,他英语口语不太好。

1) The base of the company is in New York, but its branches are all over the world. 该公司总部设在纽约,但它的分公司却遍布世界各地。 2) Our warship returned to the base before dark. 黄昏前我们的战舰回到了基地。


She used her family's history as a base for her novel. 她把她一家人的经历作为她小说的蓝本. 4) Put some moisturizer on as a base before applying your make-up. 化妆前先用点润肤霜打底. 5) Line AB is the base of the triangle ABC. 线段AB是三角形ABC的底。


即使是在同一个句子里,同一个词,有时也要分 别不同情况来译: 1) They were friendly to me and my opinion. 他们当时对我是友好的,也支持我的看法。

2) He has tremendous creativity and enthusiasm. 他极富创造性,满腔热情。
3) He once again imparted to us his great knowledge, experiences and wisdom. 我们又一次领略了他渊博的学识、丰富的阅历和 无穷的智慧。

? ? ? ? ? ? I had a hand in drafting the contract. 我参与了合同的起草。 We need three more hands. 我们还需要三个人。 He writes an extremely good hand. 他写得一手好字。

? ? ? ? ?

My watch has only two hands. 我的表只有两根指针。 He had a bad hand in the game. 他拿了一手烂牌。 Many young men asked for her hand when she was only sixteen. ? 她才16岁,就有许多年轻人向她求婚。

? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

1. That mistake has killed his chance. 那个错误使他失去了机会。 2. That red sofa kills the grey wall. 那张红色沙发破坏了这面灰墙的色调。 3. These flowers kill easily. 这些花很容易枯死。 4. He killed the motion from the committee. 委员会的这个提议被他否决了。 5. Your joke nearly killed me. 你的笑话真是笑死人。

Positive or Derogatory Sense of Words (词义 的褒贬)

? Compare these words and see how they differ from each other: plump, overweight, fatty slender, slim, underweight, skinny bachelor girl, single woman, spinster (old maid)


1) Smith went into politics in his early twenties. 史密斯二十多岁的时候就进军政坛了。(褒) 2) As for office politics, Lucy does not need any lessons. 至于办公室里明争暗斗那一套,露西可算是无师自通。 (贬) 3) Oxford is a school with an excellent reputation. 牛津大学是一所 享有盛誉的学校。 (褒) 4) During the Second World War, the aggressive Japanese soldiers won themselves a savage reputation. 二战期间,挑衅好斗的日军为自己招来了残暴成性 的恶名。(贬)

flatter 1) Donald was too obviously flattering the gentleman by saying he was the most courageous man he had ever seen. 唐纳德说,这位先生是他所见到的最有胆识的人, 这种阿谀奉承未免过于露骨。(贬) 2) You flattered me! 过奖了/惭愧,惭愧!(中)

3)She felt greatly flattered when she received the invitation to deliver a lecture. 她接到邀请,请她去做演讲,感到非常荣幸。(褒)

Stylistic Sense of Words (词的文体意义) ? 任何语言都有文体之分,有文雅、通俗、粗野; 还有俚语、公文语以及术语等。文学作品中,作 家通过不同的语体来刻画人物性格特征。 ? 翻译时,必须审其雅俗,量其轻重,这样才能恰 如其分地表达原文的精神。 ? 翻译时有三要素:态度的褒贬,语气的轻重和用 语的雅俗。


? Compare these words and see how they differ from each other:
Papa, daddy, dad, father, male parent, the old man juvenile teenager boys and girls guy and gal 爱人 内人 老婆 堂客 媳妇 娘子

书面 口语 古语词 现代词 普通

母亲 妈妈 殆 危险 给

诞辰 长尾巴 乘 坐 现在

清晨 早上 下文 下面 办法

逝世 死 木匠 木工 安排

散步 蹓达 厨子 厨师 私下

恐吓 吓唬 大夫 医生 这

普通 文学

飞 飞翔

心 心灵

静 寂静

光亮 晶莹

半夜 子夜

寂寞 寂寥

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Practice: 1)They chucked a stone at the cops and then did a bunk with the loot. 他们朝条子扔了块石头,然后就带着抢来 的钱溜了。 2)After casting a stone at the police, they absconded with the money. 他们向警察投掷石块,后携款潜逃。

1) “Daddy, Mummy, please buy a piggie for yourselves. When you have no more money, the piggie will open its tummy and give you money. ” “爸爸爸爸、妈妈妈妈,你们也买小猪存 钱罐存钱吧。你们没钱了,小猪就会把肚 肚里的钱掏出来给你们的。”

2) And then he (the priest) said: “I hope thou wilt remember to give thanks, my son, to Him who has given thee this treasure, and to pray for guidance in the future.” 他(神父)接着说,“孩子,希望你永铭于 心、感谢主恩,是主赐予你财富,祈求主 为你指引未来吧!”

Extending a Word’s Meaning
? There is a mixture of the tiger and the ape in the character of the imperialists. ? 帝国主义者既残暴又狡猾。 ? The car in front of me stalled and I missed the green. ? 我前头的那辆车停住了,我错过了绿灯。

? Extending a word’s meaning happens when… ? we can’t find any ready given meaning while translating a word. ? If we do mechanical translation word for word, then the version will most probably be ambiguous in meaning.
? So by “ extension”, we mean to create or get a new meaning derived from the original one, including meaning of a word, a phrase, or a sentence.

? 1. Abstract Extension ? a concrete thing → an abstract concept ? tiger → 残暴、凶猛;fox → 狡猾 ? 2. Concrete Extension ? an abstract concept → a concrete thing ? the green → 绿灯

Abstract Extension
? 1. We see that surface is covered with tiny “hills and valleys.” ? 我们看到,该表面布满了微小的凹凸不平 之处。 ? 2. I have no head for mathematics. ? 我没有数学方面的天赋。

Concrete Extension
? The Great Wall is a must for most foreign visitors to Beijing. ? 长城是任何一个外国游客必不可少的参观游 览项目。 ? Two years’ working is a must to the people who want to take up graduated examination. ? 对于参加研究生考试的人来说,两年的工龄 是必备条件。

I. Translate the following sentences, paying attention to the positive or derogatory sense of italic words.

1. Many people think that he is one of the most ambitious politicians of our times. 2. Although he is very young, he is very ambitious in his research. 3. They incited him to go into further investigation.

4. The plotters incited the soldiers to rise against their officers.
5. The enemy killed one of our comrades and we killed an enemy agent.


Translate the following sentences, paying attention to the stylistic sense of underlined words.
Henry was so tired, that he went to bed immediately after he got home. ? He felt fatigued and didn’t want to say a single word. He was dog-tired after the marathon.

1) 2) 3)

III. Please preview Chapter Two (Page 66-70).

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