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在前天出版的经济学家杂志 The Economist 上发表了一篇介绍中国作家杨继绳写的一本书,引起了极大的反响。书名叫“墓碑”,2008年香港首发,如今第一次译成英文。该书揭示了1958年到1962年,在正常的气候年景,在没有战争、没有瘟疫的情况下,3600万人被活活饿死,还少出生了4000万人。中国古籍有易子而食的记载,而在1960年,父母吃亲生儿女、儿女吃父母的事情多有发生,人吃人的文字记载超过千起。饿死的3600万人是一个什么样的概念? 读了让人触目惊心,故将全文译成中文,希望有助诸位对照阅读理解。由于时间紧迫,故漏译,错译之处在所难免,还望大家多加包含并欢迎指正。

 我要声明的是本人翻译这篇文章没有任何政治倾向,只是单纯觉得作者的写作手法有力度,用词绝妙才介绍给大家,请不要误会!

China 中国 Millennialmadness 千年疯狂 A shocking Chinese account of Chairman Mao’s greatfamine 一个令人震惊的中国人讲述的毛主席时代的大饥荒

Oct 27th 2012 | from the printedition

20121027_BKP001_0.jpg Tombstone: The Great Chinese Famine1958-1962. By Yang Jisheng. Farrar, Strausand Giroux; 629 pages; $35. Buy fromAmazon.com

墓碑:由杨继撰写的1958-1962年发生在中国的大饥荒。由Farrar, Straus and Giroux;翻译,全书共629页可以从Amazon.com上订购 IN 1959 an 18-year-old student named Yang Jisheng was summoned home from his boarding school in central China by afriend who told him that his father was starving to death. Mr Yang returnedimmediately to his village, just in time to see his emaciated father before he died. The young idealist, already a member of the Communist Youth League,grieved deeply, but never thought to blame the government. “Compared with theadvent of the great communist society,” he writes, “what was my family’s pettymisfortune?” 1959年一名18岁的学生叫 杨继绳,由他的一个朋友把他位于中国中部他寄宿的学校喊了回来并告诉他说他的父亲因饥饿已经奄奄一息了。杨先生立即回到了他的家乡,算是赶上看到父亲临终前那骨瘦如柴的样子。这年轻的理想主义者当时已经是一名共青团员,他悲痛欲绝,可从来都没有想去责怪政府,他写道,“比起即将到来的伟大的共产主义社会,我们家的这点儿不幸又算得了什么呢?”

注解:summon 原意是召见,召回,在这里把它译成喊回来读起来会更像中文。

emaciate 是骨瘦如柴。牛津英语大辞典解释为:abnormally thin and weak.

For more than two decades, Mr Yang believed the official version of Mao Zedong’s disastrous economic experiment known as the Great Leap Forward, that it was caused by natural disasters. Even after he became a senior reporter for Xinhua, the official news agency, and learnt how the party manipulated and manufactured news, he remained a truebeliever. Only as China opened up in the 1980s did Mr Yang start to question what he had been told. The killing of demonstrators in Beijing in 1989 was arude awakening. “The blood of those young students cleansed my brain of all the lies I had accepted over the previous decades.” And so he set out to shake off the deception and shake up the system that he had spent his life supporting.

二十多年了,杨先生一直相信官方发布的有关毛泽东所引发的灾难性经济试验也就是著名的大跃进是由于自然灾害导致的。即便后来他成了一名新华社,官方新闻机构的高级记者并在即便了解了党是如何操控和制造新闻的前提下仍然对此坚信不移。只是随着中国80年代的改革开放才使杨先生开始对他所了解到的情况产生了质疑。1989年北京屠杀示威者事件才终于使他如梦方醒。他说:那些学生们的血洗刷了我的头脑,我明白了过去几十年我所接受的东西都是谎言。”为此,他下决心摆脱欺骗,摆脱他毕生支持的这个体制。 The result is “Tombstone”, a shocking account of what are known euphemistically in China as the Three Years of Economic Difficulty. Frank Dikotter’s excellent book on the same subject came out two years ago, but this is the first detailed analysis of the faminewritten by a Chinese author who lived through it. Published in Chinese in HongKong in 2008, the book is now coming out in English for the first time. Theoriginal 1,200 pages have been condensed, and are all the punchier for it.

结果就有了这本“墓碑”,非常委婉地对中国著名的三年自然灾害进行了阐述,内容触目惊心。Frank Dikotter两年前出版了一本同样题材的书,可这是第一本由一个地道的中国作家在亲身经历后写成的,对大饥荒分析得很详细。该书中文版2008年在香港出版,而这本书目前还是第一次发行英文版。原著总共1200页现在已经进行了压缩,整体上读起来会更有冲击力。

注解:在这里我故意没将Frank Dikotter译出来,因为现在很多外国人名字被翻译乱七八糟,与其让读者产生混乱,还不如就用原文会更清楚些。 The Great Leap Forward was the high point of ignorant Maoist folly. Chairman Mao said in 1957 that China could well overtake the industrial output of Britain within 15 years. People left thefields to build backyard furnaces in which pots and pans were melted down to produce steel. The end product was unusable. As farmers abandoned the land,their commune leaders reported hugely exaggerated grain output to show their ideological fervour. The state took its share on the basis of these inflated figures and villagers were left with little or nothing to eat. When they complained, they were labelled counter-revolutionary and punished severely. Asthe cadres feasted, the people starved. Mr Yang calculates that about 36m died as a result.

大跃进是荒谬绝伦的毛泽东主义的巅峰时期。毛主席在1957年曾经说过中国在15年内会完全超过英国工业产量。于是当时的人们就离开自己的土地都在自家后院建火炉将盆盆罐罐的全部扔进炉里大炼钢铁,结果出来的产品全是废品,没有任何使用价值。随着农民弃地,他们的公社领导们为了表现出对理想主义的狂热就无限夸大粮食产量。国家对这些夸大了数字照抄,而村民们却食不果腹。谁出来发牢骚,谁就会被打成反革命给予严厉的惩处。而干部们花天酒地,老百姓却饥肠辘辘。杨先生算了一下总共有3600万人因饥饿而死亡。

注解:这里有个词 folly 牛津英语大辞典是这样解释的 an ornamental building with no practical purpose, 而大家可能注意到了它既然是名词为什么我在翻译时却把它当作形容词处理了呢?把它译成了“荒谬绝伦的”。这就是中英文两种语言的不同了,最典型的还有中文在表达时一般用两个以上的动词,而在翻成英文时往往只保留一个动词, 而另外一个中文的动词往往被译成一个名词。

这里还有个词作者用的比较绝就是 overtake,看似没什么了不起的,可在表达超过。。。时,大多数学习英文人士都会自然想到 surpass 或 exceed、outnumber 等之类的词,很少会想到用 overtake,我感叹经济学家杂志的权威性,在我看来这本杂志的英文堪称是最难,最具权威的,值得我们认真学习研究。

After he retired, he used his contacts to gain access to restricted documents in archives all over China,claiming he was researching the history of grain policy. Some archivists wereaware of what he was doing, but chose to turn a blind eye.

他退休后,利用人脉获取接触到全中国档案中的被禁文件,他对外讲是为了研究粮食政策的相关历史,可那些档案管理员们心里明白他要做什么,都对他睁一只眼闭一只眼的。

He picked “Tombstone” as a title chiefly to honour his father, and also the millions who died. He jokes darkly that the book could end up being his own tombstone too. Yet, despite it being banned in mainland China, Mr Yang continues to live freely in Beijing, editing a reformist magazine.

他选用“墓碑”作为题目主要是为了敬仰他的父亲,且也是为了祭奠死去的上千万人。他忧郁地开玩笑讲这本书可能也会断送了他自己的墓碑。然而,尽管书在大陆被禁,杨先生依然继续他在北京的自由生活,为一本改革派杂志作编辑。

The system has not died either,though it still jealously guards its own interpretation of history. Mr Yang’s book is a blood-soaked case study of what happens when a regime with no checks and balances collides with an ignorant ideological fervour. Chinese schoolbooks, however, prefer to gloss over the period completely.

尽管体制本身会拼命地维护其对历史的自圆其说,但其本身并不会消亡。杨先生的书是揭示了一个不分青红皂白的体制同无知理想狂热相冲突的充分例证,字里行间沁透着鲜血。而中国的教科书却将这段时期全部掩盖了起来。

注解:在这里我把 blood-soaked 其实原来是过去分词用来修饰 case study 的,但如果直译就会让中国的读者读起来有种西洋中文的味道,拆开来翻译,会让读者印象更深,读起来更像地道的中文,所以我把它译成“字里行间沁透着鲜血” “Tombstone” is meticulous in itsresearch and exhaustive in the detail it accumulates for the reader: of villages strewn with corpses, of widespread cannibalism, and of the violencethat exploded as one man’s millennial vision was unleashed. It also stands as a warning to modern supporters of the one-party state, who praise the ability of an autocracy to get things done. Even if today’s policies are less harsh, MrYang shows, the possibility of unchecked brutality is ever present. Nowadays the Communist Party is not causing widespread famine. But the same kiss-up,kick-down hierarchy persists, where every official is slave to his immediate superior and a dictator to his subordinates. Targets of the one-child policy,for instance, must be met, regardless of the human toll and future danger.Conversely, the truth about big problems around the country, such as the environment or corruption or food safety, must be covered up.

墓碑” 这本书详细阐述和揭示给读者深层次的内涵:揭示了村里的尸横遍野,大规模的吃人行经以及随着人对千禧年展望的释放所爆发的暴力。这本书也表明现代支持一党专制认为要对独裁统治者赞美才能成事那些国家的人们敲响了警钟。杨先生表示虽说当今的政策不再那么严厉,但胡乱施暴的现象还是不断发生。如今共产党不会再 引发大规模的饥荒了,可这种狐假虎威狗仗人势的等级制度同样会持续下去,各级官员都对上峰唯命是从,而独裁者却奴役下属。一个最好的例子就是独生子女政 策,不管这个政策会对人口和未来产生多大的危害都必须要贯彻落实。相反,困扰着全中国的大问题如环境、腐败或食品安全问题则必须要掩盖。

注解:这里有个词组kiss-up,kick-down应该翻译成狐假虎威狗仗人势。

strewn with 是个过去分词短语表示遍地都是的意思,散落在。。。

How much longer can this last? Thegovernment’s monopoly on information once afforded it a monopoly on truth. But information now floods in, especially via the internet. Mr Yang’s book is partof a broader attempt at last in China to discuss the history of the 1950s and1960s. Chinese newspapers have begun publishing articles about the Great Leap Forward. Chinese microblogs have discussed openly what happened, though none as frankly as Mr Yang. History is slowly becoming a topic of discussion and anissue on which ordinary Chinese do not have to follow official propaganda slavishly. During recent anti-Japanese riots, a surprising number of people went against decades of government propaganda to complain about the crudity and stupidity of the protests. If the party can no longer control the past, who knows if it can still control the future?

这种独裁统治还会持续多久呢?政府对信息的垄断实际上要付出的代价是对真理的垄断。可如今是信息涌入的时代,特别是通过互联网。杨先生的这本书为最终在中国讨论5060年 代的那段历史开辟了更广阔前景起到了作用。中国的很多报纸都在发表文章披露有关大跃进的情况。中国的微博尽管没有杨先生那么直白但也已公开讨论那个时期发 生的一切。历史慢慢地成为人们讨论的话题,而且问题是普通的中国人不再跟着官方宣传的屁股后面百受奴役了。在最近发生的反日骚乱期间,有一个相当令人震惊 的群体反对政府几十年的宣传从而抱怨举行抗议的粗鲁和愚蠢行经。如果这个党都不能再控制过去,谁会知道是否它仍然能控制未来呢?

作者背景介绍:

杨继绳1958年到1962年,在正常的气候年景,在没有战争、没有瘟疫的情况下,3600万人被活活饿死,还少出生了4000万人。中国古籍有易子而食的记载,而在1960年,父母吃亲生儿女、儿女吃父母的事情多有发生,人吃人的文字记载超过千起。饿死的3600万人是一个什么样的概念?

这个数字相当于194589日投向长崎的原子弹杀死人数的450倍。即大饥荒相当于向中国投下了450枚原子弹。这是投向日本两颗原子弹中较大的一颗。

这个数字相当于1976728日唐山大地震死亡人数的150倍。大饥荒相当于发生了150次唐山大地震。

这个数字超过了第一次世界大战的死亡数字。大饥荒的惨烈程度远远超过了第二次世界大战。第二次世界大战死亡四千万到五千万之间。这四五千万人是在欧洲、亚洲、非洲广袤的土地上、七八年间发生的。中国这3600万人是在三四年间死亡的,多数地区死人是在半年之内集中发生的。

这么惨烈的事件,不仅是中国几千年少有的大事,也是人类历史上少有的大事。而这么重大的历史事件,至今还被人为地掩盖。在当时及以后的几十年中,中国的一切书刊、报纸,一切官方文件,都极力回避和掩盖这一大规模的人类悲剧。各级干部对饿死人的事也是三缄其口。在事件发生20多年以后,一些外国学者和旅居在国外的华人,才开始对这场空前的悲剧作了一些介绍和研究。这些研究是很有价值的。但是,由于研究者远离中国本土,又无法看到中国档案馆里的内部资料,阅读他们这些研究成果,总是给人一种隔靴搔痒的感觉。

面对大饥荒造成的严重后果,刘少奇曾对毛泽东说:饿死这么多人,历史要写上你我的,人相食,要上书的!可是,大饥荒已经过去快五十年了,在中国国内还没有这样一本书。

作为一名职业记者,作为研究中国当代史的学者,如果回避这样重大的事件,就对不起自己的良心,对不起3600万饥魂,当然也对不起我从事的职业。何况我的父亲也是在这场饥荒中饿死的,我怎能昧着良心对这样的重大历史事件视而不见?

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