中式英语:不要拈花惹草


为了保护公园里的红花绿草,经常会有一些提示牌树立在醒目位置,提醒游览者不要“拈花惹草”。比如在三亚分界洲岛就有这样一块牌子,上面中文是:红花绿草 请勿打扰,英文翻译则是:Do not disturb green grasses and red flowers。

这是典型的直译。有专家给出了参考意见:Please protect the flora. The use of ‘disturb’ is more common with animals or people, less so with plants because it is still debatable if they have feelings. Next, it is assumed that grass is green, so I wouldn’t write this. Also, if the flowers are red does it mean we can pick or destroy other flowers that may be yellow or white? A clearer sign would state, “Please protect the flora” as this includes both grass and flowers – whatever color, and also means no walking on or picking of. Note my addition of please. ‘Do not’ is more heavy handed and often has the opposite effect enticing people to do the very thing you do not wish them to do. [来源:中国日报]

专家说不要使用“Do Not”这种生硬语气,因为这样做往往会适得其反。这点本人完全同意,所以凡事客气一点,谦虚一点,结果则好一点。而且“Disturb”一般用在有感情的动物或者人身上,比如以前的一篇日志里提到的酒店门牌“请勿打扰-Do Not Disturb“。

我们注意到Please protect the flora的翻译固然是很准确的,但是一点都没有体现出中文的押韵和优美来。我们现在就来看看另一篇中英文和谐的不要“拈花惹草”。

chinglish-Please keep off the grass
富有诗意的中文提示牌



“小草默默含羞笑,过往游客莫打扰。”这么富有诗意的地方,如果还有人拈花惹草的话,那简直是天理难容了。可惜英文的翻译依然平平谈谈:Please keep off the grass-请不要接近小草。

有人提出了这样的翻译:

We are tiny, we are shy.
Step on us and we will die.

We are tiny, we are shy.
Without trampling you pass by.

第二种是基于第一种改进的,本人认为共同的优点都是押韵,因而带着美感,与中文标语的意境产生了共鸣。不过就本人所见,国外的标牌也都是直白式的,很少有这么诗情画意的。也许这也体现了我们中国文化与外国文化的不同吧。不过有一点特别遗憾的是,中国的公园或者旅游景点等,尽管树立着各种各样的提示牌,但总有游客不吃这一套,胡作非为,践踏草地,采摘花木。因此也就出现了重庆“断子绝孙”标语牌



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