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比喻的艺术 – 译学馆
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比喻的艺术

The art of the metaphor - Jane Hirshfield

当我们说话时,有时说得很直接
When we talk, sometimeswe say things directly.
比如,我要去一趟商店,五分钟后回来。
“I’m going to the store,I’ll be back in five minutes.”
但有时我们却说得不那么直接
Other times though,we talk in a way
常常加入一些小的场景
that conjures up a small scene.
“下倾盆大雨了。”我们说,或者
“It’s raining cats anddogs out,” we say, or
我在期盼最终的结局(我在等另一只鞋子掉下来)
“I was waitingfor the other shoe to drop.”
隐喻是一种说话的方式
Metaphors are a wayto talk about one thing
把说的内容描述成其他东西
by describing something else.
这似乎有点多余,其实不然
That may seem roundabout, but it’s not.
看、听、品是我们认知的开始
Seeing and hearing and tastingare how we know anything first.
哲学家威廉姆·詹姆斯把新生儿的世界比喻为
The philosopher William Jamesdescribed the world of newborn infants
一个“嗡嗡作响又如鲜花繁盛的混沌”
as a “buzzing and blooming confusion.”
相较以蜜蜂和花朵作喻而言,简明扼要的表述有时显得苍白无力。
Abstract ideas are pale thingscompared to those first bees and blossoms.
隐喻就是用想象和场景来思考
Metaphors think withthe imagination and the senses.
红辣椒的辣味充满他们的嘴和思维
The hot chile peppers in themexplode in the mouth and the mind.
他们也非常准确。
They’re also precise.
我们不必停下来思考猫或狗的大小
We don’t really stop to think abouta raindrop the size of an actual cat or dog,
但是,一旦思考这个问题,我意识到我非常确定狗一定是小的
but as soon as I do, I realize thatI’m quite certain the dog has to be a small one —
可能是只可卡犬,或是达克斯猎狗,但绝不是只拉布拉多犬。
a cocker spaniel, or a dachshund –and not a golden lab
也不会是只健壮的纽芬兰犬。我觉得也可能是只小猎狗。
or Newfoundland.I think a beagle might be about right.
我们不能以平常的感觉来判断隐喻的真假。
A metaphor isn’t true or untruein any ordinary sense.
隐喻是一种艺术,而不是科学。不过我们仍可以感受它的合适与否。
Metaphors are art, not science,but they can still feel right or wrong.
一个不契合的隐喻会让人很不解。
A metaphor that isn’t goodleaves you confused.
你知道“感觉像个方形的轮子”是什么意思
You know what it meansto feel like a square wheel,
但是不会明白一头疲倦的鲸的意思。
but not what it’s liketo be tired as a whale.
隐喻常常会有些悖论。
There’s a paradox to metaphors.
它们常常表达一些不真实的事情
They almost always say thingsthat aren’t true.
假如你说“房间里有只大象”
If you say, “there’s an elephant in the room,”
并不是真的说屋里有想吃桌子上花生的大象
there isn’t an actual one,looking for the peanut dish on the table.
隐喻游荡在你的逻辑思维中,缠绕着你
Metaphors get under your skinby ghosting right past the logical mind.
另外,我们习惯思考时加一些图像
Plus, we’re used to thinking in images.
每晚我们都做一些不可能发生的梦
Every night we dream impossible things.
醒来的时候,那些思维方式依然存在
And when we wake up,that way of thinking’s still in us.
我们脱掉梦里的鞋子
We take off our dream shoes,
打开进入现实世界的开关
and button ourselves into our lives.
一些比喻含有“像”“如”这类词
Some metaphorsinclude the words “like” or “as.”
“甜如蜜”“像树一样强壮”
“Sweet as honey,” “strong as a tree.”
它们叫做明喻
Those are called similes.
明喻就是一种会和其他相近事物比较的隐喻
A simile is a metaphorthat admits it’s making a comparison.
明喻能引起你的思考
Similes tend to make you think.
隐喻会让你更直接地感受事物
Metaphors let you feel things directly.
比如说莎士比亚著名的隐喻
Take Shakespeare’s famous metaphor,
“整个世界是个大舞台。”如果我们说“世界像一个大舞台”,表现力就弱一些
“All the world’s a stage.””The world is like a stage” just seems thinner,
而且会比较无聊
and more boring.
隐喻也可以建立在动词上
Metaphors can also live in verbs.
艾米丽·迪金森有句诗的开头是“我看不到前路,天空被缝合了起来”
Emily Dickinson begins a poem,”I saw no way, the heavens were stitched,”
我们立刻就能理解那种感觉就像是天空是块被缝合起来的织布
and we know instantly what it would feel likeif the sky were a fabric sewn shut.
隐喻也可以用在形容词上
They can live in adjectives too.
我们用“静水深流(大智若愚)”形容某人
“Still waters run deep,” we say of someone
安静且有思想。这里的“深”
quiet and thoughtful.And the deep matters as much
和“水”一样重要
as the stillness and the water do.
最容易发现隐喻的地方就是诗歌了
One of the clearest placesto find good metaphors is in poems.
比如说18世纪日本诗人伊萨的这句俳句
Take this haiku by the 18th centuryJapanese poet Issa.
在一支顺水漂浮的树枝上,一只蟋蟀不停歌唱
“On a branch floating downriver,a cricket singing.”
看到隐喻最先要做的就是通过它的眼睛去看世界
The first way to meet a metaphoris just to see the world through its eyes:
这里就是:一只昆虫在河中漂浮的树枝上歌唱
An insect sings from a branch passingby in the middle of the river.
即使你也看到了这样的画面,一些你记忆中的
Even as you see that though,some part of you recognizes in the image
小人物的身影随世界与时代变迁而改变的画面就会被唤醒,
a small portrait of what it’s liketo live in this world of change and time,
人注定要幻灭,这个和蟋蟀是一样的
our human fate is to vanish,as surely as that small cricket will,
尽管如此,我们仍然生活、歌唱,行生命之乐
and still, we do what it does.We live, we sing.
有时一首诗就是一个隐喻
Sometimes a poemtakes a metaphor and extends it,
以多种方式将一个主题进行扩展
building on one idea in many ways.
在兰斯顿·休斯的诗作《母亲致儿子》的开头,
Here’s the beginning of Langston Hughes’famous poem “Mother to Son.”
“儿啊,我要告诉你。生活没有给予我水晶楼梯。
“Well, son, I’ll tell you.Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
只有大头钉和碎片,
It’s had tacks in it, and splinters,
还有磨破的木板,地板上也没有地毯。”
and boards torn up,and places with no carpet on the floor.”
兰斯顿·休斯运用了一个隐喻,他将
Langston Hughes is makinga metaphor that compares
艰苦的生活比喻成你比喻要居住的破破烂烂的房子。
a hard life to a wrecked houseyou still have to live in.
那些碎片和大头钉就像是真的
Those splinters and tacks feel real,
伤到了你的脚和你的心脏
they hurt your own feetand your own heart,
但是这位母亲是在形容她的生活
but the mother is describingher life here,
而不是她真正的房子。
not her actual house.
这些碎片包括了饥饿、寒冷、筋疲力尽的工作和贫穷。
And hunger, and cold exhausting workand poverty are what’s also inside those splinters.
隐喻并不总是描写人类的生活和感觉,
Metaphors aren’t always aboutour human lives and feelings.
芝加哥诗人卡尔·桑德博格写到:
The Chicago poet Carl Sandburg wrote
“雾气踏着小猫的步伐而来,坐在哪里眺望海港和其臂弯中寂静的城市,然后离去。”
“The fog comes on little cat feet. It sits looking over harborand city on silent haunches, and then moves on.”
这里的比喻很简单。
The comparison here is simple.
雾被形容成一只猫。
Fog is being described as a cat.
但是一个好的暗喻并不会造成迷惑,
But a good metaphor isn’t a puzzle,
或者一条通往神秘意义的小路。
or a way to convey hidden meanings,
它是你所感觉的、已知的一些不同的事物。
it’s a way to let you feeland know something differently.
没有人在听到这首诗后会忘记“雾气踏着小猫的步伐而来”
No one who’s heard this poem forgets it.
你看到了雾,并且那附近有一只灰色的小猫
You see fog, and there’sa small grey cat nearby.
隐喻赋予了单词表达出超出其本身意义的意义
Metaphors give words a wayto go beyond their own meaning.
他们就像门上的把手,是我们都知道的
They’re handles on the doorof what we can know,
且可以想象的
and of what we can imagine.
每一扇门都通往一个新的房间
Each door leads to some new house,
一些新的世界只有一个门把手可以打开
and some new worldthat only that one handle can open.
最令人惊讶的是
What’s amazing is this:
比起制作一个门把手,你可以创造一个世界。
By making a handle, you can make a world.

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