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翻译学丛:学点英文谚语 了解西方文化(1)

文章来源:        内容作者:        发布时间:2011-10-20  
(1)A fool at forty is a fool indeed.
孔子云:四十而不惑。又云:年四十而见恶焉,其终也已。
(The person who at the age of forty still evokes the dislikes of others is a hopeless case.)
西谚谈 的也是这个意思,只不过换了一种说法:到了四 十岁还不懂得生活的人,就真的是一个愚人。
正如另一句西谚所说,Life begins at forty.由此看来,四十岁是不惑之年,是一个 人领悟生活真谛的开始,在这一点上,无论是 东方或是西方都有着共鸣。
e.g. John never lived up to the expectations of his family. Twenty years after college,
he has accomplished nothing. Which reminds us of the proverb. “A fool at forty is a fool indeed.”
(2) Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones.
这句话很有意思,字面意思为:住在玻 璃房子里的人不应该向他人扔石块。因为当 别人以同样的方式回击时,他就会损失惨重。孔子有相似的论断,但境界更高:“己所不欲,勿施于人”。在西方,《圣经》中也有类似的警句。
e.g. Washington likes to accuse other governments of violating
human rights. However, those who live in glass houses should not throw stones. Why not try, instead, to eliminate the numerous human rights violations in the United States?
(3) Old habits die hard.
这句谚 语说的是一个习惯问题。人们很 难克服自身的惯性,总是喜欢走老路,或按照 旧习惯去思考和行事,不管这 种习惯是好还是坏。这虽是人之常情,有时不免使人偏执,带来不利影响。如果要 找出一个相应的中文成语来匹配的话,那就是“江山易改,本性难移。”当然,中文这 个成语里有些许贬义,但英文 这句话本身的使用却不受褒贬的限制,有时还 可能有自嘲的意思。
e.g. A: Why, I’ve told Joe millions of times that he should leave his dirty shoes outside, but it seems he’s just turning a deaf ear to my advice!
B: Come on, calm down. Old habits die hard, you know.
(4) Everybody’s business is nobody’s business.
不知你 有否注意到这样一个现象:路中间有一块石头,经过的 人们宁可小心翼翼地绕过它,却不肯伸手将它挪开。这就是 人们的一种心理:既然是 大家共同的障碍,就总是 指望别人来将它排除。结果,明明是 一件关系大家的事,人们却互相推诿。一个和尚挑水吃,两个和尚还能抬水吃,而三个和尚却落得个“没水吃”不正是此意吗?
e.g. It is commonly said everybody’s business is nobody’s business. Just look at the graffiti on public buildings, and you’ll see that although nobody likes it, neither has anybody done anything to get rid of it.
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