《道德经·第二章》英译

  第二章 天下皆知美之为美,斯恶已;皆知善之为善,斯不善已。故有无相生,难易相成,长短相形,高下相 […]

 

第二章

天下皆知美之为美,斯恶已;皆知善之为善,斯不善已。故有无相生,难易相成,长短相形,高下相倾,音声相和,前后相随。是以圣人处无为之事,行不言之教,万物作焉而不辞,生而不有,为而不恃,功成而弗居。夫唯弗居,是以不去。

(106字)

版本一(Arthur Waley)

It is because everyone under Heaven recognizes beauty as beauty,

that the idea of ugliness exists.

And equally if everyone recognized virtue as virtue,

this would merely create fresh conceptions of wickedness.

For truly 'Being and Not-being grow out of one another;

Difficult and easy complete one another.

Long and short test one another;

High and low determine one another.

Pitch and mode give harmony to one another.

Front and back give sequence to one another'.

Therefore [1] the Sage relies on actionless activity,

Carries on wordless teaching,

But the myriad creatures are worked upon by him;

he does not disown them. He rears them,

but does not lay claim to them,

Controls them, but does not lean upon them,

Achieves his aim, but does not call attention [2] to what he does;

And for the very reason that he does not call attention to what he does.

He is not ejected from fruition of what he has done.

(159 words)

[1] Because 'action' can only make one thing high at the expense of making something else low, etc.

[2] Literally, 'does not place (i.e.classify) himself as a victor'. cf. MenciusⅡ, Ⅰ;

版本二(James Legge)

All in the world know the beauty of the beautiful, and in doing

this they have (the idea of) what ugliness is; they all know the skill of the skilful, and in doing this they have (the idea of) what the want of skill is.

So it is that existence and non-existence give birth the one to

(the idea of) the other; that difficulty and ease produce the one (the idea of) the other; that length and shortness fashion out the one the figure of the other; that (the ideas of) height and lowness arise from the contrast of the one with the other; that the musical notes and

tones become harmonious through the relation of one with another; and that being before and behind give the idea of one following another. Therefore the sage manages affairs without doing anything, and conveys his instructions without the use of speech.

All things spring up, and there is not one which declines to show itself; they grow, and there is no claim made for their ownership; they go through their processes, and there is no expectation (of a reward for the results). The work is accomplished, and there is no resting in it (as an achievement).

The work is done, but how no one can see; 'Tis this that makes the power not cease to be.

(224 words)

 

版本三(许渊冲)

If all men in the world know what is fair,
then it is unfair.
If all men know what is good,
then it is not good.
For "to be" and "not be" co-exist,
There cannot be one without the other:
without "difficult", there cannot be "easy";
without "long", there cannot be "short";
without "high", there cannot be "low";
without sound, there can be no voice;
without "before", there cannot be "after";
The contrary complement each other.
Therefore the sage does everything without interference,
teaches everyone without persuasion,
and lets everything begin uninitiated
and grow unpossessed.
Everything is done without being his deed,
and succeeds without being his success.
Only when success belongs to nobody
does it belong to everyone.

(119 words)

版本四(赵彦春)

All the world know beauty is beauty, because of ugliness,

All know goodness is goodness, because of non-goodness.

What is real and what is void generate each other

What is difficult and what is easy beget each other

What is long and what is short contrast each other

What is high and what is low complement each other

What is sound and what is voice attune each other

What is front and what is rear follow each other

This is what is eternal.

Therefore the sages leave things as they are

They teach without inculcation, let things arise instead of raising them

They work without deliberation, achieve but not credit themselves

Just because they do not credit themselves, they have nothing to lose

《道德经》第二章体现了马克思辩证唯物二元互斥的思想,美丑、善恶、有无、难易、长短、高下、音声、先后等词语两两相对,同时又对立统一,在一定条件下可以相互转化。我们都知道,一千个读者就有一千个哈姆雷特,《道德经》语言极其精炼,但寓意深刻。“横看成岭侧成峰”,正是《道德经》的精妙,才引古今中外读者进行不断地解读。在翻译这段文字时,我们不能将它译得过死,即译文只从一个角度解读,这样将导致它的价值大大流失,从长远看,译文不能长久流传,为人称颂,只有文本承载的内涵多,价值才高。

为此,我筛选出4位大家译作。Arthur Waley 将前两句中术语的概念关系解读为相辅相成;James Legge只是进行了解释性的翻译,没有展现出原文的高度凝练。许译对第一句的翻译是不对的,原文表达的是美与不美、善与不善都不是孤立存在的;赵译则再现了这种二元对立的关系。许译中对“夫唯弗居,是以弗去”的理解是也存在问题,本句意为正由于不居功,就无所谓失去。因此所谓翻译,首先是理解原文,然后才是表达,如果理解都不到位,何谈翻译。因此,在翻译之前,应该进行多方面的考证,力求深刻理解原文的内涵。

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