标题

标题

内容

广东作家网 > 专题 > 文学翻译和全球化

文学翻译和全球化

更新时间:2018-11-11 作者:伊奥格斯·乔利亚斯 (希腊)来源:广东作家网

在文学作品中,词语须按正确的顺序排列,所以文学创作不能超出特定语言所产生的界限和自由。在此背景下,翻译被当作任何语言的一个维度。

全球化与语言及其翻译的出现同时发生,尽管我们能够而且应该把作为一种历史趋势的全球化与被不同时期的孤立或平行发展打断的不同人类群体和社会的产生区分开来。全球化被视为第二次世界大战结束时出现的暂时现象及其政治和经济后果,而现在全球化受到了包括支持英国脱欧的公民投票和唐纳德·特朗普当选美国总统等事件的挑战。

反对全球化最初是由左派推动的,现在基本上已经转移到了政治谱系的另一边 —— 因为这两方的定义是由法国大革命期间代表在国民议会中的席位所决定的,对其影响作出判断或许还为时过早,明智地说,无论如何,全球化促进了欧盟的融合。这些成果我们必须记在心上,尤其是希腊,它与外国游客和投资的相互作用,以及和中国的互动与其对全球化积极影响的支持不谋而合。

作家身处家庭、语言和其他社区、国家之中,作家根据创作题材需克服不利因素的这种需求来展示他们的个性,这就变成了我所说的一种“必要的自恋”,当这种自恋如果不能通过自我讽刺缓解,那么就会失控。

作家们想象他们独自“拥有”他们写作的语言,的确,他们必须使它们成为自己的语言。事实上,作家生来就有一种先于他们母亲的语言,或者采用一种第二语言作为“继母语言”进行写作(例如,约瑟夫·康拉德或弗拉基米尔·纳博科夫用英语写作或塞缪尔·贝克特用法语写作)。没有任何一个作家不朽到发明一种语言,同时也没有任何的人类文学用一种人类不能阅读的语言创作出来。作家可能会自闭,但语言不会。野心和金钱的原因使作者希望将他们的作品翻译成其他语言。然而,他们必要的自恋加剧了将他们的作品翻译成其他语言的难度。

没有翻译,我们只能阅读用我们所熟知的语言写的内容。没有翻译就没有世界文学。在一个饱受巴别塔综合征折磨和恩典的世界里,在某种程度上,一种语言的梦想变成了灭绝的语言与文化的梦魇。这超越了在用移动电话彼此交流和物联网时代以自我忏悔模式狭隘地认为的交流或表达问题的范畴。

尤其是那些来自古代文化和文明的人——在某种意义上,正如雪莱所宣称的,我们都是希腊人,或者正如我所补充的,我们都是中国人,——也许应该培养对这些情况的更敏锐的感知力,即使他们被当前在全球传播的发明和实践所迷惑。在这方面,人们也必须慷慨地对古代文化进行创造性的误读(比如,像庞德对中国文字的误读,或者像约翰·温克尔曼等希腊先驱的误读)。

即使在非文学环境中,语言文本和语境之间的翻译也绝非易事,最近英国政府希望避开欧盟的翻译人员,要求其他人将脱欧白皮书翻译成22种语言。当最初的翻译被张贴时,引发了愤怒。不仅有奇怪的行话,而且甚至“德语”一词在德语中也被拼写错了,还有其他一些语言的名字写错。尽管如此,值得一提的是,作家们可能会为这一事件鼓掌,根据博尔赫斯的说法,在文学领域中,原文从来就不是真的。

在翻译中发现还是迷失?目前的经验是在一种通用语言,即各种不同语言条件下出现的典型例子中展开,英语就是今天的通用语言,汉语可能成为将来的通用语言,希腊时代的通用语言就是希腊语。

在机器翻译中是发现还是迷失?为什么不让机器创作文学?将机器作品与人的作品区分开是否可能?当前,我认为可以,哪怕它过于复杂很难用语言来解释实际过程。

上个月希腊作家协会在雅典举办了一个主题为“为什么读书”的专题研讨会,这个城市被联合国教科文组织指定为“世界图书之都”。研讨会的主题是“为什么读书”或者说作者和书籍在未来扮演的角色,我的重点只是强调翻译在阅读三角中的重要性,阅读三角指的是作者、书籍和读者。没有作者就没有书籍,没有书籍就没有读者,没有读者,就没有一切。

词语可以像丝绸,句子像披肩,段落像衣服,文学是我们赤身裸体走向世界的一种穿衣方式。

Literature Translation Globalizaton

Yiorgos Chouliaras(Greece)

To the extent literature involves the right words in the right order, literary writing cannot be conceived outside the confines and freedoms generated by a particular language and its inheritance in a multi-lingual world. In this context, translation is implicated as a dimension of any language.

Globalization coincides thereby with the emergence of languages and their translations, even though we can and should distinguish between globalization as a historical tendency from the beginning of distinct human groups and societies, interrupted by periods of isolation or parallel development, and globalization conceived as a contemporary phenomenon growing on the conclusion of World War II and its political and economic after-effects, now being contested by developments including the referendum in favor of Brexit and the election of U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Opposition to globalization, initially fueled from the left, has now mostly migrated to the other side of the political spectrum – as these two sides were defined by how delegates sat in national assembly during the French Revolution, the impact of which it may be too early to judge, it has wisely been said – aggravating, among other things, the integration of the European Union. These are developments we must keep in mind, especially since Greece, given its interaction with foreign visitors and investments, and China, where I am honored to be a guest, coincide in their support for the positive effects of globalization.

Engulfed in families, linguistic and other communities, nations and the world, writers project their individuality in proportion to a need to carry on their projects against unfavorable odds. This becomes a kind of “necessary narcissism,” as I call it, which can get out of hand whenever unmitigated by self-sarcasm. 

Writers imagine that they exclusively “own” the language in which they write and indeed they must make it their own, if they wish to write as well as they can. In fact, writers are born in a language that preceded them as their mother did or adopt as a step-mother a language in which they write (for instance, Joseph Conrad or Vladimir Nabokov writing in English or Samuel Beckett writing in French). No writer is yet immortal enough to invent a language, while no human literature has yet been written in a language no one else could read. Authors may be autistic; language is not. The fact that language involves a community of more than one speaker makes translation inherent in language.Ambition and pecuniary reasons make authors wish to see their work translated into other languages. Yet, their necessary narcissism fuels a resistance to any translation of their work into words they have not written. 

Without translation we can only read what has been written in the language(s) we know. Without translation there is no world literature, as the Portuguese Nobel laureate José Saramago has succinctly said. Language remains provincial as it can only extend to the imaginary borders of a linguistic community, no matter how large it is. Translation remains seemingly impossible, while doable by definition, in a world afflicted and graced by a Babel syndrome, to the extent dreams of a single language turn into nightmares of extinct languages and cultures. This goes beyond issues of communication or expression narrowly perceived in a self-confessional mode in an age of mobile phones interacting with each other and an internet of things.

Especially those who come from ancient cultures and civilizations – and in a sense we are all Greek, as Shelley claimed, or Chinese, as I may add – should perhaps cultivate a greater sensibility to these conditions, even if enamored by current inventions and practices as they spread in a globalizing environment. In this respect, one must also be generous toward creative misreading of ancient cultures (for example, by Ezra Pound regarding Chinese letters or by a pioneering Hellenist like Johann Winckelmann).

 Translation between language texts and contexts is never easy even in non-literary circumstances, as recently demonstrated, when the British government, wishing to avoid European Union translators, asked others to transfer its Brexit white paper into 22 languages. There was a howl when initial translations were posted. There was not only bizarre jargon, but even “German” was misspelled in German as well as the names of some other languages. It is fair to add, nevertheless, that literary authors may applaud this incident, as it confirms the place of bureaucratic writing in the realm of literature, where the original is never true to its translation, according to Borges.

Found or lost in translation? Current experiences unfold in the context of exemplary instances that emerged in conditions of a varying lingua franca, a common language -- as English is today, as Chinese may become in the future, as Greek was in Hellenistic times, a period of intense globalization in the past. That was the time of the Septuagint or Greek Old Testament, the earliest extant translation of scriptures from Hebrew into Greek “by Seventy” (even if 72) scholars, at the request, according to the traditional story, of a Greek king of Egypt for the benefit of Alexandrian Jews who were fluent in Greek, though not in Hebrew.

Found or lost in machine translation? Why not have machines write literature? Will it then be possible to tell the difference? At the moment, I suppose yes, in a practical way, even if it is too complicated to account for the process in words. 

Coming here from a symposium -- held last month in Athens by the Hellenic Authors’ Society, while the city is designated by UNESCO World Book Capital -- on the theme of “Why Read?” or the role of writers and books in the future, I can only insist on the significance of translation in strengthening a triangle of reading, which consists of writers, without whom there are no books, of books, without which there are no readers, and of readers, without whom there is nothing.

Words can be like silk; sentences like shawls; paragraphs like garments. Literature is a way to dress oneself as we step out naked into the world.