Look set to 真正的意思為何?

閱讀文章時,經常會看到這個片語,但不少人卻不知其真正的意思 (因為不時有網友詢問這片語的意思)。”Look set to do something” 意為「很可能做某事」(likely to do something) 或「可能會做某事」(will probably do something),其中 set 為形容詞。

Mr. Chen looks set to be charged with corruption. (陳先生很可能被控貪污)
John looked set to miss the match because of injury. (約翰看來很可能因傷錯過比賽)

-based 的字怎麼翻譯呢?

英文中以 -based 做字尾所構成的字層出不窮、屢見不鮮,如 water-based, school-based 等等。如果單就 -based 本身來說,它的意思大概是「以…為基礎的」,但在與其他字結合後,如果你還以這意思來翻譯,大部分的情況都是不通的,如 water-based,如果譯為「以水為基礎的」,雖然大家都看得懂中文,但並不一定瞭解其真正的意思;如果譯為「水性的」,相信大部分人都知道它所代表的意義,而且譯文也簡潔許多。又如 school-based,如果譯為「以學校為基礎的」,似乎沒有什麼不對,問題是這個字是教育領域的專門用語,意為「學校本位的」,如 school-based curriculum (學校本位的課程)。

因此,在意思不固定且牽涉諸多專門領域的情況下,這些以 -based 所構成的形容詞的翻譯只能「看事辦事」– 視情況而力求最正確的翻譯。但如果已知某個這樣的複合字是某領域的專門用語,那麼一定要以該領域最通用的翻譯為依據,否則即使譯得再好,該領域人士也是有看沒懂,難收功不唐捐之效。

最後再舉幾個以 -based 做字尾所構成的字及其中文意思來說明它們的翻譯是多麼地難以捉摸:task-based language learning and teaching (任務導向的語言學習和教學)、game-based learning (遊戲式學習)、resource-based view (資源方面的觀點;從資源角度來看)。

Approach, discuss 和 lack 這三個動詞有什麼關係呢?

老實說,這三個動詞一點關係也沒有,但它們有一共通點,那就是它們都是及物動詞,後面直接接受詞,不可以接介系詞再接受詞。英文中有許多這樣的動詞,這裡只是以這三個我們常見但經常用錯的動詞作代表。總之,當 approach, discuss 和 lack 做及物動詞用時,那麼 approach to + 受詞,discuss about + 受詞,lack of + 受詞的寫法都是錯的。例如:

Silently we approached the enemy’s camp. (正)
Silently we approached to the enemy’s camp. (誤)
(我們悄悄地逼近敵人的營地)
He’s approaching 70. (正)
He’s approaching to 70. (誤)
(他快70歲了)

She discussed her study plan with her mother. (正)
She discussed about her study plan with her mother. (誤)
(她和母親討論她的讀書計畫)
Mr. Wang refused to discuss the matter. (正)
Mr. Wang refused to discuss about the matter. (誤)
(王先生拒絕討論這件事)

He’s good at his job but he seems to lack confidence. (正)
He’s good at his job but he seems to lack of confidence. (誤)
(他善於工作,但似乎缺乏信心)
I don’t seem to lack anything. (正)
I don’t seem to lack of anything. (誤)
(我好像什麼都不缺)

然而,這三個動詞的名詞 approach, discussion 和 lack 則都必須先接介系詞再接受詞。例如:

I like her approach to the problem. (我喜歡她解決這問題的方法)

We had a discussion about our future plans last night. (我們昨晚討論了我們未來的計畫)

He cannot buy this watch because of his lack of money. (他因缺錢買不起這個手錶)

Compensate 或 compensate for 呢?

Compensate 可當及物和不及物動詞用。當及物動詞時意為「補償;賠償」,後面接被補償或賠償的人或事物當受詞,然後再接 for + 補償或賠償的原因;當不及物動詞時意為「彌補;抵銷」,後面先接介系詞 for 再接要彌補的事物。請看下面的例句:

We compensate workers for injuries suffered at their work. (我們對工人在工作中受傷給予補償)

Her intelligence more than compensates for her lack of experience. (以她的聰穎來彌補她的經驗不足是綽綽有餘的)

In the hope of, in the hopes of…

寫作時,一般對於「我希望」、「我們希望」等等都用 “I hope”, “we hope”來表達,換言之,一般都使用動詞的hope來表達「希望」的意思。然而,寫作忌諱重複,因此我們應盡量使用同義字或同義詞來表達相同的意思,以免同一個字一用再用,讓讀者心生厭煩或感到無趣。下面所列為與 “hope” 意思相當的一些片語,可以多加利用:

美式英語:
In hopes of + 名詞(片語)/動名詞(片語)
In the hopes of + 名詞(片語)/動名詞(片語)
In hopes that + 子句
In the hopes that + 子句
例如:We are in the hopes that he will succeed. (我們希望他會成功)

英式英語:
In the hope of + 名詞(片語)/動名詞(片語)
In the hope that + 子句
例如:I am in the hope of winning the game. (我希望贏得這項比賽)

由上可知,我們不能寫成 in hope of 或 in hope that。

Couchsurfing (沙發衝浪)

聯合報25日一篇有關 couchsurfing (沙發衝浪) 的報導,讓筆者原本要將這個不算太新的新字(neologism)收錄在「網路翻譯家」網站的計畫暫時打住了。不過,由於這篇報導,筆者正好借花獻佛將其轉載在本部落格,相信亦有異曲同工之妙:

沙發衝浪網站(www.couchsurfing.com)最早是由美國人Casey Fenton 於2003年4月設立,他在網站上宣言,沙發衝浪不只是旅行者的免費落腳地,更是一個串連世界文化的平台。讓旅行者不只是走馬看花,藉由沙發衝浪,更能認識當地人的生活文化。

沙發衝浪這個新名詞,最早的意思是客人來家裏借宿,沒床,就睡沙發吧!

在現在的沙發衝浪中,物質條件不一定那麼差,但是衝浪者還是要自備睡袋,畢竟到時接待你的可能是地板、或是沙發,不一定有客房那麼好。

旅行中最難省的就是住宿費,於是歐美近年流行「沙發衝浪」(couchsurfing)的旅遊方式,直接衝到你家客廳沙發,就像電影「戀愛沒有假期」中,女主角互相交換住處,可省下一大筆住宿費,又可體驗不同的生活環境。

現在,也有一個專屬台灣人沙發衝浪的網站開張,讓不習慣外國文化的國人,可以先透過住在世界各地的台灣人家中,體會沙發衝浪的樂趣。這個在ptt的沙發衝浪板網站比較像提供民宿,而非交換住處。目前有近百個在各國的台灣遊子提供「沙發」,已有不少旅行者透過這個平台安排旅行。

發起人陳炳宏曾有許多沙發衝浪經驗,但他說,外國人太熱情,邀你喝酒、party到深夜,或是話題沒有共鳴,反而壞了遊玩興致。ptt的Couchsurfing版就是讓正在世界各地旅居的台灣遊子,提供「沙發」(住處),互相幫助。

陳炳宏是政大科技管理所學生,現在義大利米蘭的SDA BOCCONI當交換學生。談起創版動機,陳炳宏說,去年同時有七個交換學生在歐洲,就算都衝浪完,也玩不完歐洲,所以在ptt上創立此版,收集更多沙發,打算一次玩個夠!

曾接待過念劍橋的女生,也到過瑞典、丹麥沙發衝浪,陳炳宏說,旅居當地的台灣人,因有共同話題,如大家愛用的網誌、或是適合台灣人口味的餐廳、過去學校的共同記憶等,很快熱絡起來。目前這個版只能做到提供資訊,也設有感謝文功能,類似國外網站的評等功能,讓好的主人、客人都累積信用。版主的目標是做到像國外發展成熟的沙發衝浪網一樣,還能有互相信用評等機制。

有沙發衝浪經驗的COP說,過去沙發衝浪的經驗都不錯,但接待者、被接待者主要都是外國人,總覺得還是有點不放心,畢竟還是不同生活文化的人,有了這個台灣人的平台後,以後要沙發衝浪,就有更多選擇,也更方便了。

As mentioned above 和 as mentioned previously 的不同

在寫論文、作文或其他文件時,經常會看到有人使用 as mentioned above (如上所述) 和 as mentioned previously (如前所述)。事實上,這兩個片語的用法不盡相同,as mentioned above 通常用來指前一、兩段中剛敘述的內容,或前幾個句子所提到的內容,我們也可使用 as just mentioned 來表達相同的意思。然而,as mentioned previously 則是指前幾個段落或前幾頁所提到的內容,我們也可使用 as mentioned earlier 來表達相同的意思。

至於形容詞用法 — 「上述的」或「前述的」,則可使用 above-mentioned, aforementioned 或 aforesaid 來表示。

錢伯斯辭典增加網路翻譯家所收錄的多個新字新詞

根據法新社 (AFP) 8月14日的一篇報導,最新版(11版)的「錢伯斯辭典」(Chambers Dictionary)已增加數百個新字新詞。筆者看完這篇報導後發現,其中多個新字新詞早已被「網路翻譯家」所收錄,並附有中文解釋,包括 carbon footprint (碳足跡)、electrosmog (電子煙霧)、wardrobe malfunction (衣著穿梆)、comfort food (以古法烹調,旨在引發思古幽情及懷舊的食物)。此外,像 credit crunch (信用緊縮)、Blu-ray (藍光 — 最新的DVD技術。注意Blu的拼字,沒有e)、quantum computer (量子電腦 — 使用量子力學quantum mechanics的電腦)等新字新詞,亦成為該字典的新詞條(new entries)。以下就是法新社的報導:

Credit crunch, carbon footprint and electrosmog squeezed into Chambers dictionary Thursday, reflecting the world’s belt-tightening and ecologically-worried times, its editor said.

More prosaically, “wardrobe malfunction,” “comfort food” and “nail bars” were also among a raft of new words and expressions included in the latest print edition of a lexicographical tome.

The war on terror has brought “blue-on-blue” — “accidental firing on one’s allies” — as well as “IED” (improvised explosive device) and “extraordinary rendition” into the Chambers-defined language.

But economic worries and climate change concerns generate a lot of new terms.

The global credit crunch, defined as “a sudden and drastic reduction in the availability of credit,” has helped tip long-booming Britain to the brink of recession in barely 12 months.

Homeowners facing falling property prices for the first time in a decade are also all too familiar with “Hips” — Home Information Pacs, a new officially-required document blamed with adding red tape and deterring buyers.

Hips in part aim to make houses more environmentally friendly — a trend also reflected in “carbon footprint” and “eco-village” — “a small-scale, environmentally friendly settlement designed for sustainable living.”

“Electrosmog” — electro-magnetic fields emitted by computers and mobile phones — also adds growing environmental threats in the modern world.

On the scientific front “Blu-ray” — as in the new DVD technology — and “quantum computer” (one which uses quantum mechanics) joined hundreds of new entries deemed worth of definition.

Meanwhile “Wags” — “a wife or girlfriend of a professional sportsman, especially one of group accompanying a travelling team” — received Chambers’ thumbs-up.

The dictionary also accepted “wardrobe malfunction” — “the temporary failure of an item of clothing to do its job in covering a part of the body that it would be advisable to keep covered” — as part of common language.

“The new words we added to this 11th edition of The Chambers Dictionary paint a vivid picture of current interests and concerns,” said its editor-in-chief Mary O’Neill.

500 odd, plus, or strong 哪一個比較多?

答案是:500 odd 和 500 plus 都比 500 strong 來得多。odd 和 plus 都意為「略多於…」(little more than),而 strong 意為「多達…;有…之多」。

  1. There were 500-odd people gathering in front of the presidential palace last night.
  2. There were 500-plus people gathering in front of the presidential palace last night.
  3. There were 500-strong people gathering in front of the presidential palace last night.

第 1 和第 2 句都是說昨晚聚集在總統府前面的民眾超過 500 人,而第 3 句則是說昨晚聚集在總統府前面的民眾有 500 人之多 - 可能低於 500 人,最多不超過 500 人。

英美人士對於數字經常打迷糊仗,尤其是新聞記者。當重大事件發生時,記者為求時效,再加上初期對確切人數尚未掌握,往往以 hundreds of… 或 thousands of… 等含糊不清的用語來表示數字。以 thousands of people 為例,一般人一定將之譯為「數千人」(「數千」應不超過一萬才對),這樣的翻譯並沒有錯也無可厚非。但問題來了,因為從 two thousand (兩千) 到 nine hundred thousand (90 萬)都是 thousands;如果最後證實該事件所涉及的人數,譬如說,多達 5 萬人,那麼數千人和 5 萬人相差豈可以道里計。

結婚的不同說法

一般大多只知道結婚或嫁娶的英文是 marry, get married 和 wed,其中最常用的是 get married,其次是 marry,而 marry 和 wed 都可當及物和不及物動詞用。例如:

My son’s getting married next week. (我兒子下週要結婚)
He didn’t marry until he was forty. (他直到四十歲才結婚)
They wed (or wedded) in the spring. (他們在春天結了婚)
He married/wed Mary last year. (他去年和瑪麗結婚)

然而,除上述外,英文至少還有 5 個片語跟 marry 和 get married 同義。它們是 get hitched, get spliced, tie the knot, take the plunge 和 walk down the aisle,其中除 get hitched 為俚語 (slang) 外,餘者均為非正式用語(informal);這 5 個片語中以 get hitched 和 tie the knot 或 walk down the aisle 比較常見。它們的例句請參閱字典。

最後值得一提的是,若 get married 和 be married 要接受詞時,則必須先接介系詞 “to” 再接受詞。例如:Michael got married to Jane last month. (麥可上個月和珍結婚);Amy will be married to a wealthy old man next month. (艾美下個月將嫁給一位富有的老頭)。所以,當你看到下面的句子時,千萬別以為邦妮跟一位男生結婚,否則就貽笑大方了:

Bonnie got married with a boy. 這句話的意思是「邦妮已婚,有個兒子」。可別以為介系詞 with 都意為「和…」,這裡的 with 表示「伴隨」的意思。如果將這句改成下句,那就不會引起誤會了:

Bonnie got married with a child. 或
Bonnie got married with a son.