2006年07月10日

如何准确建立相关性模型是信息检索研究的一个难题,我想信这个问题永远没有圆满的答案。从互联网用户体验来说,这未必是件坏事,因为错误的检索结果有时会带给你一些意想不到的收获,作“世界真奇妙”状。今天的意外收获是一个英文版三国演义的网站(http://www.threekingdoms.com/)。更有趣的是这个还是注解版的,就好像“脂评红楼”一样,这是“洋话三国”。让我们在字里行间中体会一下外国人如何理解中国文化的吧。

随 便浏览一下。第一回“宴桃园豪杰三结义  斩黄巾英雄首立功”对应于"Three Heroes Swear Brotherhood In The Peach Garden; One Victory Shatters The Rebels In Battlegrounds."刚出场就被称"hero"了,窃以为不甚妥。第一回第一段八句话,英文整整四段,可见文言之简洁。第二十七回“美髯公千里 走单骑  汉寿侯五关斩六将”对应于“The Man Of Beautiful Beard Rides On A Solitary Journey; Guan Yu Slays Six Generals Through Five Passes.” 呵呵,漂亮的大胡子骑马踏上孤独的旅程,外国人头脑里是不是一幅又酷又帅的孤胆牛仔画面呢?

看看外国人怎么想的。诸葛亮舌战群儒前夜,鲁肃对孙权说诸葛亮来了,然后
权曰:“卧龙先生在此乎?
这句的评论如下:

  • 老 外甲说,诸葛亮怎么会这么有名呢? (I would really like to know how Zhuge Liang got his popularity prior to his big political successes — Is it documented anywhere in the historical books what he had done prior to his entrance to this novel, mid CH. 30s?)他还想翻历史书查考一下,看来还很较真。
  • 老外乙说,也许发了几篇牛文章吧,他那时还在学术界混呢。(Probably wrote a few essays type of thing. — He was in a school anyway.)
  • 老 外丙看来还是琢磨了一番的。他说, 孙权听他兄弟提过吧,别人或许也说过,而且诸葛亮刚红不久,刘备又捧他。当然了,写人人都认识他就显得比较拉风的样子。(Zhuge Liang’s reputation — At this point, Sun Quan’s probably been told about Liang by Zhuge Jin, and may also have heard rumours the same way others did. Plus, Zhuge Liang’s been making a name for himself fairly recently. Quan may have heard of Liu Bei’s recent exploits and the genius behind them. Plus, of course, it makes him look more impressive if everyone’s heard of him.)

不多写了,有兴趣自己看吧。这个网站的Introduction部分还有一个中国历史的英文教科书,可以看一下对历史事件评价的另一种论调。

还可以学学英语。想挑战自己的可以试试翻译《调寄临江仙》,网站上有一个英文诗的翻译。这个难度确实有点大,换个简单点的吧,就开篇第一句
  话说天下大势,分久必合,合久必分。
想想看,怎么翻才是“信达雅”?答案暂不揭晓,留到文末。

顺便来看看机器翻译的结果:

  • Google Translate (2006/07/09)的翻译: Saying to the world trend, we are hours long, with long will hours.
  • Yahoo! Babel Fish (2006/07/09)的翻译: The speech said the world situation, 分久必合, 合久必分.
  • Systran (2006/07/09)的翻译: The speech said the world situation, divides the long time to have to gather, gathers for a long time must divide.
  • 金山爱词霸(2006/07/09)的翻译: The words say world general situation, dividing long match necessarily, match long divide necessarily.

都 没把话说抻抖。矮子里挑长子,Systran略胜一筹,有点那个意思。Yahoo老老实实说不会,Google的理解已入歧途,国产爱糍粑一如既往地基本 按中文语序说英语。唉,(汉英)机器翻译何时才能理直气壮地走出实验室呀?今将四个翻译立此存照,希望若干年后的结果与此对比能带来些惊喜,:-)

好了,公布答案的时候到了: 
话说天下大势,分久必合,合久必分。
 ==》
The world under heaven, after a long period of division, tends to unite; after a long period of union, tends to divide.
(个人觉得这个翻译“信达”尤可,“雅”尚不足,不及原文简洁传神)。