Saturday, May 28, 2005

My brother's ordeal

      My phone rang. It was my brother.

      (We're chatting in Chinese.)
      “Guess what? I failed at opening a new bank account,” said he.
      “What's going on?” I asked him.
      “Did you see the Citizen Bank's new TV promotion? The $100 deal?”
      “Yes.”
      “Well, I went to one of their branches this morning. The person told me there were four conditions for getting this $100 deal. I understood the first two, but couldn't understand the next two. I asked again, he explained again. Then, he gave up. He said he tried twice and I still didn't get it. So, I left.” My brother kept saying, “ I didn't want to give up. Then I called their hotline and asked the person to speak slowly because of my bad experience at their local branch. Finally, I understood what's going on!”

      My brother continued his story. “Then I figured I should get a cell phone for my job, so I stopped at a Radio Shack on my way home. Gosh!” Then he said, “How quick!

      The last two words he said were actually a mix of Chinese and English. (Of course, we were speaking Chinese to each other. I just translate our conversations to English for this blog's sake.) I thought he meant the worker at Radio Shack set up my brother's new cell very quickly. Then, my brother continued, “He spoke very fast. I could hardly catch what he was saying!”

      In the end, my brother didn't get a new cell. We talked a bit more about which cell phone vendor gave a better deal and such. After that, we discussed a possible trip to Chinatown tomorrow. He really had a craving for “hot pot” at one restaurant over there. Sure, the idea sounds good because it has been so xxxxxxx cold for the past 2 weeks!!

Slap you with a big trout

(一篇舊文+updates)

     I was at the seafood department of a local supermarket. A lady before me was asking questions while I was looking at the prices and pondering what I should buy. It seemed she didn’t like the fish, so the clerk turned to me when he was done with her and asked me what I wanted.

     “I’ll have one pound of steel head trout fillet, please.”
     “One pound?”
     “Yes, one pound.”

     Suddenly, the lady who was about to leave said, “How do you like this trout? Is it any good?” I didn’t expect she would ask me this question because I was still in a deep thought of thinking if I had made the right decision on buying that fish. I was a bit startled, and words simply came out of my mouth, “uh... I don’t really know....”

     The truth is I am not a fish person. I don’t especially care for fish. If it weren’t because my gf asked me to buy fish, I wouldn’t even put it down on my shopping list. So, fish to me is “fish” -- I can’t really tell the big difference when I’m eating them.

     “I’ve never tried this kind of fish before..... just wondering if it’s any good,” the lady kept talking. I wish I could help her, but I simply had no clear memory of eating trout, heck, I wasn’t even sure what a trout (the meat portion) looked like. So I had a quick peek at the fish while the clerk was handling it, and saw its reddish flesh which resembled a lot like salmon. “Honestly, I couldn’t tell,” another series of words burst out of my mouth, even though I was thinking perhaps it also tasted like salmon (that I do have often) but I didn’t think it was a good answer.

     “You couldn’t tell.... well, next time. Maybe I’ll try it next time,” finally she turned and walked away after I responded, “Yeah....maybe next time...”

     Yeah, I know this has nothing to do with the “slapping” as indicated in the title (Sorry, folks). It’s just that seeing a trout (fillet) reminded me a banner phrase I often saw back in IRC days (IRC: a very popular chatroom program/protocol before world wide web was out).

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Update:
We bought a HUGE fillet of pinky fish last week. While we were eating it, my gf said the "salmon" tasted good, but after she took a peek of the label on the package, she said "Oh, it's steel head trout." Told you, I (and my gf) really can't tell.

當台灣人遇到松鼠

許多年前我哥第一次來美國展開他的"移民監"生涯。第一次嘛,於是我帶他去四處晃。

到了麻省理工學院的校園,我們走到了其中一處庭院,這 個時候,說時遲那時快我哥看到旁邊的樹上有隻松鼠,然後,我不敢相信我接下來看到的景象............

我哥他老兄慢慢的蹲下 來,用左手檢起了一個小石礫,迅速的左手交右手,整個右手背後移,對準了樹上的松鼠,準備拿石塊丟松鼠!!

"傑克!這真是太神奇了!" 當然,我不是這樣子吼他。

然後我哥有點悻悻然,面帶歉意,尷尬的笑著,把手裡的石頭丟了。

Passport

一般在這裡的政府機關或是民間機構辦事時,有時辦事員會用簡語來提出一些"requests",比如當他要看你的證件時會簡單講個"ID"。

上 星期二我去波士頓經貿協會辦理護照更新,本來辦事小姐要我在新的護照下來了之後去拿,但是我懶得"舟車勞頓"的再去一趟,於是我要求用寄的,然後辦事小姐 拿了這裡郵局的certified mail單子給我填。

只是我沒有想到我的新護照居然在上星期六就寄來了。其實我好像有聽到拍門聲音, 但是我沒料到是郵差,等到我察覺時郵差已經開車走掉了,所以我只好拿了郵差丟進來的"需要簽名"的單子等星期一時再到這區域的總局去領。

星 期一早上趕早去郵局領我的新護照。排隊的人不多,輪到我時我拿了我的證件和簽好名的單子給辦事員,他看了一下就走進去拿我的郵件。題外話,這些(老)辦事 員一般臉上沒什麼表情,也不是態度不好,只是沒什麼表情。等了一下子後我看到他從裡頭走出來,手裡拿了那種快遞用的厚紙大郵封,走到櫃台後他並沒有馬上拿 給我,然後他說"Passport".

我愣了一下沒聽清楚,他仍是面無表情的又說了一次"Passport"。這時我真的是very confused。他要看我的"護照"嗎?之前不是才看過我的證件(driver's license)?沒辦法我只好下意識的掏出我的皮夾子,倒不是要拿"護照",我只是想說到時能拿什麼就拿什麼,在這同時我又問了一次"My what?"

這辦事員看到我臉露大大的"問號表情"大概也猜到這是什麼情況了,於是他淡淡的說:"Passport. It looks like." 喔!我總算聽懂了,原來他的意思是他在猜郵件裡頭的是"護照",於是隨口說了句。只是,辦事員老兄啊(或是老伯:p),你直接把郵件給我不就得了,還在那 裡敲電腦螢幕,害我以為你在等我拿什麼給你。這時我接了句: "Yes, it's my passport."

在離開的路上我在想,這 大件信封又不是透明的,他怎麼知道是護照呢?我也只能猜說我的護照隔個著郵件"摸起來"的感覺和美國護照是一樣的吧。

美國ㄙㄨㄥˊ

十多年前爹娘第一次回台灣,那時注意到和媽出去買東西時,媽總是會先把價錢換算成美金然後再盤算是貴還是便宜。當時看在眼裡總有點不以為然。多年後我第一 次來美,要買東西時,我的習慣想當然爾是先換算成台幣,然後在心理惦惦看是否太貴。在美國住了許多年,漸漸習慣美金價格,雖然有的時候還是會換算成台幣再 決定該不該買。

來美七年後第一次回台灣,我發現,我變得跟當年的媽一樣,買東西時居然會先換算成美金。這也罷了,另外我還發現我的台灣貨 物價值觀還是停留在剛離開台灣的時候。那時候的台灣,我吃頓飯不超過50塊,50塊以上的東西就覺得很貴。七年後台灣物價上揚,比較昂貴的商品店面也開得 滿街都是,想要吃東西,剛開始不大習慣,總覺得和當年的50塊未免也差得太多,幾頓飯下來,開始將價格換算成美金,天啊,好便宜啊!在美國的想吃頓飯,最 便宜的大概就是去速食店,如果想吃飽,至少要花五塊美金以上。五塊美金換算成台幣則是170塊,這可是可以吃相當好的一餐飯啊!在這之後,如果我看到吃的 東西價格在100塊以上心裡就不再犯嘀咕:)

Fire alert

     Roughly ten years ago, my brother came to Massachusetts for the first time. One night, he returned home and found himself locked out of the house because he didn't have the key. Worst of all, no one was home. It was winter and very cold out, so he collected some dry leaves at the door front and lit them up with his lighter. He thought he could get warmer this way. All of a sudden, out of nowhere some guy hollered “Hey! Put out the fire!” My brother certainly was shocked and extinguished the fire right away. He looked around and tried to locate where the voice was from, but he didn't see anything.

     Another time I was home alone and our next door neighbor showed up at the door telling me he saw smoke coming out of the small woods right behind our backyard. He said the guy living at the back saw it too and was about to call the fire department. “I pour a bucket of water on the spot and told him it's no big deal. Don't call the police,” my neighbor spoke with his not so good Chinese, “But, he insisted on calling and I tried very hard to convince him not to.” I was thinking, “Okay.... What's that to do with us?” Then he “warned” me, “Tell your father not to smoke there. You know, this is not Taiwan. Tell him not to bring the bad habits here.” This coming from an immigrant himself, I didn't quite like what I just heard. I told him, “We don't know who did this. I'll tell my father WHEN we are sure he is the one.” A few moments after our not so friendly conversation, a fire engine came. As it turned out, our neighbor living in the back called the fire department after all because smoke was still coming out of the spot.

     I told my father what happened when he came home. He argued that there were kids doing stuff in the woods all the time. “It must be one of them smoking there this morning and didn't quench the cigarette butt completely,” my father said. Little did I know, on many occasions, our next door neighbor saw my dad smoking in the woods too. But, that's another story.

《霸王別姬》譯成英文是什麼意思?????

這是關於這篇的:
http://www.english.com.tw/modules/news/article.php?storyid=2142

想了想還是寫在自己的blog裡頭好了。那篇文章根本是XXXXXXXXXX (自己填吧)。

只要有文化差異,只要有彼此不了解的地方,那麼這種「誤譯」永遠會存在,永遠都會有讓對方「哭笑不得」的翻譯,所以要探討這問題我可以了解,但是,也請用正確的例子,針對真正的問題所在。

什麼是「美國有一家報紙將它翻譯成」?他們是自己翻的,還是根本是採自「霸王別姬」這部電影的英文片名?這部電影是誰發行的?如果這英文片名真的那麼不適合,那麼那些主事的華人難道無力也無能左右這電影的片名嗎?

還有,這是「電影」喂。

台灣方面把電影"Matrix"翻成「駭客任務」,那麼是不是某個美國人也可以說「你們哪本英漢字典是把marix 翻譯成『駭客任務』的?這是不是很可笑?」

「電影」,那英文名稱是來自這電影,電影片名,有沒有懂?好啦,就算那「小老婆」甚麼的英文名字在這部電影之前就有了,就像我前頭說的,「那些主事的華人難道無力也無能左右這電影的片名嗎?」,等到這幾乎沒人知道的英文名稱透過這部電影在西方世界傳開,然後才在那裡說「美國有一家報紙將它翻譯成」,這是甚麼邏輯?

還有,「霸王別姬」,什麼是「姬」?虞姬是楚霸王的正室還是根本連個「室」都構不上?

誰又是「霸王」?如果不是華人都知道的典故那麼又如何能單用幾個字就讓外國人清楚了解體會?

對了,那些報導把"concubine"翻成「小老婆」,我的一位老美朋友卻是這樣子說的"Do you know what a concubine is? It's a whore." (註:現代的「一夫一妻制」也是源自歐美。)

至於那篇報導的其它政治軍事什麼的翻譯論點,我只有一句話說,「誰理你啊?」單單幾個翻譯名詞就可以左右政界軍界和學者對整個世局的觀點和分析?這也太誇張了吧?!