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蒋子丹《女人四十》英译

2015-06-29    来源:网络    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

蒋子丹《女人四十》英译

女人四十

蒋子丹

我等待过十八岁。在做小姑娘跳橡皮筋的年纪,看着羊角小辫的太阳影子忽闪,心里已经塞满了有关十八岁的事情。诸如要留一条长辫子,长得能碰到脚后跟,要戴北京大学的校徽,按规定别在白衬衣左襟,还要爱上一个小伙子,云云。大约因为许多书中都写十八岁的姑娘甩着长辫子恋爱,所以引得小姑娘浮想联翩。那时候,十八岁是童话,是传说,是闪烁跳跃的光,是妩媚婀娜的影,是冬天的清晨悬在屋檐上噼啪作声的冰凌,是六月傍晚暮色渐深的天空里隐隐现现的星。

后来的一些事儿,书里没写过,世上却发生了。史无前例的“文革”一经开始就不见结束。我们学语录,学社论,学工,学农,念“Down with the USA Imperiolism! Down with Soviet Revisionism(打倒美帝!打倒苏修!)”的英文课本。年复一年,我始终没有留成长辫子,始终没有挂得上白底红字的校徽。等到“革命”结束那年,我郑重其事地庆祝了二十二岁生日,长辫子挂校徽的姑娘,在老远老远的前边冲我微笑过,然后不声不响从我身边走了过去。倘若她遗忘了我,那也是一种幸运。不幸的是我一直等待她,当她终于来了的时候,我又与她失之交臂。不知是由于这次等待的滋味太苦,还是由于后来的日子太匆忙,总之我再也没有像注视十八岁那样去注视任何一个年龄,直到有一天发现离四十岁只有两三个年头。

古圣贤说:三十而立,四十而不惑,五十而知天命。实际上只对男人而言。四十岁在男人意味着成熟。在女人意味着凋谢。倘若四十岁的女人不服老,那只好借助时装、首饰、化妆品、美容术以及貌似少女的顾盼再赋新辞强说愁,结果只可能换得同性们真心实意的冷眼与非议,异性们言不由衷的热情与赞赏。自己轻贱了自己,好不值得。

仿佛在重温小姑娘时的课程,远远望见四十岁的路标,心里便塞满了有关四十岁的事情。你该知道四十岁的女人衣要清爽妆要淡雅,你不要让活泼的大笑绽在多褶的脸上强加于人。对年轻的女孩,你要用宽厚来溶化其挑衅的锋芒,对年长的妇女,你须得收敛以维护其过敏的自尊。你最好别再东奔西跑道听途说穿针引线热情高涨忙得不可开交。当然你也别长吁短叹顾影自怜凄凄惨惨戚戚。你该做的事或许在于用沉思静写苦读充沛灵魂,在于用实干坚韧缜密对待工作。四十岁自有四十岁的天地,假如用外表的伶俐换得了内在的凝重,你肯定会认为这交易公平。

四十岁女人最危险的境界是爱情不泯。我的小说里有个人物说过:女人总爱把往事变成诗,尽管它实际上可能只是应用文或相声。我很欣赏这句话。将爱情诗化是少女的天职,至于中年女人,平凡者权且当它是应用文,睿智者不妨视它为相声。

我知道四十岁不会像十八岁那般诱人等待,但既然当它非要来临,不妨敞开大门迎接。

译文:

Women at Forty

I had waited for the dawn eighteen. When I was a little girl, skipping rope, seeing the shadow of my pony tails dancing in the sunlight, my mind was full of illusions about eighteen. Like I would grow long braids, so long that it would reach my heels; I would pin the badge of Beijing University on the left front of my white shirt, just as the school regulations required. And I would fall in love with a young man. The girlish imagination largely came from books, where there is always an eighteen-year-old sporting long braids who is in love, and it would fire the imagination of little girls. At the time eighteen was a fairy tale, a legend, a light shimmering and dancing, a shadow charming and graceful. It is crackling ice hanging under the eaves in a winter morning, or stars shimmering in the sky in the gathering dusk of June.

What happened aren’t written in books, but it happened in real life. The unprecedented “Cultural Revolution,” once started, seemed to have no ending. We learned quotations of Chairman Man, we studied editorials, we learned manual work from workers and peasants. Our English textbooks were full of slogans like “Down with US Imperialism! Down with Soviet Revisionism!” Year after year, I was not able to grow long braids. Nor was I able to pin a college badge with red characters against a white background. When the “Cultural Revolution” finally ended, I seriously celebrated my twenty-second birthday. The girl with long braids and a college badge had smiled at me from afar, and then soundlessly passed me by. If she had forgotten me, it could have been a kind of luck. Unfortunately, I was always waiting for her, and missing her when she finally arrived. It may be because the waiting had been too painful, or because the time after that had been so busy, I haven’t noticed my age as I had waited for eighteen, until one day I found myself two or three years away from forty.

The ancient saying that “at thirty one is established,” “at forty one is free from doubts,” “at fifty one knows one’s destiny” were all meant for men. Forty means maturity for men and decline for women. A woman of forty who won’t accept her age has to rely on clothes, jewelry, cosmetics and act young, putting on airs to reclaim the lost years, only to be rewarded by sincere contempt and ridicule from her own sex and insincere interest and praise from the opposite sex. It’s not worth it, to cheapen oneself thus.

With the signpost of forty within sight, my thoughts are filled with expectations of forty, as if reliving my childhood experience. I remind myself that a woman of forty should dress down and wear light make-up; that she should not let an unrestrained guffaw ruffle the wrinkles in her face, and force the sight on others. Towards the young, she should display tolerance to blunt the edge of their challenge; to the old. She must exercise restraint to save their sensitive ego from being hurt. It is inappropriate for her to bustle about, spread rumors, or act as go-between or get very enthusiastic or very busy over anything. On the other hand, she should not droop in self-pity, and sigh at the sight her mind by thinking, reading and writing, or to work in a down-to-earth manner with persistence and an eye for detail.

Women at forty have a world of their own. They will take it as a fair deal to swap a delicate appearance for an inner depth.
The most dangerous mental state for woman at forty is to be constantly in love. I very much agree with what a character in my novel once said—that women tend to think of the past as poetry, while it is only practical prose, or even comic cross-talk. To romanticize love is the bounden duty of a young girl. As for the middle-aged, the mediocre can just treat it as practical prose, while the wise might take it as cross-talk.

I know forty won’t be as enticing an age to wait for as eighteen, but if it is bound to arrive, I might as well be ready to embrace it.

(宫倩 译)



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