曾焯文致歐盟公開信:感謝歐盟重視香港文化

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曾焯文致歐盟公開信:感謝歐盟重視香港文化

歐洲聯盟駐香港及澳門辦事處主任
彭家傑先生鈞鑒,敬啟者:感激
貴處面書專頁,以廣東話及英文雙語貼文,尤其是本月二十四日,悼念迷你倉大火殉職之兩位香港消防員,可見本土運動興起後,
貴處獨具慧眼,知悉香港不單係國際金融中心,亦係有別於中共之文化實體。

香港文化層次豐富,廣東口語生動活潑;書面唐文優雅大方。查華夏三千年來,言文一向分離,通用書面唐文,常有機結合文言、口語及白話文,正如《金瓶梅》有機結合文言、山東話同白話文,《紅樓夢》有機結合文言、北京話同白話文。(英殖時代,香港公文咸用淺白雅順文言;議會記照、法庭傳媒等公開場合所用口語,必為粵語同英文。兩者俱中國大陸所無,相信志在區隔港中。)弔唁等莊嚴外交場合,則宜純用文言,試改寫歐盟悼辭如下:

哀啟者,淘大火災,兩位消防公僕,英勇殉職,聞者猶悲,親友同袍,能不涕零,尚祈節哀,幸勿過慟。香港消防諸公,殫精盡瘁,吾等銘感,千秋景仰。歐盟駐港澳辦公室同仁鞠躬

悼辭即使要用粵語,亦不宜直譯。事關唐文係唐文,英文係英文,代表兩種不同的語言文化系統,表達方式不同。(唐人唁慰,毋須講明正在唁慰。)漢洋有別,翻譯並非影印;見字譯字,再將白話文的虛字化做粵語,似乎有改善餘地。

試作活潑粵語口語版如下:

淘大工業村大火,兩位消防員,英勇殉職,其等〔俗寫佢地〕的[音di1,俗寫啲]親友同事,至緊要節哀順變。多謝香港消防,博命救火,憂公忘私。歐盟駐港澳辦事處謹啟
總之,香港承繼華夏正統(幾乎已在當代中國消失),融合西洋,形成獨立文化地位,正如歐盟眾成員國各有現代特色,同時源出古希臘羅馬文明;又如西班牙之巴塞隆納城邦自治,用加泰隆文,有別於馬德里。

專此奉達,敬候
鈞安

香港翻譯家曾焯文(博士)謹啟

夏曆丙申年五月二十三日
西元二零一六年六月二十七日

 

Date: 28th June, 2016
Mr. Vincent Piket,
Head of Office,
European Union Office to Hong Kong and Macao

Gratitude for EU Recognition of Hong Kong Culture
Dear Sir,

As a Hong Kong scholar, I am writing to express my sincere gratitude to your Office for posting statuses on your Facebook wall in both Cantonese and English, especially the condolences you sent on 24 June to the family and friends of the two firemen who recently lost their lives. It shows that after the rise of the Localist Movement in Hong Kong, you have been able to recognize that Hong Kong is not only an international financial centre, but also a cultural entity different from China.

Hong Kong culture has quite a few strata, oral Hong Kong Cantonese being lively and vivid, the written Hong Kong Chinese language elegant and graceful. For three thousand years, written Chinese and oral Chinese have always been different from each other. Common and decent written Chinese often combines in an organic or synthetic way classical Chinese, spoken Chinese and vernacular written Chinese. For instance, The Golden Lotus synthesizes classical Chinese, Shandong language, and vernacular written Chinese; Dream of the Red Chamber synthesizes classical Chinese, Peking dialect, and vernacular written Chinese.

When Hong Kong was a British colony, Chinese official documents were always written in simple, fluent classical Chinese; spoken languages used on official occasions, like court trials, Legislative Council meetings, and press conferences, were definitely Cantonese and/or English. (Apparently, the purpose was to distinguish and segregate Hong Kong from China, where Putonghua was used as the spoken language, and vernacular Chinese as the written language.) For solemn occasions such as sending diplomatic condolences, pure classical Chinese was always used and is highly recommended. May I venture to suggest a translation of your condolences in simple classical Chinese as follows?
哀啟者,淘大火災,兩位消防公僕,英勇殉職,聞者猶悲,親友同袍,能不涕零,尚祈節哀,幸勿過慟。香港消防諸公,殫精盡瘁,吾等銘感,千秋景仰。歐盟駐港澳辦公室同仁鞠躬
Even when a statement of condolence has really to be delivered in Cantonese, it is inadvisable to literally translate it from English. For Chinese is Chinese and English is English. The two representing two different linguistic systems, two different cultures, their ways of expression are certainly to be different. For instance, in Orthodox Chinese culture, it is unnecessary to explicitly say you are sending condolences when you are doing so. According to the renowned translation theorist, André Lefevere (1992), “translation is rewriting” rather than photocopying. With respect, your current approach of rigidly following the original sentence structure and simply replacing functional words of vernacular written Chinese with their Cantonese counterparts seems to have a lot of room for improvement.
Below please find my own vivid Cantonese translation of your statement of condolence:
淘大工業村大火,兩位消防員,英勇殉職,其等〔俗寫佢地〕的[音di1,俗寫啲]親友同事,至緊要節哀順變。多謝香港消防,博命救火,憂公忘私。歐盟駐港澳辦事處謹啟
To conclude, Hong Kong is the direct heir of orthodox or traditional Chinese culture (which, alas, has almost completely perished in Mainland China), and combined it with Western tradition to form Hong Kong’s own unique culture, just as the member states of the European Union all have their own features while most of them owe their origin to ancient Greek and Roman civilizations, and just as Barcelona, as a autonomous city-state, insists on speaking Catalan as different from Spanish.
Thank you very much for your attention.

With peace and joy,
Yours faithfully,

Chapman Chen (Ph.D. in Sinology, M.A. in Translation),


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