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“公益”该如何翻译?
[深圳雅健翻译公司]  2010-04-07 18:03:52  

         “公益”的种种英译
        把“公益”翻译为“commonweal, public welfare, public good”等等,把与“公益”有关的词组及搭配,如“公益活动”翻译为“Public welfare activities”;“公益广告”翻译为“Commonweal Advertisement”、“Public Service Advertisement”、“Charity advertising”、“non-commercial commercials
”、 “Charity advertisement“、 “non-profit ad”、“public service advertising”等等,真可谓五花八门。

        之所以有如上的翻译,关键是译员没有理解“公益”的意思;其次,是译员图方便,在装有“金山词霸”的电脑上,用鼠标点击“公益”二字,英文“commonweal”随即显示,这样的“翻译”得来不费功夫,错译也就难免了。再就是查看翻译工具书,如“汉英词典”之类,照搬词典,于是有了“public welfare, public good”的英译。

        所谓“公益”,应该是“公共利益”之意思,是相对私人或个人利益而言的。
        从Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia网站上得知“公益”为“public interest”,请看释义:The public interest refers to the "common well-being" or "general welfare."。

        由此看来,public welfare还算与“公益”靠得近些,而public good离“公益”有多远,恐怕尚值得探讨,因此留待另文去谈。

        下面我们从“公益广告”的翻译谈起。

        何谓“公益广告”?
        所谓公益广告,是指经媒介发布的为公众利益服务的不以营利为目的之广告,旨在通过传播公益观念,促使人们公益行为的形成,甚至进而促使某些公益事业的发展。非商业性、公益性和非人际直接传播性是公益广告的三个主要特性。

        对于上文提到的种种“公益广告”的英译,拿"charity advertisement"为例,一位加拿大的native speaker对此PK道:“I have been a native speaker of English for 57 years and have NEVER heard anyone use the term "charity advertisement" or charity announcement. The correct, current term is Public Service Announcement or PSA.”

        美国人对“公益广告”的定义

        看看美国联邦通讯委员会对“公益广告”的定义及说法,英文如下:
        In the United States,a public service announcement (PSA) is defined by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in a formal and detailed manner. A PSA is "any announcement (including network) for which no charge is made and which promotes programs, activities, or services of federal, state, or local governments (e.g., recruiting, sale of bonds, etc.) or the programs, activities or services of non-profit organizations (e.g., United Way, Red Cross blood donations, etc.) and other announcements regarded as serving community interests, excluding time signals, routine weather announcements and promotional announcements." 

        PSAs came into being with the entry of the United States into World War II. Radio broadcasters and advertising agencies offered their skills and facilities toward the war effort and established the War Advertising Council which became the official homefront propaganda arm of the Office of War Information. Print, outdoor advertising and especially radio became the carriers of such messages as "Loose lips sink ships," "Keep 'em Rolling" and a variety of exhortations to buy War Bonds.

        “公益广告”案例
        "Flooding and Lead-Based Paint" 
        Homes built before 1978 are likely to contain lead-based paint, which may flake after being soaked by flood water.
        Lead is a toxic metal that causes many negative health effects, especially in children. Disturbing materials containing lead-based paint may release lead dust into the air.

        因此,“公益广告”应该翻译为public service announcement (PSA)。
        中文的“公益”需要视具体情况翻译
        中文的“公益”在具体的文章里有不同的内涵及意思,它包括了“慈善、捐赠、扶贫、救助”等等,因此需要根据其具体意思去理解并准确把握,才能翻译得当。举一例如下:
        
        由於李嘉誠先生熱心公益,對各地社會貢獻良多,先後獲英國劍橋大學、加拿大卡加里大學、內地北京大學、本港香港大學及其他大學頒授名譽博士學位。
        In recongnition of his philanthropic efforts and his contributions to society, Mr. Li has received Honorary Doctorates from the University of Cambridge, the University of Calgary in Canada, Peking University, and the University of Hong Kong, among others.
       
        显然,了解和把握了李嘉誠先生所热心的“公益”主要在于慈善事业方面,因此,在这里,把“公益”翻译为英文philanthropic efforts是准确而明白的。如果不管三七二十一,见“公益”二字就翻译为为英文“commonweal, public welfare, public good”等,那就不对了。

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