你的英文,为何那么啰嗦?

英文写作和翻译中,一大常见问题就是啰嗦:明明一个词能说清的,却写了一整句;明明一句话能说清的,却写了一整段。啰嗦的文字不仅会浪费读者的时间,更严重的是,会淹没作者想表达的观点,导致读者难以抓住要义,写作的目的也就无法实现。

究竟什么原因,使我们的英文表达如此啰嗦?本期推送,小编请到了资深翻译老师,基于多年教学经验总结了几大成因,帮大家摆脱行文啰嗦的困扰:

原因一:文字义肢(verbal false limb)

英国小说家奥威尔(George Orwell)指出英文写作中verbal false limb这一问题,余光中在《中文的常态与变态》一文中也阐述过。所谓文字义肢,就是把原本简单明了的动词,分解成“万能动词+抽象名词”的结构,显得堂皇而高级,实则软化了动词,使表达啰嗦无力。常见的文字义肢如:

文字义肢

_

简洁动词

apply pressure

press

give authorization

_

permit

send 

communication

_

write

take 

appropriate action

_

act

左侧的“文字义肢”由右侧的“简洁动词”演变而来。例如,press变成apply pressure,动作便一分为二,一半驯化为静止的抽象名词 pressure,一半淡化为广泛而笼统的弱动词 apply——明明一个词就能说清楚,偏要用好几个词来说,实际上是化简为繁、化动为静、化具体为抽象、化直接为迂回,直接导致表达冗余繁琐,而且并不高雅

文字义肢该如何修改?很简单,将弱动词结构变为简洁的强势动词即可,以同学作业中出现的问题为例:

例:…make false accusations, or do harm to their folks 

改:falsely accuse or harm their folks

例:They did not take into consideration the fact that…

改:They did not consider that… 或 They forgot that…

原因二:陈词滥调(cliche)

我们的英文里常常充斥着一些看似高大上的表达,有些是应试的写作套路,如所谓的“高级衔接”:with respect to, having regard to, the fact that, by dint of, in view of, in the interests of, on the hypothesis that;还有一些冗长空洞的措辞:greatly to be desired, cannot be left out of account, a development to be expected in the near future, deserving of serious consideration, brought to a satisfactory conclusion, so on and so forth。

这些说法十之八九都很啰嗦,完全可以删除或精简,举例说明:

陈词滥调

_

修改

as a matter of fact

_

Many marriages, as a matter of fact, end in divorce.

at the present time

_

At the present time, the revised proposal for outdoor lighting has angered many villagers.

because of the fact that

_

Because of the fact that the museum has a special exhibit, it stays open late.

for the purpose of

_

Work crews arrived to for the purpose of fixing the potholes.

删去空洞冗余的词语,文字瞬间简明多了。

 

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