Theories of Language

There have been different theories of language. Essentially, they are the different perspectives to view the diverse and complex word of verbal communication. Below is a brief chronological description of different language theories.

In the classical Greece and Rome, the focus of language study was the effective use of language, especially on rhetorical structures and stylistic excellence. They had a mystical view of language because they found language had a supernatural power in cursing, blessing, divining and exorcism. They believed language had inherently embedded insights on the nature of reality.

About at the same time there was a different approach to language emerged in India, as exemplified by the Sanskrit grammar of Panini. This grammar, developed sometimes in the period of 352 to 150 B.C., details the features of sound, word formulation and syntax of classical Sanskrit.

During the medieval period language became the tool of philosophy and logic, and Latin grammar became the model for pedagogical grammars of most Western European languages.

At the end of the 18th century the discovery of the Panini’s Sanskrit grandma had greatly changed the scholarly views about language in Western Europe. Scholars realized that Sanskrit was closely related to almost all Western European languages. This encouraged a period of intense and exhaustive study on the history of and differences between various languages. 

Then a different view of languages, a descriptive approach, was established as exemplified in Saussure’s contribution which highlighted the distinction between a historical view of language development (diachronic) and a description of language at a particular point of time (synchronic).

There were important developments in the structural study of language. Weinreinch contributed significantly to the understanding of the role of semantics in language structure. The semantic approach became so popular that it was used to explain almost everything in language.

Then there appeared a great deal of suspicionon the role of semantics. Scholars in Eastern Europe and North American developed different views in the structural study of language. For example, the Prague School focused on phonology and discourse, while Bloomfield emphasized on item and arrangement which was later adapted to be known as Tagmemics – a system focuses on spots, filters and hierarchical structures.

By elaborating networks of relations within and between strata, a stratificational approach to language was prompted by Sydney Lamb and Adam Makkai. Then there was the famous transformational-generative grandma (T-G grammar) raised by Noam Chomsky who argued to look at language from the dynamic perspective – a series of transformations from an abstract underlying base to the surface structure. In this theory, syntax is focal.

The T-G grammar evoked critiques and also inspired developments in language study. A type of generative semantics was developed to start from an underlying semantics level rather than an abstract and underlying syntax. Also, T-G grammar has indirectly prompted the development of sociolinguistics – a theory with emphasis on language as used in a society.

During the 20th century a functional approach was rather popular in anatomizing languages. In the early stage the focus was on how languages work and then it was well developed by Halliday into a theory of systemic grammar which focuses on a dynamic system and can treat numerous phases of language.

Sperber and Wilson developed a new way to explore language which emphasizes the role of relevance in language design and practice. It was rather prevailing at then time to seek single principles and structures to explore language. For example, Chomsky employed “autonomous syntax”, while Halliday and Hasan applied cohesion as a unifying principle.

Semiotics has been the universal approach to languages, with Peirce and Wittenstein as the star contributors. Language has been recognized as a system of signs. Therefore, it is widely believed that semiotics could provide insights to understand how the linguistic code works.

Although no one theory is adequate enough to embody the complexity of verbal communication, all these different theories of language provide important insights into the nature of language.

Functions of language: Sociological

Generally, when people use language to relate to or influence others, they are applying the sociological functions of language. There are basically five types of such functions: interpersonal, informative, imperative, performative, and emotive.

As for the interpersonal function of language, it is about how people use language to negotiate and/or maintain social status. In most languages, there are distinct registers, such as ritual, formal, informal, casual and intimate speech. People make use of language in different registers to help establish themselves in society and maintain relations with one another. For example, people who want to increase their power often try to imitate the speech of those in power. A speaker or writer who wants to develop greater solidarity with the audience usually attempts to use the same register that the target audience uses and appreciates. Besides, it frequently happens that language is used not to say something relevant but just to maintain a relationship, which can be well explained by the cleverly social chattering at cocktail parties.

The use of speech or writing to influence the cognitive content or state of others is the informative function of language. This function is always part of other functions. Besides, to maximize the formative function of language it should be built on the existing cognitive state of the receptor.

The imperative function of language is about the attempts to influence the behavior of receptors. This can be done through commands, exhortations and even more effectively by means of smart jokes, suitable illustrations, searching questions, etc. Its application, with lots of a verbal negotiating, implies a measure of authority or power, although its effectiveness involves the receptor’s self-interest.

The performative function of language involves a change in the status of the receptor. The speeches themselves are expected to establish a different status of an object, such as the speech used in solemnizing a marriage. Mostly, performative language is highly ritualized and fixed in form which ensures the power and prestige of such speech.

The emotive function of language involves affecting the emotive state of receptors. For this reason, it profoundly exploits the associative or connotative meanings of words. This function may be understood as the most powerful and fearful aspect of language – because the emotions that can be influenced is unlimited. Language can kindle numerous emotions, from religious devotions to hilarious laughters. This function is the object for various groups, from professional linguists to powerful politicians.

In fact, most speeches and writings involve several different functions of language and in different proportions.

Functions of language: psychological

Language has diverse functions which are of two basic types: psychological and sociological. This short essay represents the psychological functions of language.

There are five essential psychological functions of language: naming, stating, modeling of reality, expression and cognition.

Finding names to experience and items is a psychological necessity. However, this need is so obvious that people mostly don’t realize its importance. It is essentially significant to have symbols/names to identify and even control things. In fact, finding the right word to symbolize some object or event seems to give some control over such things.

Stating is to say something about the object and event that are named. This is why there are subjective-predicate statements and topic-comment statements. Besides, since single propositions are too limited to meet certain psychological needs, it is natural to link together strings of sentences.

Modeling of the reality is the more profound function developed by people. In some sense, people instinctively felt words should provide a system for viewing the world – verbal symbols could reflect a reality, although imperfectly. From a different perspective, language is used to model reality in four major semantic classes of lexemes: 1) entities, e.g. daisy, water, tree, 2) activities, e.g. cry, laugh, run, 3) characteristics, primarily qualities and quantities, e.g. good, numerous, quickly, and 4) relations, e.g. in, because, during.

Another psychological function of language is expression – give vent to a person’s own feelings. It could be emotive responses to some event, e.g. ouch, damn it, and oh boy. It can also be a matter of playing with words which small children often love to do. Expressive language might be for the purpose of aesthetics. Words are arranged to form balance, proportion, symmetry and rhythm to formulate a certain psychological atmosphere.

Cognition, using language to think, is possibly the most important psychological function of language. Whatever style the thinking is performed, language is involved. This is a process of manipulating verbal symbols within brain.

Paradoxes of translating

Translating is an intricate and enchanting task.  There are many paradoxes in this particularly complex human practice. Below is a brief note from Language, Culture and Translating, the masterpiece of Eugene Nida, the theoretician of translation, father of dynamic equivalence theory.

It is popularly assumed that close and literal translation equals faithfulness to the source text. But the fact is that literal renderings are often misleading. Because there are many discrepancies between meanings and structures of different languages. Interestingly, while some people, who are concerned with figurative language and complex poetic structures, insist that translating is impossible, more and more translations are done and done well.

There is some contention about the validity of paraphrase (or adaptation if you well) when it comes to translating. Some argue that translating is valid but paraphrase is wrong. In fact, all translating involves differing degrees of paraphrase. It is out of the question that one can successfully translate word for word or structure for structure. The truth is that languages do not differ essentially in what they can say, but in how they say it. Therefore, paraphrase is inevitable. The key point is to ensure the semantic legitimacy of the paraphrase.

Another paradox holds that stylistic editing should be proceeded by a somewhat literal rendering – first produce a literal translating of the source and then improve it stylistically. However, style is the hard core which must be built into the translation from the very beginning. It can be put in this way: A few errors in the correspondences of lexical meanings are more excusable than missing the spirit and aesthetic quality of the source.

Then there is a paradox about translators themselves. It is true that translating is a skill which can be taught and then mastered by considerable practice. However, exceptional translators are born rather than made. They need to have outstanding aptitudefor the creative use of language. Well, this can be categorized into “Nature VS. Nurture”.

As the descending and thriving of computers and Internet, some people find it paradoxical for the existence of human translators. Modern technologies help human a lot, but when it comes to creative contents, such as advertising brochures and lyric poetry, computer printouts are basically useless. Human translators will always be indispensable as long as the text is stylistically appealing and semantically complex – which carry the essential message that is worth communicating in the target language. Human brain is not only digital and analogic but also has an established system of values which gives it a componentially incalculable advantage over machines.

Another paradox of translating is that there is never a completely perfect translation. Both the language and culture are in the process of change. Furthermore, language is an open system with overlapping meanings and fuzzy boundaries. Mostly, the biggest problem in translating is not to find the right equivalent in the target language but to thoroughly understand the designative and associative meaning of the source text.

A further paradox of translating is the general assumption that a bilingual person equals a translator or interpreter. The truth is that knowing two languages is far from enough. It is essential to be familiar with the respective cultures. Besides, the capacity to write well is another important quality to become a good translator. As for becoming a competent interpreter, it is imperative to have a quick mind to organize andformulate a response.

There is also a paradox of the language itself. Language not only represents reality but also distorts it. Sunsetand sunrise are the perfect examples of the parallax between language and reality – we all know the sun doesn’t set or rise. Unfortunately, people often don’t recognize such parallax in language and even are accustomed to accept verbal formulation as being the absolute truth. 

In general, the paradoxes of translating are basically the paradoxes of language and of culture.

科幻现实:首例基因编辑婴儿

这些天,中国诞生全球首例基因编辑婴儿的新闻铺天盖地。一些文章报道了对人类胚胎进行基因编辑所可能产生的后果,从基本的科学伦理,到法律纠纷,再到技术本身,都非常引人深思。

这个案例中,深圳的贺医生招募了7对志愿者夫妇,其中男方都感染了艾滋病,女方健康。具体过程简单来说就是通过体外受精制成胚胎,然后利用名为CRISPR的基因编辑技术对胚胎进行编辑,修改会感染艾滋病的受体基因,从而获得对艾滋病的天生免疫。这个新闻案例中的新生儿是一对双胞胎女婴。

这个事件引起了巨大的科学伦理争议。首先,这不是一个完美的治疗方案。虽然这项手术可以理论上获得天生的艾滋病免疫力,但这个案例是一对双胞胎,这意味着只有一个孩子的HIV基因能被完全编辑获得免疫力,另一个只能部分编辑。第二,这项手术会带来不可想象的脱靶效应。虽然摘除了感染艾滋病的基因,但这可能会损害其他基因,并会损失部分正常的免疫功能,比如降低了流感免疫力,增加了感染西尼罗病毒的几率。第三,最要命的这种基因修改会遗传给下一代,所有的这些基因修改风险会代代相传,所谓的“污染了人类基因库”。

科幻现实,现实科幻。

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下面是我译制的第一支视频,是CBS早间新闻的一段2分钟访谈,讲的就是这个基因编辑婴儿的操作原理以及手术效果,邀请的嘉宾进行了简洁明了的介绍,从专业的角度明确反对这个手术的必要和合理性以及危险性。

整个译制过程是在昨天和今天的空余时间完成的,遇到了很多困难,成品也很不完美,比如字幕压制后开头的前四五秒黑屏。从寻找工具,包括字幕翻译软件、字幕压制软件,到基本的技术,比如如何制作时间轴,以及最后出现文件过大的问题,每处都有雷。即使在翻译过程中,也有几处听译障碍。不管怎样,这个丑媳妇还是要出来的,也算是一个纪念,见证日后的节节改进。

本次译制使用的工具如下:
字幕翻译软件:Aegisub
字幕压制软件:MediaCoder
文件压缩软件:HandBrake

下面是视频:

莎剧

文艺复兴三杰之一,英国人文主义的代表,让人说不尽的莎士比亚。四百多年过去了,他的作品还是流传的经典,刻画的剧作人物仍然栩栩如生,讲述的箴言道理还是强大有力,情话、粗话、俏皮话,还是那么带劲儿。

比较惭愧的是,只在大学念书的时候看过一些莎剧节选,背过哈姆雷特那段To be or not to be的独白。后来,在一些喜爱的影视作品(比如《V字仇杀队》)和现代小说(比如《暮光之城》)中不时地看到故事人物提到莎剧,爱屋及乌,忍不住回来看莎剧。

有一种说法是,莎剧是为了演出而不是为了阅读才写出来的,它的魅力只有放到舞台上才最能展示出来。类似地,隐隐记得当时老师曾跟我们说,读莎剧就要念出声来,大声地有代入感地念,这样才能读出它的美和力量。

每部戏剧的字数相对小说而言,要少很多,阅读速度也快得多,如果是中文译本,每部莎剧一个来小时就能看完。但是要领略戏剧作品的魅力,还是要慢下来细细品味,大声诵读。

当我被Stephanie Meyer在《暮光之城》中的人物心理描写功力震得一塌糊涂的时候,以为已经见到了泰山,但当我去念莎剧,它用台词和对白刻画出的人物心理和特质,让我甚至觉得莎先生是我们这个时代的人,不然怎么会写得那么真切?但也很合理,人文主义嘛,人的爱恨情仇总是有共性的,勤奋的天才巨匠来个妙笔生花实在是再合理不过的。不管怎样,让人感受到生活和生命的真实、残酷、人性、智慧,这才是莎剧经典永流传的根本。

莎剧英文不好念,毕竟是四百多年前的英文,还是“诗剧”,句法、拼读跟现代英语都有不小的差别,更不要说词汇难度。我先读了中文,但又有隔靴搔痒的感觉,索性就中英文对着读,最后还是觉得得沉下心来好好念英文原本,只有这样才能更好更独立地欣赏莎剧。这是个工程。

简单整理了莎士比亚剧作年表(加叙事长诗),莎先生真是个勤奋的天才剧作家,从26岁起一直到48岁,每年平均出近2部作品,也可以看出那个年代的英国真是流行看剧。

时间 作品 中文名 类型 年龄
1590 Henry VI, Part I~II 亨利六世,上篇、中篇 历史剧 26岁
1591 Henry VI, Part III 亨利六世,下篇 历史剧 27
1592 Richard III. 理查三世 历史剧 28
  The Comedy of Errors 错误的喜剧/错尽错绝 喜剧  
1593 Titus Andronicus 泰特斯·安德洛尼克斯 悲剧 29
  The Taming of the Shrew 驯悍记 喜剧  
  Venus and Adonis 维纳斯和阿多尼斯 长篇叙事诗  
1594 The Two Gentlemen of Verona 维洛那二绅士 喜剧 30
  Love’s Labour’s Lost 爱的徒劳 喜剧  
  The Rape of Lucrece 鲁克丽丝失贞记 长篇叙事诗  
  Romeo and Juliet 罗密欧与朱丽叶 悲剧  
1595 Richard II 理查二世 历史剧 31
  A Mid-Summer Night’s Dream 仲夏夜之梦 喜剧  
1596 King John 约翰王 历史剧 32
  The Merchant of Venice 威尼斯商人 喜剧  
1597 Henry IV, Part I-II 亨利四世,上篇、下篇 历史剧 33
1598 Much Ado About Nothing 捕风捉影/无事生非 喜剧 34
  Henry V 亨利五世 历史剧  
  The Merry Wives of Windsor 温莎的风骚娘们 喜剧  
1599 Julius Caesar 尤里乌斯·凯撒 历史剧 35
  As You Like It 皆大欢喜 喜剧  
1600 Twelfth Night 第十二夜 喜剧 36
1601 Hamlet 哈姆雷特 悲剧 37
1602 Troilus and Cressida 特洛伊罗斯与克瑞西达 悲剧 38
  All’s Well That Ends Well 终成眷属 喜剧  
1604 Measure for Measure 一报还一报/自作自受 喜剧 39
  Othello 奥赛罗 悲剧  
1605 King Lear 李尔王 悲剧 40
  Macbeth 麦克白 悲剧  
1606 Antony and Cleopatra 安东尼与克里奥佩特拉 悲剧 41
1607 Coriolanus 科利奥兰纳斯 历史剧 42
  Timon of Athens 雅典的泰门 悲剧  
1608 Pericles 佩里克利斯 传奇剧 43
1609 Cymbeline 辛柏林   44
1610 The Winter’s Tale 冬天的故事 传奇剧 45
1612 The Tempest 暴风雨 传奇剧 47
  Henry VIII 亨利八世 历史剧  
1613 The Two Noble Kinsmen 两贵亲   48

“硌硬”引发的普通话趣谈

家人在看电视的时候看到一段人物台词用了“硌硬”这个词,就问了我一句:硌硬是普通话?我一时蒙了,不知如何回答。

我老家在北方乡下,家乡话真是土地的味道,土得可爱。比如有个词念作“gèi er gei”,第一个音重度,紧接着儿化音,最后一个音是轻读,有点像“咯儿咯”,意思是等会儿、过会儿,主要用作副词。比如想说公交车一会儿就到,可以说成:车gèi er gei 就来了。再比如别人催你,你想说马上就好、马上就来、稍等,可以直接喊说:gèi er gei!

“硌硬”也是常用的土话,非常有劲儿的一个词,可用来抗议抱怨令人讨厌的事情/事物,但也可用来寒暄推辞。比如你帮了邻居一个忙,邻居过意不去,就买了很多答谢的礼物送来,你觉得对方太见外了,不想收,就可以说“你快拿回去吧,别硌硬人了”。

关于“硌硬是普通话吗”,翻译出来应该是:硌硬是我们的土话/方言这点是肯定的,可电视剧通篇讲的都是普通话,难道普通话里也有“硌硬”这个词、这个音、这个意思?

需要先明确“什么是普通话”。下面是我搜索网络得出的一些总结。

普通话属于现代汉语,现代汉语包括普通话(也称为现代标准汉语)和方言。普通话的取词涵义是普遍、共通,科学的定义是:普通话以北京语音标准音,以北方方言基础方言,以典范的现代白话文著作语法规范的现代汉民族共同语。上世纪50年代做出的这个定义从语音、词汇、语法三个方面确定了普通话的标准。

在语音标准方面,“以北京语音为标准音” ,但并非是说在读音上全部照搬北京话,而是指以北京话的语音系统为标准,普通话并不等于北京话。

在词汇标准方面,关于北方方言,也就是广义上的北方话(由于该表达不甚准确,学术上已经不再使用“北方方言”,而是采用“官话”这种表述),是当今的官话,相当于古人的“雅言”。普通话词汇以北方话为基础,也就是以北方话地区普遍通行的词汇表达为准,同时也从其他方言汲取所需语汇。说到方言,现代汉语方言可分为七大方言区,即官话、吴方言、湘方言、客家方言、闽方言、粤方言、赣方言。而官话又细分成八种次方言:东北官话、北京官话、冀鲁官话、胶辽官话、中原官话、兰银官话、江淮官话、西南官话。

在语法方面,普通话以典范的现代白话文著作为语法规范。典范的现代白话文著作是指现代优秀作家、理论家的优秀作品(如鲁迅、郭沫若、茅盾等人的代表作,毛泽东、周恩来等人的论著)和国家发布的各种书面文件(如法律文本、通告、政令等)。在时间上是五四之后,在形式上是典范的书面形式白话文。

现在再来看“硌硬”这个词。简单搜索后发现,它在北方和部分南方地区是很常用的方言,而且意思大致一致,《现代汉语词典》也将其标注为方言(见下图)。“硌硬”是方言这没问题,但可不可以同时也是普通话呢?毕竟普通话的重要词汇来源就是北方话。恩,这个还真难住我了。或许可以换个角度,普通话中可以夹用方言吗?我想这个答案是肯定的,就比如“硌硬”这个方言吧,社科院编撰的现代汉语词典里都规范了它的书写形式、读音和造句使用方式,我们当然可以在合适的语境场合中使用。

初试微软机器翻译:惊艳与局限

这几年机器翻译比较热,尤其是神经机器翻译的问世,甚至又出现了“机器替代人”的标题党。由于我从事的翻译领域主要是创意性文案,很少涉及机器翻译,加上多少有些不以为然,毕竟人类的语言太复杂了,因此没有怎么实际体验。前一段时间作为“娱乐”领略了一下微软机器翻译,有被惊艳到,尽管也看到了它的局限性。

我体验的是Translator App上的语音翻译功能以及网页版Bing Microsoft Translator上的文本翻译功能。

对于一般文本,比如下面截图所示,翻译结果还算不错,而且在下图的例子中,它很惊艳地把第二句话隐藏的主语正确地补上了。

对于一般的语句,App的语音翻译也不错,能比较正确地识别语音,断句也还可以。

 

但它的局限性也非常多。简单地说,在语音翻译中,如果连续讲话,语音识别的断句会出现问题,一些词语会识别失误,这直接影响了翻译质量。在文本翻译中,有几类文本是它处理不好的:文化类、语境类、专业文案。

文化类是指包含鲜明地方文化特色或文化寓意的语句,比如:

语境类是指一些词语的意思要根据语境来选择,而机翻选择了错误的意思,或者说选了最字面的意思,但并不符合当时的语境。就比如下面的:

除了选错多义词的语境含义,还有可能出现对整段话的理解太过字面,没有把真正的意思表达出来。

专业文案是指比如法律合同,它会出现语意理解上的偏差甚至做出意思截然相反的翻译。

但有趣的是,正如我们在翻译的时候会经常面对不完美原文文本,机翻面对的也往往是不完美文本。比如在语音翻译方面,很大的概率是人讲出的话本身就是逻辑不够,有重复,不连贯,在不该停顿的地方停顿。由于所录入的文本质量不高,机器无法识别真正的信息,自然输出的译文就一塌糊涂。当然,这并不是像有些观点所说的,要倒逼人讲便于机器识别和翻译的语句;相反,人在讲话时出现的诸多“不完美”正是需要人工译员来处理,甚至是一种机器很难企及“智能”。在文本方面,一些机器很难处理的文化创意文案,实际上对人工翻译也是非常大的挑战;有的即使是“完美原文”,比如一些法律合同中的权责归属关系,但文本含义太绕了,机器很难处理妥当。其实所有这些所谓的局限性既是人工翻译的价值和机遇所在,也是我们对机器翻译的奇幻寄托。

不管怎样,现在的机翻水平是前些年所无法想象的,这是非常激动人心的进步,对翻译从业者来说是福音而绝非威胁。这些日新月异的科技进步,把我们从重复性作业中很好地解放了出来,让我们反思作为人的真正价值所在,也督促我们去实现更加原创的价值。在一次次迭代中,突破局限,领略惊艳。

筷子文化:杜嘉班纳“起筷吃饭”的水土不服

这些天意大利奢侈时装品牌因为“辱华”上了热搜,甚至遭到抵制。其实,导火索“起筷吃饭”系列短片本身只是一个市场营销失误,没有做好文化管理。如果没有杜嘉班纳创始人后续的激烈言论,或者说其社交媒体账号没有被黑,也不会演变地成现在这么严重,当然这是他话,这里主要说说筷子文化这个导火索。

杜嘉班纳原计划于本月20号在上海发布其品牌的时装大秀The Great Show,为了预热,发布了“致敬中国文化”的美食系列短片《起筷吃饭》。如果要列举中国和意大利的共同之处,美食无疑是最显著最安全的切入点。

这套美食系列短片每支两三分钟的样子,展示的是用加长版筷子吃夸张版意大利传统食物:披萨饼、意大利面和香炸甜卷。争议点之一是短片设计成模特一开始不会使用筷子吃意式美食,做了很多尝试,比如,吃披萨的时候一手一根筷子切披萨,把筷子竖插到披萨上,用筷子直接夹超大号甜卷。

我们小时候都有被家教不能把筷子竖插到饭里,更不能在饭桌上一手一根筷子拿着。筷子竖插到饭里,基本上等同于给死去的人上香,在饭桌上做这个动作无疑是非常晦气的。要是一手拿着一根筷子张牙舞爪,更是不可接受,一来这本身是危险的动作,容易戳到眼睛之类的,二来这是很显然的不得体的餐桌礼仪。如果食物太大,我们不会直接去夹,我们会用到勺子,或者提前切小,实在大块头的是可以直接用手拿的。

细想,我们对筷子是充满敬意的。我记得小时候每次帮忙摆饭桌,都是要先给爷爷奶奶拿筷子,最后才分给自己,筷子的粗头要朝外方便直接拿起来使用,潜移默化中也被教育在饭桌上不能一边吃饭一边拿着筷子指指点点,不能把筷子含嘴里说话,当然更不能把筷子竖插到任何食物里。相信这些对用筷子吃饭的我们来说,都不陌生。

有观点称杜嘉班纳这支广告是为了迎合千禧一代,他们独立个性,与众不同,打破传统。但我相信,就算是更年轻更独特的零零后,他们在餐桌上也不可以不尊重筷子文化。但是,如果是用筷子吃西餐呢?在餐桌上,筷子是万能的,用筷子的人是充满创意的,几米长的兰州拉面都能用筷子挑起来,还拿不下意大利面?所以基本可以说,这几支起筷吃饭的广告太尬演了,没有哪个用筷子吃饭的人会那样用筷子。

另外从文案本地化的角度来说,也是有不少问题。比如作为一支在中国播放的宣传片,不需要解释“小棍子样的餐具”,因为国人都知道那是什么,直接说“筷子”就好了。当然,也许这根本不是翻译的问题,在这种项目中,翻译往往处于被动的地位,能不能产出漂亮的本地广告文案,关键在于整个项目团队的运作。比如,在进行创意的初期,中国本土团队在文化方面的建议是不可缺少的;在文案本地化过程中,强调创造性翻译是必须的;后期成品的质量控制也不能缺席。

不管怎样,文化与经济的搭档关系,不是那么简单的工程,不小心就会水土不服。做足功课,虚心学习。

暮光之城

Twilight Saga是Stephenie Meyer在十多年前写的美国奇幻青春爱情长篇小说,08年起陆续拍成同名电影。

情人眼里出西施,这在哪个文化中都如此。当爱上一个人,哪怕是狮子与羔羊的恋爱,你都无法自拔。你可能陷入各种爱情症状,对方在你眼中是那么完美,你可能会不可救药地贬低自己,也可能不自觉地过度保护对方,你只想让对方更快乐、更安全,你希望自己更加强大更优秀这样才能跟对方相称……

青春爱情里会发生的心里活动,Stephenie Meyer用细腻自然的文字娓娓道来,你在听故事人物倾诉的同时,仿佛也在倾听自己。

Bella这个女主角就在这样的文字中诞生的。她是那种平地走路也会摔跤的天生无运动细胞宅女,没有任何音乐细胞,有原则,善解人意,擅长否定自己,总之跟好莱坞影片里传统的美国女生截然不同,倒像是我们这里一般小县城里的姑娘,而实际上,她就是美国小县城里的一个女生。

为什么会产生爱情的化学反应?小说里讲得很妙,1. Edward有让人类不可抗拒的相貌、声音、体香,2. Bella的血液对Edward有着超乎超人的吸引力。爱情的火花就这样奇妙的产生了。

这是一个吸血鬼与人类同时插播狼人的爱情故事。吸血鬼是整部小说的奇幻担当。

长生不老,拥有冻龄的绝美相貌,力量、速度、五官六感的敏锐度超越常人数百倍不止,这就是吸血鬼的基本特征。他们很多还拥有超能力,比如能看到未来,奇幻的高潮就在这里。

暂且把Edward所在的称为A队,把吸血鬼界的皇室称为B队。B队的历史最悠久,大概有数千年,集结了吸血鬼历史上最有才华的成员,比如用眼光让人痛不欲生,比如剥除对方的所有感官知觉,在一片黑暗寂静中毫无感觉地被消灭掉,如果想逃跑,会有专门擅长追捕的吸血鬼把你从天涯海角给揪出来,你的思想在他们面前绝对透明,因为只要接触一下你身体的任意部位,就能知道你的所有想法。

A队是一个独立并发展起来仅有几百年的年轻家族,威力很大:不需要任何接触就能阅读对方内心世界;只要对方做出决定就能看到未来结果;左右周围人情绪;可以抵御一切吸血鬼超能力的盾牌。

还有不归属于任何队的零散吸血鬼,超能力包括比如双手可以放电,比如可以操控自然元素兴风作雨造山开地,比如可以让对方产生幻视……

就像是打开了想象的闸门,任何梦想的超能力似乎都能找到。最酷的是盾牌,刀枪不入啊;比较麻烦的是无触点读心术,毫无秘密可言;奇妙的是能看到未来,好让人憧憬的超能力~~

架空现实讲爱情,往往会成为当事人的自言自语,但暮光很妙地运用过了奇幻题材来架空各种现实局限,松绑想象,爱恒久远。