「撒嬌」有沒有英譯 ?

「撒嬌」有沒有英譯 ?

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撒嬌

(劉紹銘(嶺南大學榮休教授))2009年09月13日

鄭樹森教授轉來陳蒼多先生〈撒嬌沒有中譯?〉一文,載八月八日台灣《聯合報》。陳先生說:「我看過劉紹銘先生一篇文章中的一段,大意是說『撒嬌』並無適當的英譯,因為美國女孩子只會撒野。」
從前我認定「撒嬌」沒有英譯,今天依然如是。《現代漢語詞典》把「撒嬌」解作「仗着受人寵愛故意作態」。這不正是「恃寵生驕」麼?失寵只好撒「野」。撒野是放肆、蠻不講理。撒嬌多從「嗲」字開始。因此撒嬌有先天的年齡與性別限制。大男人不「撒嬌」。女人到了劉姥姥的年紀,也少見嗲聲嗲氣。因此嗲得似模似樣的只有童音未失的小女生。

我在威斯康辛大學教書時有同事 Robert Joe Cutter,掌上明珠剛好到了說話嬌滴滴的年紀,愛撒嬌,但更會一把眼淚一把鼻涕的撒野。一天我在同事家作客,飯後坐在客廳聊天,嬌嬌女跑進來,爬到父親坐的長沙發上,摟着老爸的脖子,吻着他的耳朵說:”Daddy, can I have more ice cream please?””Ask mom.””Mom won’t let me””Well then, no more ice cream””Daddy, please, please, pretty please!”
Daddy再無招架之力,跑到廚房去替女兒求情,乖女終償所願。我一直沒有放棄為「撒嬌」一詞找英譯的意念,眼前既有現成的「語境」,機不可失,乃問 Cutter剛才女兒在他面前的所作所為,中文叫「撒嬌」,英文該怎麼說?他想了好久好久,毫無把握的說:「會不會是 wheedle?」
我們到他書房翻字典。照字面的解釋, wheedle是: to persuade someone to do something or to give you something by saying nice things。依此說法, saying nice things該是「甜言蜜語」,或等而下之,「花言巧語」。 The little girl wheedled her father into getting her more ice cream,小女孩用甜言蜜語使她父親為她多拿了一些冰淇淋。

Wheedle不可取,因為在《 The Oxford Thesaurus》中這個字隱隱然有”con”(詐騙)的意味。 Cutter女兒向父親「撒嬌」,不單用 please pretty please這種「甜言」,還有摟脖子親耳朵那套「身體語言」。父女之間,「撒嬌」是不含詐騙成份的。 Wheedle的字義負面太多。「獻媚」也是其中一種手段。我在辭典上找不到「詐嬌」一條,但這句廣東方言倒最接近 wheedle的意境。「撒嬌」不應是小女孩專利,小情人情到濃時要男朋友陪她去拜望未來丈母娘,說不定要 pretty please一番他才勉為其難。歡場女子要恩客送 Gucci,過了撒嬌年齡,只好「詐嬌」以博歡心。
陳蒼多先生的文章還引述一位李佳穎小姐的短文〈填充題〉,說她為了向友人討教「撒嬌」的英譯,只好自己敘述舉例,加上出手表演,友人聽說和「睹狀」後,「給了我一個詞 coy……但她認為 coy有『害羞』、『裝有禮』、『忸怩』作態等涵義,是有點兒撒嬌的味道,但又似乎不止如此。」
看來「撒嬌」英譯只好繼續懸空。童元方教授在〈丹青難寫是精神〉一文說,在翻譯上最難處理的是文學語言,因此類文字「常是歧義橫生,常是言在意外,常是觸類旁通,常是指桑罵槐,常是烘雲托月,常是臨水照花。」
說來說去,我們不得不承認這個事實,文字確有可譯與不可譯的,中譯英如是,英譯中亦如是。閔德福(John Minford)譯金庸《鹿鼎記》時,為怎樣翻譯各好漢口中的「江湖」、「江湖上」的口頭禪害得茶飯不思。中醫口中的「虛火上升」,也是碰不得的翻譯大忌。杏花、春雨、江南。「江南」一義也不是 River South兩字解決得了的。外語教學與研究出版社的《漢英詞典》把「撒嬌」譯為: act like a spoiled child; act spoiled。可惜慣壞了的孩子撒起野來沒有幾個是可愛的。(代郵:〈黑山白水的女兒〉上周刊出後,接姚錦珊女士來電郵,說友人告訴她「黑山白水」一語,東北人素稱「白水黑山」,因有「長白山」和「黑龍江」之故也。我本以為山黑水白天經地義,看了辭典的說明才知「生女直地,有混同江,長白山。混同江亦號黑龍江,所謂白山黑水是也」。見《金史.世紀》。謝謝姚小姐指正。)

11 Responses to 「撒嬌」有沒有英譯 ?

  1. xiao zhu says:

    說話很”嗲”英文怎樣說?這個問題我也問了超過十年了,還未找到貼切、傳神的答案。

  2. kempton says:

    Hi xiao zhu,

    Interesting. While I don’t have an English word for ‘說話很”嗲”’ at the moment, I think there may be one.

    Any suggestions from anyone?

  3. kempton says:

    Interesting suggestion. I wonder if a single English word will fit the bill?

    Any other suggestions?

  4. Winnie says:

    Whine – it’s a bit negative, with a “complaining” sort of feel to it.

    Nag – also a bit negative, with a “demanding” tone.

    “Puppy face” to me seems to be the closest… it’s not in a dictionary, but is often used to refer to the facial expression (and tone of voice).

    In one sense it could be used for 撒嬌. In other instances, it can also be used for kids doing something wrong but put out an “innocent” face.

  5. kempton says:

    Both “whine” and “nag” suffered from the serious problems you indicated and a few others.

    Now, setting aside other problems of “puppy face”, I think one of its problem is that, as you wrote, “it can also be used for kids doing something wrong but put out an “innocent” face.” Whereas, I doubt 撒嬌 can be used in the same manner.

    Thanks for trying Winnie. I think we are still stuck at no good translation for “撒嬌”.

  6. Tara says:

    Sweet talk and coquettish for me under different circumstances, but often times, I need to picture a scenario than simply using the terms aforementioned.

  7. kempton says:

    Tara,

    Thanks for your ideas. Sweet talk and coquettish are interesting takes for 撒嬌. But a man can sweet talk a woman to do something but a man can’t really 撒嬌 without appearing “odd” to put it mildly. :) As for “coquettish”, a daughter can 撒嬌 with her dad with love and sincerity when she is young (or even older), but coquette as m-w defines it is
    “a woman who endeavors without sincere affection to gain the attention and admiration of men”.

    撒嬌 remains one of those tough nuts to crack. :)

  8. […] there are some special words that we can’t find perfect translation. I remember “「撒嬌」有沒有英譯 ?” was a great challenge and interesting […]

  9. 詐嬌 or 撒嬌 is to schmooze!
    Lily From USA

  10. kempton says:

    Hi Lily, thanks for suggesting “schmooze” for 詐嬌 or 撒嬌. Lets take a look of a definition of SCHMOOZE from
    http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/schmooze

    “intransitive verb
    : to converse informally : chat; also : to chat in a friendly and persuasive manner especially so as to gain favor, business, or connections
    transitive verb
    : to engage in schmoozing with ”

    And my Canadian Oxford dictionary offers similar definitions.

    Now, let me quote the following from the above passage, “我在威斯康辛大學教書時有同事 Robert Joe Cutter,掌上明珠剛好到了說話嬌滴滴的年紀,愛撒嬌,但更會一把眼淚一把鼻涕的撒野。一天我在同事家作客,飯後坐在客廳聊天,嬌嬌女跑進來,爬到父親坐的長沙發上,摟着老爸的脖子,吻着他的耳朵說:”Daddy, can I have more ice cream please?””Ask mom.””Mom won’t let me””Well then, no more ice cream””Daddy, please, please, pretty please!””

    In this example, I submit, if we were to use “schmooze” for 撒嬌, it would have lost the key and most important essence of “撒嬌”. Won’t you agree?

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