J·K·罗琳在哈佛大学毕业典礼上的演讲

作者: 阮一峰

日期: 2008年6月17日

腾讯课堂 NEXT 学院

一、

年6月5日是哈佛大学的毕业典礼,请来的演讲嘉宾是《哈利波特》的作者J.K.罗琳女士。

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她的演讲题目是《失败的好处和想象的重要性》(The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination)。我读了一遍讲稿,觉得很好,很感染人。

她几乎没有谈到哈里波特,而是说了年轻时的一些经历。虽然J·K·罗琳现在很有钱,是英国仅次于女皇的最富有的女人,但是她曾经有一段非常艰辛的日子,30岁了,还差点流落街头。她主要谈的是,自己从这段经历中学到的东西。

去年的演讲嘉宾是比尔·盖茨,我翻译了他的演讲,影响挺大。今年,我继续翻译,有兴趣的朋友可以在网上找到原文和视频

二、

她首先说了自己如何构思演讲稿,以及选择的两个演讲主题。

President Faust, members of the Harvard Corporation and the Board of Overseers, members of the faculty, proud parents, and, above all, graduates.

福斯特校长,哈佛集团的各位成员,监管理事会的各位理事,各位老师,各位自豪的家长,以及最重要的各位毕业生同学,

The first thing I would like to say is 'thank you.' Not only has Harvard given me an extraordinary honour, but the weeks of fear and nausea I have endured at the thought of giving this commencement address have made me lose weight. A win-win situation! Now all I have to do is take deep breaths, squint at the red banners and convince myself that I am at the world's largest Gryffindor reunion.

我想说的第一句话,就是"谢谢"。不仅因为哈佛给了我这样非同一般的荣誉,还因为为了构思今天的演讲,我忍受了几个星期的担惊受怕、茶饭不思的生活,使得我体重减轻。这真可谓"双赢"啊!现在,我唯一要做的就是深呼吸,偷偷看一眼四周飘扬的红色旗帜,让自己相信真的来到了世界上最大的"格兰芬多"聚会。

Delivering a commencement address is a great responsibility; or so I thought until I cast my mind back to my own graduation. The commencement speaker that day was the distinguished British philosopher Baroness Mary Warnock. Reflecting on her speech has helped me enormously in writing this one, because it turns out that I can't remember a single word she said. This liberating discovery enables me to proceed without any fear that I might inadvertently influence you to abandon promising careers in business, the law or politics for the giddy delights of becoming a gay wizard.

在毕业典礼上发表演讲,是一项巨大的责任,令我倍感压力。直到我回忆起了自己的毕业典礼,才稍稍放松。那一次的演讲嘉宾是杰出的英国哲学家玛丽·沃诺克。回想她的演讲,极大地帮助我写作自己的演讲稿,因为我发现一点也不记得她的任何一句话了。这个发现让我如释重负,不再害怕自己在不经意间就对你们产生影响,让你们放弃在商业、法律、政治方面的大好前途,去追求成为一个快乐巫师的那种令人眩晕的愉悦。

You see? If all you remember in years to come is the 'gay wizard' joke, I've come out ahead of Baroness Mary Warnock. Achievable goals: the first step to self improvement.

你们明白吗?如果多年以后,你们只记得我讲的这个"快乐巫师"的笑话,我就已经超过玛丽·沃诺克了。可以实现的目标,是自己改进的第一步。

Actually, I have wracked my mind and heart for what I ought to say to you today. I have asked myself what I wish I had known at my own graduation, and what important lessons I have learned in the 21 years that have expired between that day and this.

实际上,我真的是绞尽脑汁,思索今天自己到底应该讲什么。我问自己,当年我毕业的时候,希望知道哪些事情;以及21年后的今天,我又从人生中得到哪些重要的经验教训。

I have come up with two answers. On this wonderful day when we are gathered together to celebrate your academic success, I have decided to talk to you about the benefits of failure. And as you stand on the threshold of what is sometimes called 'real life', I want to extol the crucial importance of imagination.

我得到了两个回答。这个美妙的日子,我们聚集一堂,庆祝你们在学业上的成功,但是我决定跟你们说说失败的好处。以及当你们站在所谓"真实世界"的门槛之上的时候,我要颂扬想象力的重要性。

These may seem quixotic or paradoxical choices, but please bear with me.

这样的主题可能看上去有点异想天开和自相矛盾,但是请听下去。

三、

她开始回忆自己大学毕业时的情景:

Looking back at the 21-year-old that I was at graduation, is a slightly uncomfortable experience for the 42-year-old that she has become. Half my lifetime ago, I was striking an uneasy balance between the ambition I had for myself, and what those closest to me expected of me.

对于一个42岁的妇女来说,回想自己21岁毕业时的情景,是一种稍稍令人不安的经历。回到21年之前,我正遭受煎熬,不知道在自己内心的追求与父母对我的期望之间,应该如何平衡。

I was convinced that the only thing I wanted to do, ever, was to write novels. However, my parents, both of whom came from impoverished backgrounds and neither of whom had been to college, took the view that my overactive imagination was an amusing personal quirk that would never pay a mortgage, or secure a pension. I know that the irony strikes with the force of a cartoon anvil, now.

当时,我确信自己一生中唯一想做的事情,就是去写小说。但是,我的父母出身贫寒,没有受过大学教育。他们认为,我那些不安分的想象力只是一种怪癖,根本不能用来还房贷,或者挣来养老金。我现在知道,这种人生的反讽,有着卡通片里大铁砧般的巨大打击力。

So they hoped that I would take a vocational degree; I wanted to study English Literature. A compromise was reached that in retrospect satisfied nobody, and I went up to study Modern Languages. Hardly had my parents' car rounded the corner at the end of the road than I ditched German and scuttled off down the Classics corridor.

他们希望我再去读个职业学位,而我想去研究英国文学。最后,达成了一个双方都不甚满意的妥协:我改学语言学。可是等到父母的车消失在公路的转角,我就立刻抛掉了德语,奔向古典文学的道路。

I cannot remember telling my parents that I was studying Classics; they might well have found out for the first time on graduation day. Of all the subjects on this planet, I think they would have been hard put to name one less useful than Greek mythology when it came to securing the keys to an executive bathroom.

我不记得将这事告诉了父母。他们可能是在毕业典礼那一天才发现的。我想,在全世界的所有专业中,他们也许认为,不会有比研究希腊神话更没用的专业了,根本无法换来一间独立的宽敞卫生间。

I would like to make it clear, in parenthesis, that I do not blame my parents for their point of view. There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction; the moment you are old enough to take the wheel, responsibility lies with you. What is more, I cannot criticise my parents for hoping that I would never experience poverty. They had been poor themselves, and I have since been poor, and I quite agree with them that it is not an ennobling experience. Poverty entails fear, and stress, and sometimes depression; it means a thousand petty humiliations and hardships. Climbing out of poverty by your own efforts, that is indeed something on which to pride yourself, but poverty itself is romanticised only by fools.

我要申明,我并不责怪父母有这种看法。父母只在一段时间内,对你的人生方向负责;当你长大以后,你自己就控制了人生方向,必须自己承担责任。而且,他们只是希望我不要过穷日子,我不能批评他们。他们自己很穷,我后来一度也很穷,所以我很理解他们,贫穷是一种悲惨的经历。它带来恐惧、压力、有时还有抑郁。它意味着许许多多的羞辱和艰辛。靠自己的努力摆脱贫穷,确实让人自豪,但是只有傻瓜才会将贫穷本身浪漫化。

接着,她谈到了自己那些最悲惨的日子:

A mere seven years after my graduation day, I had failed on an epic scale.

我毕业后只过了7年,就失败得一塌糊涂。

An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless. The fears my parents had had for me, and that I had had for myself, had both come to pass, and by every usual standard, I was the biggest failure I knew.

短命的婚姻闪电般地破裂,我还失业了,成了一个艰难的单身母亲。除了流浪汉,我是当代英国最穷的人之一,真的一无所有。我父母对我的担忧,我对自己的担忧,都变成了现实。用平常人的标准,我是我所知道的最失败的人。

That period of my life was a dark one. I had no idea how far the tunnel extended, and for a long time, any light at the end of it was a hope rather than a reality.

那段日子是我生命中的黑暗岁月。我不知道还要在黑暗中走多久,很长一段时间中,我有的只是希望,而不是现实。

但是,J.K. 罗琳认为,没有那段日子的失败,就不会有后来的她。

So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.

为什么我说失败是有好处的?因为失败将那些非本质的东西都剥离了。我不再伪装自己,我找到了真正的我,我将自己所有的精力,投入完成对我最重要的唯一一项工作。

Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.

要是我以前在其他地方成功了,那么我也许永远不会有这样的决心,投身于这个我自信真正属于我的领域。

I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.

我自由了,因为我最大的恐惧已经成为现实,而我却还依然活着,依然有一个深爱着的女儿,我还有一台旧打字机和一个大大的梦想。我生命中最低的低点,成为我重建生活的坚实基础。

Failure gave me an inner security that I had never attained by passing examinations. Failure taught me things about myself that I could have learned no other way. I discovered that I had a strong will, and more discipline than I had suspected; I also found out that I had friends whose value was truly above rubies.

失败使我的内心产生一种安全感,以前通过考试也没有的安全感。失败让我看清自己,以前我从没认识到自己是这样的。我发现,我比自己以为的,有更强的意志和决心。我还发现,我有一些比宝石更珍贵的朋友。

You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.

只有到逆境来临的那一天,你才会真正了解你自己,了解你结识的人。这种了解是真正的财富,虽然是用痛苦换来的,但是它比我以前得到的任何证书都有用。

在演说的下半部分,她还谈了毕业后在大*赦*国*际(Amnesty International)伦敦总部的第一份工作。这部分内容也很精彩,不过我就不翻译了,大家可以去看原文。

三、

我要重点谈的,是演说的结尾部分。

一般来说,在演讲结束时,嘉宾将对毕业生提出期望。我们可以看到,在这种场合,几乎所有嘉宾,都没有说"祝愿同学们取得个人成功",而是说"希望同学们努力去减轻人类的苦难"。

比尔·盖茨去年说:

Should Harvard encourage its faculty to take on the world's worst inequities? Should Harvard students learn about the depth of global poverty ... the prevalence of world hunger ... the scarcity of clean water ...the girls kept out of school ... the children who die from diseases we can cure?

哈佛是否鼓励她的老师去研究解决世界上最严重的不平等?哈佛的学生是否从全球那些极端的贫穷中学到了什么......世界性的饥荒......清洁的水资源的缺乏......无法上学的女童......死于非恶性疾病的儿童......哈佛的学生有没有从中学到东西?

Should the world's most privileged people learn about the lives of the world's least privileged?

那些世界上过着最优越生活的人们,有没有从那些最困难的人们身上学到东西?

These are not rhetorical questions - you will answer with your policies.

这些问题并非语言上的修辞。你必须用自己的行动来回答它们。

When you consider what those of us here in this Yard have been given - in talent, privilege, and opportunity - there is almost no limit to what the world has a right to expect from us.

想一想吧,我们在这个院子里的这些人,被给予过什么----天赋、特权、机遇----那么可以这样说,全世界的人们几乎有无限的权力,期待我们做出贡献。

J.K.罗琳今年说:

the fact that you are graduating from Harvard suggests that you are not very well-acquainted with failure. You might be driven by a fear of failure quite as much as a desire for success. Indeed, your conception of failure might not be too far from the average person's idea of success, so high have you already flown academically.

你们是哈佛毕业生的这个事实,说明你们并不很了解失败。你们也许极其渴望成功,所以非常害怕失败。说实话,你们眼中的失败,很可能就是普通人眼中的成功,毕竟你们在学业上已经很成功了。

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people's lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities....... That is your privilege, and your burden.

但是,所有各位哈佛大学2008届毕业生,你们对其他人的生活了解多少?你们的智慧、你们的能力、你们所受的教育,给了你们独一无二的优势,也给了你们独一无二的责任。......你们的优势就是你们的责任。

If you choose to use your status and influence to raise your voice on behalf of those who have no voice; if you choose to identify not only with the powerful, but with the powerless; if you retain the ability to imagine yourself into the lives of those who do not have your advantages, then it will not only be your proud families who celebrate your existence, but thousands and millions of people whose reality you have helped transform for the better.

你们要用自己的地位和影响,为那些被忽略的人们说话;你们不仅要看到那些有权有势者,也要看到那些无权无势者;你们要学会设想,那些条件不如你们的人们是如何生活的;那样的话,不仅你们的亲人们将为你们感到自豪,而且千千万万的人们将因为你们的帮助而生活得更好。

We do not need magic to change the world, we carry all the power we need inside ourselves already: we have the power to imagine better.

我们不需要改变世界的魔法,我们自己的体内就有这样的力量:那就是我们一直在梦想,让这个世界变得更美好。

(完)

留言(41条)


昨天说想知道的

今天就成帖子了

多谢阮

精彩的演讲!
谢谢。

好!

because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.
受教了

精彩,感谢你的翻译。

精彩的演讲

谢谢阮兄!很棒的演讲,很棒的翻译!

太精彩了!哈佛毕业的演讲,好吸引,好颤动.谢谢你的翻译,加油!
有比尔盖茨的演讲的翻译吗?好有兴趣,有的话可以发给我吗?邮箱地址是hskajing@163.com.
谢谢!

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree
可不可以翻译成,他们希望我上职业学校。

真好

阮老师,您的翻译真棒!谢谢!

很有价值的启迪,谢谢您的辛劳。

thanks

谢谢.

呵呵,和菜头的blog上今天有全文翻译。

搜了一下vocational degree的说明

What is a vocational degree?
Technical and vocational college degree programs prepare you for a specific trade, job or career.

技术职业大学的学位可以为你提供一个特定的手艺、工作、事业。

引用崔骄峰的发言:

They had hoped that I would take a vocational degree
可不可以翻译成,他们希望我上职业学校。

不可以这样译。

vocational degree指的是工商管理硕士MBA、公共管理硕士MPA之类的学位。

阮老师,谢谢你的推荐和翻译,很珍贵的学习资料。

关于翻译上,上面Bill Gates说的一句话的翻译上我有不同意见。原文与原翻译是:

原文:These are not rhetorical questions – you will answer with your policies.

原翻译:这些问题并非语言上的修辞。你必须用自己的行动来回答它们。

我觉得rhetorical questions有特定的意思,类似中文中的设问或反问(看语境决定),就是自问自答或者无需回答而回答显而易见的一种问题,我觉得你翻译为语言上的修辞有点让人想到语言上的修饰上面去,而不是作为这种句式在语言中的作用上面去,容易造成歧义,你觉得怎样?

hi
我忽然想请教你,你觉得怎样做才能最有效的提高英语呢?尤其是词汇量和写作,谢谢~

An exceptionally short-lived marriage had imploded, and I was jobless, a lone parent, and as poor as it is possible to be in modern Britain, without being homeless.
意思是:婚姻异常短命,加上失业,成了单身母亲,尽管我还有地方可住,可是已经在伦敦这个现代都市里穷得一塌糊涂。

好像跟流浪汉没什么关系吧?

不过还是很感谢阮兄的劳动~~学习了……thanks a lot!

额...我准备学英文
阮兄能不能写一篇关于如何学英文的文章
需要你的经验之谈....
不是想索求一些秘诀什么的
只是想知道正确的方式...不至于误入歧途 做无用功...谢谢啦

引用ooooofred的发言:

额...我准备学英文
阮兄能不能写一篇关于如何学英文的文章

找几本有兴趣的原版书,精读一遍。

引用imick的发言:

我觉得rhetorical questions有特定的意思,类似中文中的设问或反问(看语境决定),就是自问自答或者无需回答而回答显而易见的一种问题,我觉得你翻译为语言上的修辞有点让人想到语言上的修饰上面去,而不是作为这种句式在语言中的作用上面去,容易造成歧义,你觉得怎样?

应该你是对的,我译错了。

谢谢阮兄...这个方法听起来很独特
主要是词汇量太小 看起来很困难...记忆力也不好
我去找点简单的书来看看....

谢谢阮先生分享有营养的文章。

精彩的演讲,英文的简练优势

关于vacational degree, 我认为崔骄峰的翻译是对的。大多这类的degree都是两年制的。这里是wikianswer的答案:
Technical and vocational college degree programs prepare you for a specific trade, job or career. Generally, these colleges offer two-year programs, though some offer three- and four-year programs, as well. Likewise, most help you earn a license, certificate or associates degree; while some may help you earn a bachelor's degree. Community colleges may also offer technical and vocational courses. You may be interested in earning a certificate in Web development, becoming a licensed veterinary assistant, working in the food service and hospitality industry, or learning about the latest technology in your current job. These are just a few of the many different programs offered at technical and vocational colleges. Find out which ones offer the courses that interest you.


几乎所有嘉宾,都没有说“祝愿同学们取得个人成功”,而是说“希望同学们努力去减轻人类的苦难”。
这是为什么呢?是说作为美国这样一个超级大国的名校毕业生,就是要作为一个地球人一样的胸怀世界啊?

引用ginger的发言:

关于vacational degree, 我认为崔骄峰的翻译是对的。大多这类的degree都是两年制的。

查了一下,好像是我想当然,搞错了。

MBA学位应该是professional degrees,不是vocational degree。后者指的是职业学位,对应于国内的“技术等级”,而不是职校。

他们的演讲与2007年诺贝尔文学奖获得者多丽丝·莱辛的演讲稿在胸怀世界这一点上是一致的,这应该就是传说中的人文关怀吧?
世界主义本来不就是比民族主义更宽广吗?都是人,为什么非要搞民族划分呢?

每次看到您的博文。要感谢网络。更要感谢阮大哥您。
精彩的演讲。
似乎在西方人大于我。可在中国。我永远是在第一位。
从一篇演讲能看出一个民族的气质来。也能看出教育的成果。

西方人往往都把自己当作世界的拯救者。

请问如何才能下载到视频?

看的过程,以及看后
一直有流泪的冲动

虽然生活在不同的国家,但一样的感触!

But how much more are you, Harvard graduates of 2008, likely to touch other people’s lives? Your intelligence, your capacity for hard work, the education you have earned and received, give you unique status, and unique responsibilities.…… That is your privilege, and your burden.

在这里我觉得burden应译为负担,and做连接词在这里并不表示并列关系,而是表示轻微的转折关系,即他们的这些才智与学历是他们的优势,但从另外一方面而言又是一种负担,一种拖累. 这样的翻译就与前面所有内容呼应了,因为罗琳的巨大成功源自与极度失败的体验,这也是为什么她在这段话中用But开头的原因.

西方人的胸怀的确宽广

引用蔡玉环的发言:
每次看到您的博文。要感谢网络。更要感谢阮大哥您。精彩的演讲。似乎在西方人大于我。可在中国。我永远是在第一位。从一篇演讲能看出一个民族的气质来。也能看出教育的成果。

中国人不是有一句"天下非一人的天下"吗?还有一句"先天下之忧而忧,后天下之乐而乐".
只是我们做不到罢了。但是西方人又有多少个做到J·K·罗琳的话呢?
大家都是说一套做一套,东方西方人不也一个样?

太棒了,谢谢!我一向很支持罗琳。

gay wizard这一句据说是指邓布利多,因为他是一个同性恋。

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