One Saucer More
◎ Jin Shenghua
I’ve been told the following anecdote by a friend of mine：
When Chen Chih-fan，professor of electronics，was about to leave the U.S．for Hong Kong to take up his new post at the Chinese University of Hong Kong，he did packing at home with his wife．They owned a beautiful tea set，but while packing up，they had one of the cups broken through carelessness.
Ordinary people would have got very upset over it，as it was always troublesome to replace the broken cup to complete the set.
Professor Chen，however，reacted to it differently．He said calmly with a smile，“Wow！Now we’ve got one saucer more！”
The attitude of always looking on the bright side of things will definitely be of inestimable benefit to us in our real life.
Professor Chen has distinguished himself both as a scientist and an essayist．His prose writings，which have been published in several collections，are known for their fresh and expressive style．I was struck with admiration when I first read them，and I remember how I marvelled then at the keen insight and wisdom displayed between the lines as well as his beautiful language.
Things seldom go one’s way．That’s a popular saying too old to warrant re-quoting．But，one will certainly meet with one setback after another on his life’s long journey.
When frustrated，one is apt to wonder why the more fortunate can fare so well either in business or officialdom，making a pile or enjoying both fame and wealth，while he himself，like an old ox pulling a rickety cart，has to trudge all by himself on a country road thick with dusk.
Is that true？Now take for example a cup half filled with water．Some，in the face of it，may exclaim with delight，“Great，the cup is half full！”Some may grumble gloomily，“Too bad，the cup is half empty！”You see how the two kinds of people differ.
(1)“一般人的反应，一定是感到十分心疼”中的“十分心疼”可按“十分心烦”之意译为very upset或much distressed等。全句可译为Ordinary people would have got very upset about it，其中would have got是虚拟式。此句也可译为To ordinary people，this would have been a matter of much regret。
(2)“好端端的成套茶具，打破一只杯，如何去配？”英译时可按如下肯定句“不易更新茶杯，以便为茶具配套”处理：always troublesome to replace the broken cup to complete the set。
(3)“能耐”本应按“本领”之意译为ability等，但此处最好按“态度”之意译为attitude。见原句英译：The attitude of always looking on the bright side of things will definitely be of inestimable benefit to us in our real life。
(4)“当年曾使我折服不已”中的“当年”该如何译，颇费思索，现按“从前阅读时”译为when I first read them。全句的译文是：I was struck with admiration when I first read them。
(5)“人生不如意事常八九”译为Things seldom go one’s way。也可译为Things often do not turn out as one wishes或Ten to one，things do not go the way as one wishes。
(6)“老得几乎令人不想再重复”可直译成so trite that people no longer feel like quoting it。现译为too old to warrant re-quoting，其中warrant一词意为“需要”（to call for）。
(7)“财源广进”可按“发财”之意译为making a pile或amassing a fortune等。
(8)“好呀！还有半杯”和“哎呀！只剩下半杯了”可分别直译成Great，we still have half a cup！和Too bad，only half a cup left！。但均不如分别作以下处理可取：Great，the cup is half full！和Too bad，the cup is half empty！其优点是简洁、俏皮。