10 No. 386, 4.11.2011 …… 如是說 Thus Spake… 你翻譯了但丁的《神曲》，有說你的意大利文是自學的，可 是真的？ 不是。我最初在香港大學唸意大利文，接着報讀了香港意 大利文化協會的課程，及後遠赴意大利佛羅倫斯大學深 造，當時選修了意大利文、意大利文學和專研但丁《神曲》 的科目。回港後，我經常閱讀意大利文學作品，特別愛讀 意大利詩歌。要掌握一種活語言，相比於自學，上課有效得 多，尤其是由以該種語言為母語的老師任教的話。因為上 課可以互動交流，遠遠勝過靜態的自學。 愈來愈少人唸文學翻譯及文學，你有何看法？ 很可惜。我讀書的那個年代，很多學生唸英國文學，特別是 有名的官津補助學校。唸過英國文學，唸過大文豪如莎士 比亞的著作，你的英文會不一樣。我有幸中六時已有機會 讀到大師級的作品，如莎士比亞、約翰．彌爾頓和塞繆爾． 約翰遜。現在愈來愈少中六學生對經典作品有興趣，中英 皆然。我常用這個作為文學翻譯課的開場白：「唸文學不會 使你成為李嘉誠；但讀過這些鉅著，你的精神領域就是不 同，會更加欣賞上帝的偉大創造，精神生活更加豐盛。」 意大利文外，你又懂法文、西班牙文，更寫得一手漂亮的中 英文，除了天分，是如何練就？ 其實我的中英文都有待改進。回想中學時代，我得感激母 校皇仁書院給我均衡接觸中英文的機會。皇仁雖然是所英 文官校，主要以英語授課，但同樣着重中文，我和同學也參 加過中文寫作比賽。記得唸中三時拿了獎，當時的評判是 一位很有名的專欄作家，以為皇仁學生只是長於英文。他 見我參加又得獎，就打趣說：「你是來自皇仁的嗎？怎麼今 天不「炒雞腸」了？」（英文草書彎彎曲曲的，那個年代被 戲稱為「雞腸」。）學習語言，興趣是很重要的，在年輕時， 更要多閱讀。 你曾於不同院校任教，中大學生與其他院校的相比，有何 不同？ 中大生很出色，可謂精英中的精英。我在很多不同場合 也提及，中大過去數十年發展有目共睹，畢業生應以母校 為傲。身為大學一員，實在與有榮焉，在中大教書確是很 開心。 完成了名著《哈姆雷特》的譯註，有何可分享？為何選這作 品？ 《哈姆雷特》匠心獨運，作為翻譯的原素材，非常考功夫。 這是莎士比亞登峰造極之作，瘋魔世世代代的文學師生， 我自己當然也不例外。我在大學時上了這個劇的課，年日 漸長，愈發懂得欣賞莎士比亞作為詩人和劇作家的偉大之 處。2006至07年，我任教一科論及戲劇翻譯的科目，談到 譯者可以怎樣處理戲劇，特別是不同時期戲劇大師的名 著，我就試譯了《哈》的第一幕第一場，與同學課上討論， 藉此引導他們留意很多譯者常忽略之處。數年前我完成整 個劇本的翻譯，雖然花了不少時間，卻令人振奮。 談談你的詩劇創作，為何會選這體裁？ 除了學術文章外，未來我計劃把時間分配在創意寫作和 翻譯。我剛完成一篇一千三百多行的敍事詩，很快會於文 學雜誌發表。兩年前，《城市文藝》也刊登過我一個八幕 的詩劇本。過去數十年我創作很多小品，是時候做一些新 嘗試，例如敍事詩或詩劇。我一向對這兩種形式有興趣， 愛其變化多端，不拘一格，當然更是因為對荷馬、但丁、約 翰．彌爾頓、古希臘悲劇家索福克萊斯、莎士比亞，以及其 他大文豪的景仰。 You translated Dante’s Divine Comedy . Rumour has it that you taught yourself Italian. Is that true? No, I first learnt Italian at the University of Hong Kong, then at the Dante Alighieri Society, and finally 翻譯系研究教授 黃國彬教授 Prof. Laurence Wong, Research Professor, Department of Translation at Florence University in Italy, where I took courses in Italian language, in Italian literature, and in Dante’s Divine Comedy . After I came back, I kept reading Italian literature, particularly Italian poetry. With a living language, taking courses—particularly courses taught by teachers who are native speakers of the standard form of the language—is much more effective than self-teaching. Taking courses is a dynamic, interactive process, far superior to static self-teaching. The number of students studying literary translation and literature has been declining. What do you think of that? It’s a pity. In my school days, many students, especially those of famous government or grant-in-aid schools, took English literature. Your English will never be the same after you have studied great writers like Shakespeare. I was lucky at school, because in Form 6, I had the opportunity to study the works of the masters, including Shakespeare, Milton, and Johnson. Nowadays, fewer and fewer Secondary 6 students are interested in the classics, whether Chinese or English. By way of introduction, I often tell students of literary translation, ‘Literature won’t make you a Li Ka-shing, but once you have studied literature, your spiritual world will never be the same again; you will be able to appreciate God’s glorious Creation much better, and your spiritual life will be richer.’ Besides Italian, you also know French and Spanish, and you write beautiful Chinese and English. Talent aside, how did you become so good at languages? Even with my Chinese and English, there is still much room for improvement. Looking back on my school days, I am grateful to my alma mater, Queen’s College (QC), which provided me with a balanced exposure to Chinese and English. At Queen’s College, an Anglo-Chinese government school, classes were taught in English, but QC also attached a lot of importance to the teaching of Chinese. My classmates and I took part in Chinese writing contests. I remember winning one in Form 3. The adjudicator was a famous newspaper columnist who was under the impression that QC students were only good at English. Seeing me, he joked, ‘So you’re from Queen’s College. How come you’re not “stir-frying chicken intestines” today?’ (English is sometimes referred to as ‘chicken intestines’ in colloquial Cantonese because of the resemblance of the cursive writing of English to the said offal.) I think interest is important in language acquisition. You also need to read a lot, especially when young. You have taught at different universities. How do CUHK students compare to students of other institutions? CUHK students are wonderful; they are la crème de la crème, the best of the best. I have spoken and written about this on more than one occasion, and said that CUHK alumni should be proud of their alma mater for the tremendous progress it has made in the past decades. As a member of CUHK, I share their pride. It is a joy to teach at CUHK. What was your experience translating Hamlet ? Why Hamlet ? Hamlet is fascinating and challenging as a source text; it is Shakespeare’s magic play, enthralling all teachers and students of literature, myself being no exception. I studied the play in one of the courses I took in my undergraduate years. As time went by, I appreciated Shakespeare’s greatness as a poet and playwright more and more. In 2006–07, I taught a translation course which covered drama translation. To show what a translator could do with drama, particularly with the work of the greatest dramatist of all time, I translated Act I, scene i of Hamlet , and discussed my draft with students in class, drawing their attention to pitfalls many translators were not aware of. I finished translating the whole play a couple of years ago. The project was time-consuming but exhilarating. Could you tell us about your creative projects, in particular, your poetic dramas? Why this particular genre? In the coming years, apart from academic papers, I shall divide my time between creative writing and translation. I’ve just finished a narrative poem of some 1,300 lines, which is going to appear in a literary magazine soon. Two years ago, I had an eight-act verse play published in the Hong Kong Literature Monthly . Having written so many short pieces during the past decades, I think it’s time to try my hand at something new, especially at narrative poetry and poetic drama. I’ve long been interested in these two genres, perhaps because of the wide range of possibilities they hold out for me—not to mention my deep admiration for Homer, Dante, Milton, Sophocles, Shakespeare, and their fellow Olympians.