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[翻译]Words and Their Stories - 'To Err Is Human ...'

更新时间:2017/7/2 10:51:47 来源:本站原创 作者:佚名

Now, the VOA Learning English program Words and Their Stories.

On this program we explore the origins of common expressions in American English and, more importantly, how to use them.

在这档节目中,我们会探讨美式英语中常见表达的来源,更重要的是探讨如何使用这些常用表达。

We really want to do an excellent job teaching and entertaining our audience. So, we try to do this program as best we can every time.

我们的确想要出色地教育和娱乐我们的听众。所以我们每次都尽我们所能来做好这档节目。

But sometimes we make mistakes. We err.

但是有时候我们会犯错。

Making a mistake is not pleasant, but it is natural. One well-known saying begins, “To err is human…” In other words, making mistakes is part of being a person.

犯错很不爽,但是也在情理之中。常言道:“人非圣贤孰能无过。”换句话来说,犯错乃人之常情。

But what about those who suffer because of someone else's mistake?

但是那些因为他人犯错而自己遭殃的人是怎么想的呢?

The saying answers this question, too. It says, “…to forgive (is) divine.”

同样有句谚语回答了这个问题。这句话说的是“宽恕是神圣的美德。”

That means that excusing others for their faults makes us a little better than just being human. The act is god-like.

这意味着,原谅他人的错误让我们略超越人类。这种行为就像上帝一样。

This popular saying is an old one. It comes from the 18th century English poet Alexander Pope. He wrote about forgiveness in an essay titled "An Essay on Criticism."

这种常用说法历史悠久。它出自于18世纪英国诗人亚历山大·波普(Alexander Pope)。他在一篇题为《论批评》的短文中谈到了宽恕。
 

FILE - View of the deteriorated version of 'Ecce Homo' mural by 19th century painter Elias Garcia Martinez, right, next to a copy of the original, left, at the Borja Church in Zaragoza, Spain, Wednesday, March 16, 2016. An attempt to restore the original fresco did not turn out well. (AP Photo/Javier Vinuela)

However, Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary says the original idea is older than that. In 1678 Thomas Jones wrote, "To err, is human; to recover, is Angelical; to persevere is Diabolical.” But this saying wasn't as memorable and, therefore, it just didn't stick.

然而,韦氏在线词典表示,最早的理念比这更为久远。1678年托马斯·琼斯(Thomas Jones)写道:“犯错乃人之常情,知错就改的是天使,冥顽不灵的是恶魔。”但是这种说法没那么记忆深刻,因此没有流传下来。

"Err" comes from the Latin word "errare,” meaning “to stray or wander.” Related words, such as errant and erroneous, have the same Latin origin.

Err出自拉丁语errare,意思是游离。errant和erroneous这些相关单词也有相同的拉丁语起源。

But the noun form of “err,” error, appears in many American English expressions.

但是名词形式的err、error出现在了很多美式英语的表达中。

For example, human error is often the reason police give for a preventable – but unplanned – accident. If a train crashes because the driver fell asleep, that crash was caused by human error.

例如,人为错误通常是警察对可预防但意外发生的事故给出的原因。如果一辆火车因为司机睡着了而撞车,这种事故就是人为错误造成的。

But some errors or mistakes are nobody's fault directly.

但是有些错误并非任何人的直接责任。

Let's say a plane crashes. An investigation proves that the crash was caused by an undetectable engine problem. There was nothing the pilot could have done differently to prevent the crash. In this case, the cause of the crash was not pilot error.

我们假设发生了一场空难。调查证明,这次事故是检测不到的引擎故障造成的。飞行员怎么做都无法阻止这次坠机。

But that is enough talk about crashes.

事故说得够多了。

Let's say this pilot is on the runway preparing to take off. Suddenly, a bad storm begins. She could take off but decides to wait until the storm passes. We could say she wants to err on the side of caution. This simply means that of all the options available, you choose the safest one.

我们假设这位飞行员在跑道上准备起飞。突然一场大风暴来了。她可以起飞但是决定等到风暴过去。我们可以说她宁可慎之又慎。这句话的意思是你在众多选择中选了最安全的一个。

If you feel sick one day but feel fine the next, you may err on the side of caution and stay home from work.

如果你有天生病了,但是第二天就康复了。你也许宁可慎之又慎,在家再休息一天。

You can err on the side of other things. For example, let's say your child's school asks for a money donation to build a new playground. You don't know how much other parents are giving. So, you err on the side of generosity and give more than you think is expected.

你也可以宁可选择其它事情。例如,我们假设你孩子的学校要求捐款建造一个新游乐场。你不知道其他家长捐多少钱,所以你宁可慷慨一点,比自己预期多捐一点。

Here's another example. If a person has treated you badly in the past, you can err on the side of being polite to them.

以下是另一个例子。如果有人过去对你不好,你宁可选择以礼待人。

Acting politely is the right thing to do. And it's good for another reason, as well. When you are nice to people who have treated you badly in the past, they may re-think their bad behavior. They may see the error of their ways.

以礼相待是正确的做法。出于另一个原因也有好处。当你善待过去对你不好的人,他们可能会反思他们的恶劣行为。他们可能会看到自己行为的错误。

We often use this phrase when we want to say that a person has realized the things they have done wrong. But be warned – we don’t use this phrase lightly. The "error" in this expression is usually a serious problem with a person's character or behavior that may cause trouble.

当我们想说一个人已经认识到自己错误的时候,我们经常会使用这句短语。但是注意不要轻易使用这句短语。这句话中的error通常是指某人性格或行为的严重问题,这可能会制造麻烦。

This expression also means the person became aware and then fixed the problem.

这种表达也意味着这个人意识到了这个问题,然后解决了这个问题。

Let's go back to the pilot.

让我们继续说飞行员。

Imagine she had a bad habit of working too hard. She would lie about her long flight assignments so that she could fly even more routes. However, one day she realized that she was putting the passengers in danger. She saw the error of her ways and stopped.

假设她有工作过于勤劳的坏习惯。她会对自己的长途飞行任务说谎,这样就能飞更多航线。但有一天,她意识到自己把乘客置于危险之中。她意识到了自己的错误并且停止了这种行为。

If her supervisor had caught her and forced her to change her work habits, you would not use this expression. And you would not say the supervisor saw the error in her ways. It is always a self-discovery.

如果她的上级发现了她,并且强迫她改变工作习惯,你就不会用这种表达。你不会说上级主管意识到了她行为的错误,因为这通常是一种自省。

Now, talking about self-discovery brings us to scientific discoveries.

谈论自省让我们想到了科学发现。

Scientists are very careful people, but scientific research is full of errors. Scientists know this. So, they sometimes say that their findings have a margin of error. That margin, or amount, shows how accurate they think their answer really is.

科学家们非常细心,但是科学研究充满谬误。科学家们深知这点。所以他们有时候会说他们的发现有个误差范围。这个范围表明他们如何真实看待自己答案的准确度。

You can also add prepositions to this expression. For example, if something is unlikely to happen based on information you have collected about it, it is outside the margin of error. If it is likely to happen, it is within the margin of error.

你也可以在这种表达中添加介词。例如,如果基于你收集到的信息,某些事情不太可能发生,这就超出了误差范围。如果可能发生,那就是在误差范围内。

Another scientific term that we use in any part of our lives is trial and error. Trial and error means you find the best way to do something by trying many ways and getting rid of the ways that failed.

我们日常生活中用到的另一个科学术语就是试错。试错是指通过尝试多种办法,并摒弃错误的办法,从而找出最好的办法。

Sometimes here at VOA, creating new programs for our listeners involves some trial and error. Sure, it is helpful to know which programs in the past were popular. But times change and so do audiences. We need to be willing to try new things -- that's the trial part -- and fail, or make an error.

有时候在美国之音,给听众们做新节目就涉及试错。当然,知道哪些节目过去很受欢迎是有帮助的。但是时过境迁,听众们也在改变。我们需要愿意去尝试新鲜事物,这就是试错。

If we do fail, I hope you will err on the side of forgiveness and give us another chance.

如果我们失败了,我希望你们偏于宽恕,再给我们一次机会。

And that's the end of Words and Their Stories.

I’m Jonathan Evans …

and I'm Anna Matteo.

Words in This Story

divine – adj. of, relating to, or proceeding directly from God

stick – v. to remain in a place, situation, or environment

error – n. something that is not correct : a wrong action or statement

errant – adj. straying outside the proper path or bounds : behaving wrongly

erroneous – adj. not correct

undetectable – adj. impossible to discover or notice

caution– n. care taken to avoid danger or risk : a careful attitude or way of behaving

generosity – n. the quality of being kind, understanding, and not selfish : the quality of being generous

polite – adj. having or showing good manners or respect for other people

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