周恩来说过 “下结论为时尚早” 吗?

英国《星期天泰晤士报》,6月12日,有一篇社论,和周恩来总理有关。

具体地说,写的是西方广为流传的周恩来名言“下结论为时尚早”。

究竟,周总理有没有说过这句名言“下结论为时尚早”呢?若有,他指的又是什么呢?

英国《星期天泰晤士报》是这么说的:这句名言,是一场Lost in Translation –翻译的谬误。

图:peruisay,取自Flickr

文中先提到英国政治上的一场翻译谬误。

80年初期,英国前财政部长Sir Geoffrey Howe (杰弗里·豪男爵)在某个鸡尾酒会上说,“女士、先生,招待会(reception)结束了。”(“Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end of the reception.” )

可是,在场的记者都听错了,在报道新闻时说,财长宣布“经济衰退(recession) 结束了。”

(The journalists, mishearing him, reported the chancellor’s surprising view that the country had reached “the end of the recession”. )

但是,这场错误,和周恩来的名言相比,真是小巫见大巫了。

图:50 Watts (formerly A Journey Round My Skull),取自Flickr

文中说:70年代初,在回答1789–1799年法国大革命的影响时,周恩来说了一句很有名的话– “Too early to say” ((下结论)为时尚早)。”

“这句话,强化了人们对中国人的印象:cunning(狡猾、老练)、subtlety(阴险、费解)、 mind-numbing patience(思想僵化的忍耐力)。”

“现在,当时在场的一位传译员称,当周恩来说 “Too early to say” ((下结论)为时尚早)时,他根本不是针对法国大革命而言。反之,周恩来是针对1968年法国的学生暴动事件而言。”

“这是不是说我们现在将重新评估中国在世界上的运作方式?“Too early to say” ”

原文:Asked in the early 1970s about the effect of the French revolution, he famously remarked: “Too early to say.” Over the years those words have buttressed the reputation of the Chinese for cunning, subtlety and mind-numbing patience. Now an interpreter who was present claims that Zhou was not referring to the French revolution at all but to the student riots in Paris during 1968. Does this mean we will now reassess the way China operates in the world? Too early to say.

翟华:国际流行周恩来名言:“下结论为时尚早”

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Janet Williams 張玉雲

I am Janet Williams, an academic living in the southeast of England. I blog about culture, history, languages and my community. I created Chandler's Ford Today. During my spare time, I make Origami. Thank you for stopping by.

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