The definition of a ‘beast’ has caused controversy for centuries. Though this might surprise some first-time students of Magizoology, the problem might come into clearer focus if we take a moment to consider three types of magical creature.
自古以来,“兽”之定义,众说纷纭。相信这一点会让初涉神奇动物学的人吃惊。不过,现在让我们花点时间来看看下面这三种神奇动物,这个问题的焦点也许会更清晰。

 

Werewolves spend most of their time as humans (whether wizard or Muggle). Once a month, however, they transform into savage, four-legged beasts of murderous intent and no human conscience.
狼人大多时候是以人的形态出现,可能是巫师,也可能是麻瓜。不过每个月他们都会变身为嗜血凶残、毫无人性的野兽。

 

The centaurs’ habits are not human-like; they live in the wild, refuse clothing, prefer to live apart from wizards and Muggles alike and yet have intelligence equal to theirs.
人马的习性和人不同。人马在野外生活,无衣物蔽体,喜欢在远离巫师和麻瓜的地方生活。但是他们的智力与人类不相上下。

 

Trolls bear a humanoid appearance, walk upright, may be taught a few simple words and yet are less intelligent than the dullest unicorn and possess no magical powers in their own right except for their prodigious and unnatural strength.
巨怪的外貌与人类相似,可以直立行走,也能学会一些简单的词语。但他们的智商实在太低,这么来说吧,就连最笨的独角兽都比他们好。而且巨怪天生蛮力,除了这个也没别的本事了。

 

We now ask ourselves: which of these creatures is a ‘being’ —that is to say, a creature worthy of legal rights and a voice in the governance of the magical world — and which is a ‘beast’?
好了,我们来反思一下:这三种生物当中,哪些是在魔法世界中有合法权利和发言权的“人”,而哪些是“兽”?

 

Early attempts at deciding which magical creatures should be designated ‘beasts’ were extremely crude.
起初,对“兽”的定义分类非常简单粗暴。

 

Burdock Muldoon, Chief of the Wizards’ Council1 in the fourteenth century, decreed that any member of the magical community that walked on two legs would henceforth be granted the status of ‘being’, all others to remain ‘beasts’. In a spirit of friendship he summoned all ‘beings’ to meet with the wizards at a summit to discuss new magical laws and found to his intense dismay that he had miscalculated. The meeting hall was crammed with goblins who had brought with them as many two-legged creatures as they could find. As Bathilda Bagshot tells us in A History of Magic:
十四世纪时,巫师议会注1议长布尔多克·马尔登试图将“人”定义为“魔法世界中用两条腿行走的任一份子”,剩下的则都被纳入“兽”。后来,本着友好的精神,马尔登邀请所有的“人”出席高峰会,会上与巫师共商新魔法法例。结果,他发现自己的判断严重失误。高峰会上,妖精把找得到的“两条腿生物”全都带了过来,一起把整个会场砸得稀巴烂。下文引自巴希达·巴沙特的著作《魔法史》:

1 The Wizards’s Council preceded the Ministry of Magic
注1:巫师议会为魔法部的前身。

 

Little could be heard over the squawking of the Diricawls, the moaning of the Augureys and the relentless, piercing song of the Fwoopers. As wizards and witches attempted to consult the papers before them, sundry pixies and fairies whirled around their heads, giggling and jabbering. A dozen or so trolls began to smash apart the chamber with their clubs, while hags glided about the place in search of children to eat. The Council Chief stood up to open the meeting, slipped on a pile of Porlock dung and ran cursing from the hall. 会场里充斥着球遁鸟的聒噪叫声、讣鸟的哀鸣和弗沃普的刺耳歌声。巫师们准备翻开面前的文件时,各种各样的小精灵就会在巫师的脑袋上飞来飞去,怪笑不断。这还不算什么,十几个巨怪抄起棍棒,反手就砸起了会场;与此同时,女妖在会场里飘来飘去,四处寻找能果腹的小孩子。马尔登议长站起来,想主持会议,结果一脚踩上了庞洛克的大粪,一滑就直接滑出了会场大厅。

 

 

 

 

As we see, the mere possession of two legs was no guarantee that a magical creature could or would take an interest in the affairs of wizard government. Embittered, Burdock Muldoon forswore any further attempts to integrate non-wizard members of the magical community into the Wizards’ Council.
我们都清楚,“长着两条腿”和“有志于参与巫师界的政府事务”这二者之间并无必要联系。这苦主马尔登只好放弃再让魔法世界中的非巫师份子加入到巫师议会中来。

 

Muldoon’s successor, Madame Elfrida Clagg, attempted to redefine ‘beings’ in the hope of creating closer ties with other magical creatures. ‘Beings’, she declared, were those who could speak the human tongue. All those who could make themselves understood to Council members were therefore invited to join the next meeting. Once again, however, there were problems. Trolls who had been taught a few simple sentences by the goblins proceeded to destroy the hall as before. Jarveys raced around the Council’s chair legs, tearing at as many ankles as they could reach. Meanwhile a large delegation of ghosts (who had been barred under Muldoon’s leadership on the grounds that they did not walk on two legs, but glided) attended but left in disgust at what they later termed ‘the Council’s unashamed emphasis on the needs of the living as opposed to the wishes of the dead’. The centaurs, who under Muldoon had been classified as ‘beasts’ and were now under Madame Clagg defined as ‘beings’, refused to attend the Council in protest at the exclusion of the merpeople, who were unable to converse in anything except Mermish while above water.
这之后,马尔登的继任者,艾尔弗丽达·克拉格夫人为了和其他神奇生物联系更紧密,试着重新定义“人”。她说,“人”就是会说人类语言的生物。所以,她邀请了能和其他议会成员进行交流的生物参加了接下来的会议。结果啊,问题又来了。跟妖精学了几个简单词语的巨怪开始砸会场。土扒貂绕着椅子腿你追我赶,瞅准机会就把人的脚脖子掰折。这时候,一大波幽灵代表来参会了。这儿我有必要解释一下,幽灵在马尔登任期内不得参会。因为马尔登认为他们虽有两条腿,但却不是双腿行走,而是到处飘。好了言归正传,幽灵虽然参会了,但很快他们就愤然离场,因为据他们所说,“会上一再恬不知耻地强调生者所需,而罔顾亡灵所求”。人马在马尔顿任期内被界定为“兽”,可到了克拉格夫人那儿就被定成“人”了。但他们拒绝出席议会,以表达对人鱼被排除在外一事的抗议(人鱼没法儿说人话,浮出水面后只能用人鱼语交流)。

 

Not until 1811 were definitions found that most of the magical community found acceptable. Grogan Stump, the newly appointed Minister for Magic, decreed that a ‘being’ was ‘any creature that has sufficient intelligence to understand the laws of the magical community and to bear part of the responsibility in shaping those laws’.2 Troll representatives were questioned in the absence of goblins and judged not to understand anything that was being said to them; they were therefore classified as ‘beasts’ despite their two-legged gait; merpeople were invited through translators to become ‘beings’ for the first time; fairies, pixies and gnomes, despite their humanoid appearance, were placed firmly in the ‘beast’ category.
直到1811年,我们才终于有了让魔法世界绝大部分群体都可以接受的对“人”的定义。时任魔法部部长的格罗根·斯顿普宣布,“人”可以充分理解魔法世界的法律,并且可以在法律制定的过程中承担部分责任。注2魔法部单独盘问了没有妖精陪同的巨怪代表,并断定他们无法进行沟通;人鱼在翻译的协助下,首次获邀加入“人”的分类;而小精灵和地精虽拥有人类外貌,却绝对不能被纳入“人”的分类中。

2 An exception was made for the ghosts, who asserted that it was insensitive to class them as ‘beings’ when they were so clearly ‘has-beens’. Stump therefore created the three divisions of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures that exist today: the Beast Division, the Being Division and the Spirit Division.
注2:但幽灵例外。它们觉得把“形存实亡”的自己纳入到“人”的范畴实在是神经大条。所以斯顿普创立了三个分支部门:兽所、人类所和幽灵所,归于神奇生物管理控制司管辖。这些部门一直持续运作到今天。

 

Naturally, the matter has not rested there. We are all familiar with the extremists who campaign for the classification of Muggles as ‘beasts’;we are all aware that the centaurs have refused ‘being’ status and requested to remain ‘beasts;3 werewolves, meanwhile, have been shunted between the Beast and Being divisions for many years; at the time of writing there is an office for Werewolf Support Services at the Being Division whereas the Werewolf Registry and Werewolf Capture Unit fall under the Beast Division. Several highly intelligent creatures are classified as ‘beasts’ because they are incapable of overcoming their own brutal natures. Acromantulas and Manticores are capable of intelligent speech but will attempt to devour any human that goes near them. The sphinx talks only in puzzles and riddles, and is violent when given the wrong answer.
事情到这儿还不算完。部分极端分子到处游行,要求把麻瓜列入“兽”类。人马呢,则要求保留“兽”类注3,拒绝被列为“人”。至于狼人嘛,这么多年一直被搁置在”兽“和”人类“两大部门之间。在本人动笔写此书之时,人类所里还有一间供狼人服务科使用的办公室,但狼人登记处和狼人捕捉组却归兽所管辖。兽类中包含了好几种高智商生物,但它们无法控制自己的凶残本性。八眼巨蛛和人头狮身龙尾兽完全可以运用语言能力,但他们会吞噬靠近它们的所有人。斯芬克斯说的话只有谜语这类的,如果对方给的答案不对,斯芬克斯就会施暴。

3 The centaurs objected to some of the creatures with whom they were asked to share ‘being’ status, such as hags and vampires, and declared that they would manage their own affairs separately from wizards. A year later the merpeople made the same request. The Ministry of Magic accepted their demands reluctantly. Although a Centaur Liaison Office exists in the Beast Division of the Department for the Regulation and Control of Magical Creatures, no centaur has ever used it. Indeed, ‘being sent to the Centaur Office’ has become an in-joke at the Department and means that the person in question is shortly to be fired.
注3:人马和某些生物不和,不愿与其一同被列入“人”类中,比如女妖和吸血鬼。因此人马宣布自治,自己治理自己的事务。一年后,人鱼也提出了同样的请求。魔法部虽不情愿,但也只得勉强接受它们的请求。到现在神奇生物管理控制司还保留着人马联络处,只是人马都没用过这办公室。”调任至人马联络处“这句话已经成为司里广为流传的段子,谁要是真被调过去了,就得等着被开除了。

 

Wherever there is continued uncertainty about the classification of a beast in the following pages, I have noted it in the entry for that creature.
以下篇幅中,如果我对任一兽的分类存疑,我都已经在其条目的边角上作了注解。

 

Let us now turn to the one question that witches and wizards ask more than any other when the conversation turns to Magizoology: why don’t Muggles notice these creatures?
接下来我们来想想另一个问题。这个问题在巫师们的聊天内容转向神奇动物学时非常常见,即:为什么麻瓜们注意不到这些神奇生物?

 

 

 

What Is a Beast? “兽”的定义》有3个想法

  1. 1. 轉折關係體現的有點奇怪。這個爭議問題是might surprise而不是譯文中的‘相信這一點會讓’的主觀認定。同時注意限定詞some,不是所有學生都感到詫異。
    2. if句式還是要體現的, 文中並無提到 now let us take some time to…
    3. creature 和 animal 還是有區別的,除了植物之外都是生物。這裡先譯為生物覺得更為宜。

    何謂“獸”?這個在幾個世紀來飽受爭議的話題,儘管可能給某些初涉神奇動物學科的新人帶來詫異,但如果我們能花點時間來瞭解下面這三種神奇生物,(屆時對於這個問題) 我們也許會有更清晰的頭緒。

    1. That makes sense thanks! Will get back to you tmr with another version!

    2. 古往今来,何谓“神奇动物”,众说纷纭,尚未定论。但神奇动物学初学者无须惶恐,只需对以下三类魔法生物稍作了解,何谓“神奇动物”,便可洞见一二。

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