原文摘自《The Selfish Gene》第12页。前文提供语境:

Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated by stable things. A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name. It may be a unique collection of atoms, such as the Matterhorn, that lasts long enough to be worth naming. Or it may be a class of entities, such as rain drops, that come into existence at a sufficiently high rate to deserve a collective name, even if any one of them is short-lived. The things that we see around us, and which we think of as needing explanation — rocks, galaxies, ocean waves — are all, to a greater or lesser extent, stable patterns of atoms. Soap bubbles tend to be spherical because this is a stable configuration for thin films filled with gas.


In a spacecraft, water is also stable in spherical globules, but on earth, where there is gravity, the stable surface for standing water is flat and horizontal.

在太空里,静止的水面是球面,但是在地球上,因为有重力,静止的水面是水平的镜面。


where这个单词,虽然从第一节英语课就跟“地点”绑定在一起,但是根据不同的上下文,可以“脱壳”,有不同的译法。

比如上面这句话的上下文提供了两个逻辑线索,第一个线索是“but”,引出“球面”与“镜面”的前后对比。第二个逻辑线索,是“重力”与“镜面”之间的因果关系。其实在英文原句里,把“where”替换成“because”,对句意不会造成任何改变。在这种情况下,“where”翻译成“因为”就完全不是问题。

摆脱原文的捆绑和束缚,脱壳,翻译才好玩。

全文翻译:

Darwin’s ‘survival of the fittest’ is really a special case of a more general law of survival of the stable. The universe is populated by stable things.

达尔文的“适者生存论”其实是狭义的,广义上讲,应该叫稳定体生存法则。宇宙里到处都是稳定体。

A stable thing is a collection of atoms that is permanent enough or common enough to deserve a name.

稳定体是什么?如果大量原子聚合在一起,能维持一段时间,或者比较常见,有指代自己的名称,就构成稳定体。

It may be a unique collection of atoms, such as the Matterhorn, that lasts long enough to be worth naming. Or it may be a class of entities, such as rain drops, that come into existence at a sufficiently high rate to deserve a collective name, even if any one of them is short-lived.

有一些原子聚合体很独特,存在了很长时间,就有了自己的名字,比如经年累月矗立在欧洲的马特峰。有一些原子聚合体很常见,隔三差五就会结群出现,虽然个体存在不了太长时间,可是所属的群类有一个统称,比如偶尔倾泻的雨滴。

The things that we see around us, and which we think of as needing explanation — rocks, galaxies, ocean waves — are all, to a greater or lesser extent, stable patterns of atoms.

从我们身边熟知的事物到未知的事物——从岩石到星系到海浪——都是原子组成的稳定结构,只是规模迥异、稳定状态也不一而足。

Soap bubbles tend to be spherical because this is a stable configuration for thin films filled with gas.

肥皂泡之所以是球状,是因为这种形状是薄膜装满气体后的稳定形状。

In a spacecraft, water is also stable in spherical globules, but on earth, where there is gravity, the stable surface for standing water is flat and horizontal.

在太空里,静止的水面是球面,但是在地球上,因为有重力,静止的水面是水平的镜面。

发表评论

您的电子邮箱地址不会被公开。

此站点使用Akismet来减少垃圾评论。了解我们如何处理您的评论数据