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We Need to Be Reminded of Happiness


We have been used to being reminded of one thing or another since our childhood. When the weather showed the slightest sign of turning cold, Mother would say, “Don't forget to put more clothes on”. Upon learning that we have just made a new friend, our fathers would say, “Becareful, he might be a swindler.” Whenever we made a small achievement and were just about to celebrate it, all those concerned about us would lose no time in admonishing us against conceitedness. And sometimes you were the very one doing the same thing to yourself. For instance, even in the midst of happiness you would repeatedly tell yourself, “Don't get caught up in it, misfortune might strike at any moment.” Being reminded of something is already the order of the day. All kinds of fear, either visible or invisible, are ever hovering overhead like crows.


When a full moon is hanging high in the clear sky, a voice comes from nowhere and says, “Be prepared for the storm!” At once we throw ourselves into preparations for the impending disaster and consequently miss the chance of enjoying the bright moon. We spend a hectic night on full alert, yet the storm, like a flock of lost sheep, is still wandering somewhere unknown. When the waiting hits the limit of our patience, we even viciously wish for it to come sooner.


Finally, the storm does arrive, but to our great dismay most of our preparations turn out to be useless. After all, there are only a few disasters we can fend off or alleviate in advance, and most of them are unpredictable and we never know how many are still in store for mankind. To survive a disastrous event, we depend, to a large extent, on “the final shot at the goal”, that is, the critical move we make in the last minute, while all the earlier worries and anxiety are of little help.


The tail of the storm finally sweeps past, and we are left with our home in mess and disorder. Before we have the chance to even take a breath and relax, a new warning wisely sounds itself. So, we again begin to live in anticipation of a future laden down with new fears.

1. 标题的英译参照了英国作家、文学评论家和诗人Samuel Johnson(1709–1784)的名言:People need to be reminded more often than they need to be instructed.
2. 此处只须译出其意,即“稍有变冷的迹象”。
3. 此处译作“还没来得及庆祝”之意。
4. 此句和段首一句结构、意义雷同,译文做了灵活处理。
5. 此处译文舍弃形象,只译出其意。
6. 译文采用了直译加释义的方法。
7. 译作“还来不及喘口气,放松一下”。


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