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科幻小说中的五大鸡肋发明

    来源:翻译界  浏览次数:3686  添加时间:2008/4/19

Remember all those Star Trek gadgets you wished you had because they looked so cool? Well, it turns out looking cool is about all they'd be good for.
还记得在《星际迷航(Star Trek)》里那些让你想要拥有的看起来酷毙了的小玩意儿吗?呃,实际上,他们也就是看起来酷,仅此而已。

Here's five inventions that will be available some day ... even if nobody wants them.
这儿有五个在将来会得到应用的发明……尽管没有人想用它们。

#5.Flying Cars
第五名:飞行的汽车


As seen in:
Blade Runner, The Fifth Element, Back to the Future II, Futurama, The Jetsons ... it's actually kind of difficult to list sci-fi that doesn't feature some variation of the flying car.
曾经出现在:
《银翼杀手》,《第五元素》, 《回到未来II)》, 《飞出个未来》, 《杰森一家》 ... 实际上,从某种程度上讲,很难能列出来一个单子,说科幻小说里没有出现飞行汽车的——不管什么样的飞行汽车。

Why we thought we wanted them:
First, we don't mean some kind of sissy half-plane, half-car hybrid that some people will try to tell you is a flying car. No, we mean real, float off the ground, how the crap is that happening, Jetsons sort of flying cars. Admit it, when you were 7 years old, there were only two things you were sure of: Transformers fucking rule, and the future would be full of flying goddamn cars.
我们想要它的原因:
首先,有人会把那种不伦不类的又像飞机,又像汽车的混合动力车叫做飞行汽车。这儿说的不是那个,根本不是。我们说的是真正能离开地面漂在空中的那种——就是《杰森一家》里那种,那简直可以说是个垃圾玩意儿。你不能否认,当你七岁大的时候,你只知道两件事:《变形金刚》里的倒霉准则,还有就是未来到处都会是飞着的破烂汽车。

Of course, once you learned to drive you wanted one even more. Every time you're stuck in traffic, you can picture yourself flipping a switch and swooping into the sky, leaving those honking bastards behind. You'd fly straight to work, free as a bird.
当然,一旦你学会了开车,你会迫不及待地想要一辆飞行汽车。每次你被堵在路上的时候,你脑子里就会浮现出一个画面:你按了一个按钮,然后你的车就一下子飞上了天,把那些还在死命按喇叭的倒霉蛋儿们远远地甩在了后面。而你像一只自由的小鸟,直飞向单位。

Why we were wrong:
Well, guess what: They're not gonna let you do that. People just flying wherever they want would be a death warrant for every radio tower and power line in the country.
我们是笨笨:
那么,试想一下:他们不会让你那样做。人们飞着去他们想去的任何地方,这会让每个电台天线塔和国家的输电线处在一击致命的危险中。

No, you'd have to fly according to a wussified autopilot, along pre-set pathways. Air-roads, in other words. And, once everybody has a flying car ... well, have you ever been driving to work in a city at around, oh, eight or nine in the morning? If so, you'll know exactly how bad traffic can get during rush hour. Now, imagine if there was not just one layer of cars, but there was layer after layer of flying metal death traps over top and below you.
确定的是,你必须由着死板的自动驾驶按着预定的路线(或者说叫空中航线)飞。而且,要是所有人都开着飞车……你有没有在早在八九点钟开着车在城市里走过?要是走过,你就会清楚地知道在高峰期,路会堵得多厉害。现在想象一下,这个时候,空中一层一层飞着的可就不止是汽车了,而是飞在你上面和下面的一层层死亡陷阱。

That's not even the worst part. The many people who have tried to invent flying cars over are finding out that every single thing that's bad with cars (cost, safety, etc) is made worse when you try to make the thing fly.
那还不算最糟的。那些试图发明飞车的人慢慢发现:每个在汽车上本来就很不令人满意的因素(价格、安全性等等),当在让车飞起来的时候,变得更加糟糕了。

For instance, no matter what kind of engine they invent, a flying car will always burn more fuel than a regular car, especially on short trips (you burn a bunch of gas trying to overcome that gravity thing on takeoff).
比如,无论他们发明什么样的发动机,一辆飞车总会比普通汽车烧更多的燃料,短途的时候尤其明显(在起飞时,你必须烧掉很多汽油来克服重力)。

Even worse, even a minor crash with another flying car could send both vehicles plummeting to the ground while you scream in terror. Imagine the poor guy on the ground, sitting there at a red light, as a flaming five car pile-up is hurdling down towards him from the sky. If you're not scared yet, try to imagine what they're going to charge you in insurance premiums as a result.
更糟的是,即使一次与飞车的轻微碰撞,都可能让两辆车直落地面,而你只能惊恐地在车里大叫。想像一下在地上的那位可怜的哥们儿,正等着红灯呢,就眼看着五辆燃着大火的车从天上向他砸过来。要是你还是没有被吓到,那就想一下,他们会怎么让你出血来给他们付保险费。


#4.Jet Packs
第四名:飞行背包


As seen in:
The Jetsons (again), The Rocketeer, James Bond used one in Thunderball, Boba Fett... too many to count. If you've never heard about and/or purchased a toy featuring a jet pack, you are from the 1800s.
曾经出现在:
《杰森一家》(又来了), 《火箭人》, 詹姆斯邦德在《雷霆万钧》里也用过一次, 星球大战里的Boba Fett... 数不胜数。要是你从来没有听说过它,或者没有买过一个带着飞行背包的玩具,那你肯定是从19世纪来的。

Why we thought we wanted them:
Because every single human wants the ability to fly, pretty much from birth. We're talking the ability to fly, not ride in a thing that flies.
我们想要它的原因:
因为每个人从生下来就都渴望能够飞翔。我们说的是具有飞翔的能力,而不是说坐在一个能飞的东西里。

Why we were wrong:
We're going to skip past the obvious point that the Rocketeer here would be left with charred stumps below the thigh, since that exhaust is coming out at around 2,000 degrees.
我们是笨笨:
我们先不说最明显的一点,即那个火箭人的大腿会被烤得像截烧焦的树桩,因为火箭的气流会以大约2000度的高温喷出来。

Modern jetpacks just use tanks of compressed gas that basically fart you into the air. If that sounds lame, you're right. The prototypes they have now let you fly a whole 30 seconds.
现在的飞行背包用的是装着压缩天然气的罐子,基本上只能把你“喷”离地面。如果那听起来很衰的话,正是如此。现在研究出来的原型机只能让你飞整整的30秒。

But let's assume they overcome all that and make one that actually works. All those safety issues we have with the flying cars? You've got all that, only without a car around you to protect your fragilebody. The only possible method of saving your ass when you crash/fall asleep/run out of fuel is probably a parachute, which means you'd need extensive training on how to land without impaling yourself on a tree branch.
但是让我们假设一下,他们克服了所有困难,做出来一个有实际作用的飞行背包。那么,那些飞车带来的问题呢?对了,只有你身边一辆车都没有,才能真正保护你那脆弱的躯体。当你撞车、开车睡着或者是没有燃料的时候,唯一能救你的可能就是一顶降落伞。也就是说,你还得接受大量的训练,才能避免在落地的时候自己不被树枝插到。

The only alternative would have to be some kind of air bag that instantly inflates around you in an emergency, letting you bounce gently to safety while you involuntarily shout, "WHEEEE!!!" The problem with that, of course, is that we'd be intentionally crashing all the time just so they can do that happen.
这个时候除了拥有一种气囊,当危急时能在你四周迅速膨胀起来以外,别无它法。这种气囊能在你大声地喊“啊!!”的同时,让你优雅地在蹦跳中安全着陆。当然,这也有问题,因为要是想让它起作用,我们总是得故意地撞个什么东西。

#3.Holodecks
第三名:全息甲板


As seen in:
Most people would know the holodeck as being an invention out of the Star Trek series, but they probably took the idea from a Ray Bradbury short story called The Veldt where a family has a holodeck that simulates an African veldt, and then are (predictably) eaten by virtual lions.
曾经出现在:
大多数人对全息甲板的了解,可能以为它是来自《星际迷航系列》的一个发明。但是,他们很可能是从Ray Bradbury写的一个叫《大草原》的短篇小说里得到这个想法的。在这部小说里,一家人有一个全息甲板,能模拟非洲的大草原,然后他们(很可能)被虚拟的狮子给吃掉了。

Why we thought we wanted it:
The holodeck is just big room, that can simulateany number of environments and/or experiences for the user, and can trick all five senses into believing that it's real. You don't have to hook anything up to your brain, you can walk in and out of it like any room. A room that happens to be full of ninjas and naked women and everything else you don't have in your real life.
我们想要它的原因:
全息甲板只是一个能模拟任意数量环境的大屋子,也能模拟进去的人的感觉,从而欺骗人的五感,让人以为是处在真实的世界。你不用在你的大脑上连接什么东西,你也可以像进出任何屋子一样进出全息甲板,在里面你可以看到在现实生活中你所没有的东西:满屋的忍者、裸女以及其它的一切。

Why we were wrong:
Of course, we here at Cracked were too busy practicing Jujitsu and working on our dragsters to watch something as geeky as Star Trek, but we do know that the dangers of a holodeck were demonstrated in Episode 234 ("A Fistful of Datas", aired November 9, 1992, Stardate 46271.5). This episode proved that if you get shot by a cowboy in the holodeck world, you really die.
我们是笨笨:
当然,就像我们疯也似的忙着练柔道和改装汽车一样,我们疯狂地看着像《星际迷航》这样令人生厌的东西。但我们知道,全息甲板的危险性出现在第234集里(《大量的数据》,1992119号——星际日期46271.5——播出的)。这集告诉我们:如果你在全息甲板的世界里被一个牛仔射杀了,那你也就真的死了。

Now, assuming the creators of the real holodeck are not completely retarded and they install something that makes it so the simulation cowboys do not shoot real bullets and that the veldtlions don't really eat you (both of these would seem to be first-day considerations in the design phase), there is another problem.
现在,假设创造全息甲板这玩意儿的人的脑子没有进水,而且他们也确实造出来一个类似的东西的话,那么牛仔不会发射真的子弹,大草原上的狮子也不会真的吃了你(这两种情况似乎是在设计之初就应该考虑到的)。肯定还有别的问题。

Imagine how you'll react if you're in your holodeck and somebody interrupts you. Say, you're halfway through your chess game with Darth Vader, when suddenly he disappears, Scarlett Johansson is no longer sitting in your lap, and pizza costs money again. You'd find the guy who turned off the machine and snap his damned neck. Dilbert creator Scott Adams jokingly points out in his book The Dilbert Future that the holodeck, "will be society's last invention." It's no joke; once we had it, there'd be no reason to have anything else.
想像一下,如果你在你的全息甲板里,然后某人打断了你,你会怎么办。比如,你正跟Darth Vader下棋呢,他突然出现了,Scarlett Johansson也不再坐在你的大腿上了,你吃的披萨也不是免费的了。你会看见是那个家伙关掉了机器,然后你会拧断他的脖子。呆伯特之父Scott Adams在他的书《呆伯特的未来》里开玩笑似的指出,全息甲板“将会是这个社会的最后一项发明”。他绝不是在说笑,一旦我们拥有了它,别的东西就再也没有存在的理由了。

It's not just that it would be addictive; it's that it would literally fill every possible human emotional need and utterly eliminate all motivation to ever do anything ever. Everyone's only goal would be to do just enough work to keep food and electricity coming into the holodeck, to keep those interruptions by reality to a minimum.
不只是因为它有诱惑力,它还会满足每一个人的几乎所有欲望,让人永远失去做任何事情的任何动力。所有人的唯一目标,就是不停地工作,保证食物和供给全息甲板的电力,把那些现实中的干扰降到最低。

People would stop reproducing, your virtual Scarlett Johansson could have perfect virtual kids who'll never wind up in jail or steal money from you to buy crack. If you get tired of them, tell the holodeck to blink them out of existence. If you're saying that you're a high-minded person who pursues spiritual goals and would never be sucked in by anything as crude as a simulation, hey, they've got a holodeck for you, too. You can sit down to dinner with Plato and Abe Lincoln and Gandhi and Jesus. If somebody yanked you out of that to go work at the post office all day, you'd barricade yourself in with a shotgun.
人们会停止生小孩,你的虚幻的Scarlett Johansson能生出来完美的虚幻小孩,他们永远不会进监狱或者偷你的钱去买零食。如果你厌烦了他们,就告诉全息甲板,让他们在一眨眼的工夫里消失。如果说你是一个有着高尚情操的人,追求的是精神满足,永远不会沉浸在虚幻制造出来的东西里。别急,全息甲板也能满足你。你可以和柏拉图、林肯、甘地、耶稣坐在一起吃饭。要是某人叫你离开,去邮局上一天班,你自己就会拿把鸟枪拦住你自己。

If aliens showed up to Earth 1,000 years later, they'd find an abandoned planet with ten billion mummified corpses laying on the floor of ten billion dusty holodecks, with huge smiles on their faces.
倘若一千年以后,外星人出现在地球,他们会看到一个被抛弃的星球,上面是几百亿个木乃伊般的僵尸躺在几百亿个灰扑扑的全息甲板上,脸上都是夸张的笑容。


#2.Teleporters
第二名:远程传送


As seen in:
Star Trek, The Fly, countless video games.
曾经出现在:
《星际迷航》,《变蝇人》,还有数不清的电子游戏里。

Why we thought we wanted it:
Here's a technology that'd make the flying car and the jetpack both look like that retarded Flintstones car you drive with your feet. We're talking instant transport to anywhere, any time. You can live on the beach in Hawaii and live in New York. Sit there in the morning and sip coffee until about five seconds before the meeting is set to start, then step into your transport and there you are, in the conference room.
我们想要它的原因:
有一种技术,能让飞车和飞行背包都看起来像呆呆的《摩登原始人》里,你用脚开的那种车一样傻。这儿说的是瞬间传送东西到任何时间、任何地点的技术。你可以住在夏威夷的海滩上,也可以住在纽约。在开会前五秒钟,你还可以坐在早晨的海滩上品着咖啡,然后你起身走进你的传送机——你就到会议室了。

Why we were wrong:
Many later science fiction writers have declared that a device that can disassemble and reassemble a human molecule-by-molecule would be patently unsafe (the most famous and grotesque portrayal of a teleporter accident came, of course, in the film Spaceballs). But, even if they get the bugs worked out (what method of transportation is perfectly safe, after all?) there is a much larger and much weirder issue.
我们是笨笨:
后来的许多科幻小说家都声明说,那种可以一个分子一个分子地拆分、组合人体的设备,很明显是不安全的(史上最著名和怪异的失败的传送,出现在电影《太空炮弹》里)。但是,尽管他们补上了漏洞(终究哪种传送方式会是完全安全的?),还是有一个更大的、更离奇的问题。

A teleporter wouldn't actually break down your atoms and then shoot those same atoms thousands of miles through the air; even if it were possible, there'd be no reason to do it. It would instead just grab Hydrogen and Oxygen atoms from out of the air and assemble you out of those (one Hydrogen atom is the same as another, after all).
一台传送机不会真的拆分你到原子然后把那些原子发射到几千里外;即使这是可能的,也没有理由去那样做。取而代之的是,只要在空气里抓一把氢和氧的原子,然后把它们组装起来,就是你了(毕竟氢原子们总是一模一样的)。

In other words, teleporters would work more like fax machines than mail. It transmits a signal and the machine on the other end spits out a copy. Only instead of a copy of a letter, it's a copy of a person, right down to all their thoughts and memories and here the original is destroyed. This was demonstrated in Star Trek: The Next Generation, Episode 250 ("Second Chances", aired May 24, 1993, Stardate 46915.2) where they failed to destroy the original Will Riker and were left with two of him.
换句话说,传送机工作起来与其说像发信,还不如说像是在发传真。传送信号,另一头的机器就打出来一个复印件。唯一的不同,就是一封信的复印件和一个人的替身的区别。这个替身从思想到记忆都和本人一样,但是在那边的本人已经消失了。《星际迷航:下一代》里就是这么说的:在第250集《第二次机会》(1993 524号——星际时间46915.2——播出的)里,他们没有能把Will Riker搞消失,于是就有两个他。

Are you grasping the weirdness of this? The original is destroyed. That means when you step into a teleporter, you die. But, the rest of the world won't know you died, because a copy of you will step out of the other end of the machine. It won't be you, though, it'll be another you that happens to share your memories. To the outside observer the thing will always work fine, and the thing that steps out of the receiving end will think it worked fine. The one person who knows it didn't worked fine, can't tell anyone because they  died via total atomization the moment they stepped into the machine.
你是不是因为这个诡异的事情而倒吸了口凉气?本人消失了,意思是你走进传送机的那一刻,你死了。但是,世界上别的人不知道你死了,因为你的替身会从另一头的机器里走出来。虽然那个不是你自己,但是那个替身“不巧”拥有你的记忆。在外人看来,永远不会有什么问题,从接收端走出来的那个也不会认为有什么问题。那些明知道不是没问题的人却不能把真相告诉任何人,因为他们在走进传送机的时候,已经在完全的原子化的过程中死了。

So, the first time Captain Kirk used the teleportation device to beam down to an alien planet, he was basically resigning himself to an immediate death and hoping that his twin would carry out the mission for him.
所以当Kirk船长第一次用传送机发送自己到一个外星球的时候,他基本上是在宣告他的立即死亡,希望他的胞弟能替他执行任务。


#1.Matter Replicators
第一名:物质复制机


As seen in:
Again, Star Trek
曾经出现在:
还是《星际迷航》

Why we thought we wanted it:
You're hungry, and you don't really feel like cooking or even going out to get something. Well no need to starve! This machine will replicate virtually any food that you can think of. Or, at least a series of foods that have previously been programmed into the machine.
我们想要它的原因:
你饿了,可你很不想做饭,甚至不想出去买吃的。你不会饿死的!这台机器基本上可以复制出任何你想吃的东西。或者,至少是那些被预先编到机器程序里的食物。

Not just food, either. Anything. Need new batteries for your remote? Replicator. New pair of shoes? No problem. Forget your girlfriend's birthday? Punch a button on the replicator and it'll spit out a pair of flawless diamond earrings.
还不止是吃的东西,而是任何东西。遥控器该换新电池了?复制。想要双新鞋?没问题。把女朋友的生日忘了?按机器上的一个钮,一对完美无暇的钻石耳环就从机器里出来了。

Why we were wrong:
Since it's just assembling molecules, presumably it would be cheaper for this thing to make you a pair of diamond earrings than a hot dog, since fewer molecules and less energy would be required. It could print perfect counterfeit money. Hell, punch a button, and it'll crank out a molecule-for-molecule replica of The Mona Lisa.
我们是笨笨:
既然只是分子的组装,那么可以推出,用这个机器做一对钻石耳环会比做一只热狗便宜,因为做前者用的分子和能量更少。它还能造出完美的假币。更绝的是,只要按一下钮,它就会做出一幅一个分子一个分子复制的《蒙娜丽莎》。

The bad news is, of course, it would eliminate your job. Your job, and all your friends' jobs, and, well, almost everyone else's. No need for farms or factories or stores. The only people who'd still be working are doctors and the people who make replicators. Oh, wait, you can just have a huge replicator that makes replicators. Nevermind.
可惜,这显然会让你失业。你的工作、你所有朋友的工作,还有几乎每个人的工作都会丢掉。我们再也不需要什么农场或者工厂或者商店了。唯一在工作的人们,就是医生和那些做复制机的人。呃,等等,你可以只做一个巨大的复制机,专门复制复制机。这样就再也不愁了。

It's just as well, even if there were jobs, there would be no way to pay you. You could make bars of gold in your replicator. Yes, we're talking about the utter collapse of the entire basis by which every society has ever existed on the planet.
同样的,即便有工作,也不用给工资了。你能用你的复制机做金条嘛。没错,这儿说的正是每个存在在这星球上的社会中,最基本的东西的崩塌。

The end of everything will come on the day when anyone can make anything. Except a flying car, those will still be useless.
 
当任何人都有能力做任何东西的时候,世界末日也就到了。除了飞车,剩下那四个就都没用了(译者注:飞行的棺材,人人都会最终死去)。

·上篇文章:电影《神话》主题曲《无尽的爱》
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