「虎」學英語——無掩雞籠與攔路虎

  特首林鄭月娥早前接受報章專訪時,指教育不能成為「無掩雞籠」,今年內會交代通識科的前景。另外,她又將立法會的拉布文化,形容為擋在香港經濟復甦面前的「攔路虎」,攬炒禍及香港市民。

  「無掩雞籠」係廣東俚語,歇後語為「自出自入」,即「無王管」的意思。見有英文報章將特首這句「無掩雞籠」譯成chicken coop without a flap,問題是這譯法有譯等於無譯,chicken coop解作雞籠,flap解作開關,但相信只有醒目的洋人搲爆頭才能明白當中意思。 

  「無掩雞籠」英文難找準確翻譯,一般只會直接用out of control來形容失控情況。不過,同雞相關的慣用語卻有不少,當中包括The chickens are ruling the roost或Your chickens have come home to roost,前者用來形容某人已取得控制權,someone having an upper hand or taking control of a situation,同無掩雞籠意思剛好相反;後者解作做了壞事會有報應,something bad has happened due to previous behavior,例句如,His chickens have come home to roost……his wife found about his girlfriends and divorced him,他太太發現了他有很多外遇,結果跟他離婚,實在應有此報。

  又或者有一句諺語叫Don't let the fox guard the hen house,指不要讓狐狸守護雞舍,此比喻容易理解,等如叫人別引蛇入屋捉雞仔,meaning you should not put someone in a position of power who only wants to exploit a situation。

  當有外國人說You should never count your chickens before they hatch,在孵化之前,不要盤點有多少隻小雞,意思是對任何事情不要太「老定」,在最後出結果前別以為一定贏,don't take something for granted before it actually happens。

  至於文初引述特首提到的「攔路虎」,英文stumbling block即可解作絆腳石或攔路虎,很常用亦很好用,套用林鄭關於議會不停拉布的禍害的講法,你可以說,The never-ending filibustering is a huge stumbling block to the economic recovery of Hong Kong。欲回看《英文虎報》有關香港教育議題的文章,請用以下連結。

《英文虎報》The Standard總編輯

湯錦標


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