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官方语言太多,欧盟也“有点烦”

更新时间:2017-1-5 18:24:47 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

As the E.U.’s Language Roster Swells, So Does the Burden
官方语言太多,欧盟也“有点烦”

It’s not easy to speak with one voice in 24 languages.

用24种语言表达一个意思不容易。

When what is now the European Union first took root in the 1950s, it included just six nations, and in three of them many people spoke French. It could sidestep national jealousies without trouble by designating most of the member nations’ main languages as official languages.

20世纪50年代,欧盟的前身刚成立时,只有6个国家,其中3个国家的很多人讲法语。将大部分成员国的主要语言指定为官方语言可以毫不费力地避免国家间的嫉妒。

But that set a precedent, and as the union has grown much larger, so has the official language roster — not to mention the bill for translation and interpretation, which now runs to about 1 billion euros, or more than $1 billion, a year.

但它树了一个先例,而欧盟壮大了很多,所以官方语言也多了很多,更别提翻译和口译的费用——现在在这方面每年大约要花费10亿欧元,相当于10多亿美元。

Defenders of the policy say it preserves diversity and promotes language learning. They contend that it is not to blame for the bloc’s repeated failure to speak as one over issues like migration, the economy and Russia.

这项政策的维护者表示,它能保持欧盟的多样性,促进语言学习。他们认为,它不是导致该集团在移民、经济和俄罗斯等问题上多次口径不一致的原因。

Still, the polyglottery can be a bit of a strain, especially when it comes to tongues like Irish, which only a few Irish citizens use frequently outside the education system. Though Irish has been an official language of the union for a decade, member nations keep postponing the deadline for providing full Irish translation and interpretation services.

不过,使用多种语言可能是一种负担,尤其是涉及爱尔兰语等语言——只有少量爱尔兰公民在教育体系之外经常使用爱尔兰语。虽然爱尔兰语成为欧盟的官方语言已有10年时间,但成员国在不断推迟提供完整的爱尔兰翻译和口译服务的日期。

Liadh Ni Riada, an Irish member of the European Parliament, went on what she called a two-week language strike in 2015, speaking only Irish at work, to demonstrate her annoyance at the delays. She has threatened to do it again.

2015年,欧洲议会(European Parliament)的爱尔兰成员莉埃德·妮·利埃达(Liadh Ni Riada)进行了为期两周的语言示威,她在工作中只讲爱尔兰语,以表达对推迟的不满。她威胁说还会这么做。

There is also a push to recognize Luxembourgish, the only national language of a member state that the union has not made official. Yet Luxembourgers also use German and French, and even their laws are all written in French. So the authorities are looking for a way to enhance the language’s status that would not entail a lot of translation and interpretation expense.

还有人主张将卢森堡语列为欧盟的官方语言,它是唯一未获承认的欧盟成员国官方语言。不过,卢森堡人也使用德语和法语,甚至连他们的法律也完全是用法语写成的。所以,当局在寻找一种既能提高该语言地位又不会增加很多翻译和口译费用的方式。

The European Union may add Turkish as its 25th official language, even if Turkey never becomes a member. The reason is Cyprus.

欧盟可能将土耳其语列为第25种官方语言,哪怕土耳其永远无法成为成员国。原因是塞浦路斯。

The island has been divided for decades between the mainly Greek-speaking Republic of Cyprus and a breakaway Turkish-speaking region in the north. The two sides have been in painstaking talks to reunite the island, and the republic, which belongs to the European Union, has requested official status for Turkish as a gesture to the north.

数十年来,该小岛分裂为主要讲希腊语的塞浦路斯共和国和北部的一个分裂出去的讲土耳其语的地区。双方在进行统一该岛的艰苦谈判,属于欧盟的塞浦路斯共和国为向北边示好,请求欧盟将土耳其语列为官方语言。

There is no assurance that the unity talks will succeed, so no vote has been held yet by member governments on the language request.

由于无法确定统一谈判能否成功,所以成员国尚未就该语言请求进行投票。

As you might expect, some official languages are more official than others. To save time and money, officials and staff members at the European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, usually write internally in only three — English, French and German — and often speak in English, to the annoyance of the French.

正如你可能料到的,有些官方语言比其他的更为官方。为了节省时间和金钱,该集团执行机构欧盟委员会(European Union)的官员和工作人员通常在内部仅用三种语言书写——英语、法语和德语——常常只讲英语,这令法国人深为恼火。

Now that Britain has voted to leave the union, some French politicians want to demote English, and a prominent Polish lawmaker, Danuta Hubner, warned that “if we don’t have the U.K., we don’t have English.”

由于英国已投票脱欧,所以有些法国政治人士想要将英语降级。著名的波兰议员达努塔·哈布纳(Danuta Hubner)警告称,“如果没有英国,我们就不要英语。”

But when lawyers looked into it, they concluded that it would take a unanimous vote, and there is almost no chance of that. Ireland and Malta rely on English, and it is extremely popular in Central and Eastern Europe. Somebody would be sure to veto the move.

不过,律师们研究后发现,这需要全体一致投票通过,而那几乎是不可能实现的。爱尔兰和马耳他依赖英语,而且英语在中欧和东欧非常流行。有些人肯定会否决这项动议。

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