Preserving rare languages
Embracing the future
Modern technology can save languages as well as destroy them
THE phrase “use it or lose it” applies to few things more forcefully than to obscure languages. A tongue that is not spoken will shrivel into extinction. If it is lucky, it may be preserved in a specialist lexicographer’s dictionary in the way that a dried specimen of a vanished butterfly lingers in a museum cabinet. If it is unlucky, it will disappear for ever into the memory hole that is unwritten history.
“不用则废”这个词用在稀有语种上更具有说服力。非口语性语言将濒临消失 。如果幸运，稀有语言像灭绝的蝴蝶标本储藏在博物馆展厅一样保留在专家词典中 。如果不幸，它消失在不成文的历史记忆中 。
This is not a fate which appeals to K. David Harrison, of Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania. But Dr Harrison is an optimist. He believes information technology—something seen by many people as a threat to linguistic diversity—might actually turn out to be its saviour.
On the face of things, there are few more powerful forces for the extermination of languages than IT. The internet, in particular, looks like a threat. It spreads imperious, widely spoken tongues like English at the expense of more modest, local ones, as an introduced species of animal or plant drives out less robust natives. Dr Harrison, however, is helping speakers of threatened languages use IT to fight back.
表面上，很少有什么比信息技术更能使一种语言走向灭绝尤其像是种威胁 。以牺牲本土稀有语言为代价广泛传播像英语这样的通用语言正如引进的动植物驱赶了当地生命力弱的物种一样 。但是，哈里森博士正帮助这些受到语言威胁的人们利用信息技术来抵御 。。网络
at the expense of：以什么为代价
eg ： This,however, comes at the expense of increased performance overhead.然而，这是以增加的性能开销为代价的。
He gave details of four projects, in India, Oregon, Papua New Guinea and Siberia. In some, remaining speakers of the local language numbered in the hundreds when the project began. In one, but a single individual truly knew the tongue.
哈里森博士把印度，俄勒冈州，巴布亚新几内亚，西伯利亚的四个项目做了详细的描述。开始时，一些地方本地语言的使用者只有几百人 。有一个地方，仅仅只有一个人真正知道其本土语言 。
The first task in each case was to create a talking dictionary that could be put onto the web, to which speakers and would-be speakers of the language then had access. This job itself illuminated the quirky way that technology spreads.
The two villages in Papua New Guinea which speak Matukar Panau, for example, were linked to the country’s electricity grid only in 2011, but almost immediately people there started using the internet and the dictionary Dr Harrison had helped to create. In Oregon, meanwhile, many now text each other in Siletz Dee-ni. This was the tongue that had only one fluent speaker at the beginning of the project, but with his help and that of a few others who had partial knowledge of the language, Dr Harrison and his team have built a talking dictionary containing 14,000 words.
例如，说濒危语言Matukar Panau的巴布亚新几内亚两个村庄在2011年才接通国家电网，但是这些人们立刻就使用起来哈里森博士帮助创建的网上有声字典。同时，在美国俄勒冈州现在许多人相互间用Siletz Dee-ni语书写文本 。在这个项目计划前，会流利的表达Siletz Dee-ni语的仅有一位，在他以及知道该语言部分知识的帮助下，哈里森博士和他的团队成功建立了包含1.4万单词Siletz Dee-ni语的有声字典 。
Something similar will happen soon, they hope, in the part of north-eastern India where Koro-Aka is spoken. Here, people had mobile phones before drivable roads arrived and were thus familiar with the technology. Dr Harrison thinks that when the Koro-Aka dictionary is complete, texting in the language will take off rapidly.
他们希望在印度东北部那些用Koro-Aka语的地方尽快能发生类似的事。在到达那里前当地的人就在使用移动手机，因此他们对信息技术就很熟悉 。哈里森博士认为在Koro-Aka语有声词典建立之时就是该文本语言迅速消失之日 。
The most advanced project of the four is in Tuva, in southern Siberia, where Russian is becoming the dominant language. A talking dictionary of Tuvan has existed since 2006. Apocryphally, natives of the Arctic have hundreds of words for different sorts of snow. But the Tuvans really do have dozens for the colours and patterns of goat fleeces. They also have three versions of the verb “to go”, whose correct usage depends on the direction of travel in relation to the direction of the local river’s current. All these and more are now available to Tuvan and non-Tuvan alike. Indeed, according to Dr Harrison, the worldwide nature of the web has spawned at least one long-distance relationship, between a Texan man and a Tuvan woman, conducted in her language.
四个行动计划中在西伯利亚南部的图瓦是最早实施的，在那里俄语成为了主流语言。2006年图瓦语的有声词典就创建了 。不足凭信地，北极的本地人对雪的表达方式有上百种 。但是这些图瓦人对于羊毛衫的颜色和款式的表达确实有数十种 。他们对于动词“to go”的表达也有三个版本，他们迁徙的方向是根据当地河流方向来的，而迁徙的方向不同，to go的表示方法也不一样 。所有的这些情况甚至更多在图瓦语以及类似的其他语言中现在都是可见的 。的确，据哈里森博士称，世界性的网络至少已建立起了一个远距离关系，如一个德克萨斯州的男人和一位图瓦女人正以图瓦语建立着联系 。
What these projects have in common, and what is most likely to make them succeed, though, is not just the technology. It is that in each place there is an enthusiastic local who is wise enough to care about saving his heritage and young enough to see that this requires embracing modernity. Sometimes that has involved the enthusiast in clashes with tribal elders who want to keep the modern world at bay and preserve their cultures in aspic. But that will not work. In the words of Giuseppe Tomasi di Lampedusa, for everything to stay the same, everything must change. If it does not, everything will be lost.
然而，这些项目的共性及最可能使其取得成功的不仅仅是因为科学技术。那是因为在每个地方总有一个足以明智的当地热心青年关注于其语言遗产的保留并注到他们的语言需要拥抱现代化 。有时，这将牵涉到热心人与当地长辈们发生冲突，这些部落的长辈想保留他们的语言免受现代化外界的侵害 。但那是没用的 。正如兰佩杜萨所言，要一切保持不变，一切都必须改变 。如果没有，一切都将失去 。
这两种方法通常用于汉译英，偶尔也用于英译汉。所谓正译，是指把句子按照与汉语相同的语序或表达方式译成英语 。所谓反译则是指把句子按照与汉语相反的语序或表达方式译成英语 。正译与反译常常具有同义的效果，但反译往往更符合英语的思维方式和表达习惯 。因此比较地道 。
In the United States, everyone can buy a gun. (正译)
In the United States, guns are available to everyone. (反译)
You can obtain this information on the Internet. （正译）
This information is accessible/available on the Internet. （反译）
Suddenly he had a new idea. (正译)
He suddenly thought out a new idea. (正译)
A new idea suddenly occurred to/struck him. （反译）
He still could not understand me. (正译)
Still he failed to understand me. (反译)
She can hardly be rated as a bright student. (正译)
She is anything but a bright student. (反译)
（6） Please withhold the document for the time being.