本文选自2017年9月16日《经济学人》的封面文章,我们在第二期的精读社中对这篇文章进行了细致的剖析。

Closing in on cancer
Science will win the technical battle against cancer. But that is only half the fight

THE numbers are stark. Cancer claimed the lives of 8.8m people in 2015; only heart disease caused more deaths. Around 40% of Americans will be told they have cancer during their lifetimes. It is now a bigger killer of Africans than malaria. But the statistics do not begin to capture the fear inspired by cancer’s silent and implacable cellular mutiny. Only Alzheimer’s exerts a similar grip on the imagination.

Confronted with this sort of enemy, people understandably focus on the potential for scientific breakthroughs that will deliver a cure. Their hope is not misplaced. Cancer has become more and more survivable over recent decades owing to a host of advances, from genetic sequencing to targeted therapies. The five-year survival rate for leukemia in America has almost doubled, from 34% in the mid-1970s to 63% in 2006-12. America is home to about 15.5m cancer survivors, a number that will grow to 20m in the next ten years. Developing countries have made big gains, too: in parts of Central and South America, survival rates for prostate and breast cancer have jumped by as much as a fifth in only a decade.

Health care

Closing in on cancer
Science will win the technical battle against cancer. But that is only half the fight

大标题“health care”的意思是“医疗保健”,医疗保健系统我们可以说“health care system”,西方经常抨击我国的医保系统不完善,“不完善”我们可以用rudimentary, weak等词,当然我们也可以更加委婉一点,说is yet full-fledged,只是还没有完善(yet体现出乐观的情绪——未来会完善的)。

题目“close in on cancer”,close in on表示to gradually get nearer to someone, usually in order to attack them,围攻,也可以说close in upon/around,我们举个例子:The advancing soldiers closed in on the town. 前进的士兵一步步包围了城镇。
我们也可以用besiege, lay siege to, beleaguer等表示“围攻”的意思;
另外,我们也可以扩展一下,题目中说close in on cancer,围攻癌症,意思是应对癌症,所以,我们可以用“close in on+问题”表示“应对”的意思,以替换tackle, handle, deal with, manage, 还有我们在《洪灾》那一课中学到的cope with, get/come to grips with.

我们再来看引言部分:Science will win the technical battle against cancer. But that is only half the fight
科学可以赢得抗击癌症的技术战,但这只是成功的一半

half the fight也作half the battle,表示“成功的一半,成功的重要条件,胜利大有希望”,比如,Persuading her it’s a good idea is half the battle; once she’s convinced, she’ll do a good job.
说服她相信这是个好主意, 成功就大有希望了, 她一旦被说服, 就会干得非常出色。

第一段

THE numbers are stark. Cancer claimed the lives of 8.8m people in 2015; only heart disease caused more deaths. Around 40% of Americans will be told they have cancer during their lifetimes. It is now a bigger killer of Africans than malaria. But the statistics do not begin to capture the fear inspired by cancer’s silent and implacable cellular mutiny. Only Alzheimer’s exerts a similar grip on the imagination.

文章开门见山,从两个方面分析了癌症的危害:可量化危害和不可量化危害。首先,作者通过列举致死人数、发病率的具体数字,并同心脏病、疟疾、阿尔兹海默综合征进行对比,体现出癌症可量化的危害;最后,讲到不可量化的危害:癌细胞变异带来的恐惧。(后者有点像恐怖主义的影响,其实恐怖主义带来的实际损失很小,真正让人们感到害怕的,是恐怖袭击的不确定性。)

作者单刀直入,直接列举癌症的致死数字,并同心脏病作对比:THE numbers are stark. Cancer claimed the lives of 8.8m people in 2015; only heart disease caused more deaths.

  • THE numbers are stark…

Stark有两层意思,第一层是very plain in appearance, with little or no colour or decoration(外表上)简陋的,荒凉的,比如,戈壁沙漠的荒凉之美:the stark beauty of Gobi Desert

文中是它的第二层意思:unpleasantly clear and impossible to avoid,近义词是harsh. 举个例子: 这部影片展示了贫民区的冷酷现实,我们可以说:The movie shows the stark realities of life in the ghetto(slum).

再如, 当地居民的极度贫困和游客的富裕形成了鲜明的对比:The extreme poverty of the local people is in stark contrast to the wealth of the tourists.

  • …claimed the lives of 8.8m people in 2015

事故/灾害/疾病 claims … lives,可以表示“导致…人死亡”,在《洪灾》第六页我们讲到了类似的表达方式,我们汇总一下:

Kill…people

Leave…dead

Cause…deaths

Claim…lives

最后,我们把这句话paraphrase一下,提高同义替换的表达能力:

THE numbers are stark. Cancer claimed the lives of 8.8m people in 2015; only heart disease caused more deaths.

Cancer, the second largest health killer after heart attack, claimed a staggering number of 8.8m lives in 2015.

我们来看这部分的翻译:我们先来看一组赤裸裸的数字:2015年,癌症导致880万人死亡,成为继心脏病之后的第二大死亡杀手。

接下来,作者从美国的癌症发病率这个角度进行分析,随后,同非洲的疟疾进行对比,更加体现出癌症的恐怖:Around 40% of Americans will be told they have cancer during their lifetimes. It is now a bigger killer of Africans than malaria.

    这句话直译过来是:在他们的一生中,大约有40%的美国人会被告知他们罹患癌症。

“发病率”可以用文中的说法“n% of people catch/are told to have…”,也可以用更加专业的表达:morbidity,《时代周刊》中曾出现过这么一个句子:

While TB mortality has declined fairly steadily, morbidity has been rising.

尽管肺结核的死亡率大幅下降,但其发病率有所上升。

  • It is now a bigger killer of Africans

Killer,是事故类、灾难类、医学类报道中常见的词汇,可以翻译为“杀手”,比如,癌症和心脏病是英国头号死亡杀手:Cancer and heart disease are the UK’s biggest killers.

我们看一下这部分的翻译:在美国,癌症的发病率约为40%。在非洲,癌症的致死人数已经超过疟疾。

随后,作者讲到了不可量化的危害,并同阿尔兹海默综合征进行对比:But the statistics do not begin to capture the fear inspired by cancer’s silent and implacable cellular mutiny. Only Alzheimer’s exerts a similar grip on the imagination.

  • capture the fear inspired by cancer’s silent and implacable cellular mutiny

Capture的意思是If something or someone captures a particular quality, feeling, or atmosphere, they represent or express it successfully,可以翻译为“代表(某种特点)”“体现(某种感情或气氛)”,比如,他开出一份富有中国风味的菜单,让人眼前一亮。我们可以说:He offers an inspired menu that captures the spirit of China.

再比如,Their mood was captured by one who said, “Students here don’t know or care about campus issues.”

一个人的话道出了他们的心情:“这儿的学生既不了解也不关心校园问题。”

文中capture the fear是说,体现出恐惧。

“中国特色社会主义”我们也可以说:socialism that captures Chinese spirits. 不过现在官方的说法是socialism with Chinese characteristics, 我们就采用官方的说法,但要知道也可以用capture the spirits of来表达“具有…特色”,而且更传神。

  • inspired by cancer’s silent and implacable cellular mutiny.

inspired by…是作fear的后置定语,指fear是由…引起的。Inspired by可以替换成fueled by, encouraged by,我们在之前的讲义中也讲过。

implacable的意思是that cannot be changed,无法改变的,比如,implacable hatred, fury, opposition无法消解的仇恨、愤怒、对立

an implacable enemy, rival, etc势不两立、不共戴天的敌人、竞争对手等。

我们来看这部分的翻译:癌细胞悄悄的发生着变异,绝不留情,这带来的恐慌远非数据所能体现。只有阿尔兹海默综合征能引起人们相同的恐惧。

第二段

Confronted with this sort of enemy, people understandably focus on the potential for scientific breakthroughs that will deliver a cure. Their hope is not misplaced. Cancer has become more and more survivable over recent decades owing to a host of advances, from genetic sequencing to targeted therapies. The five-year survival rate for leukemia in America has almost doubled, from 34% in the mid-1970s to 63% in 2006-12. America is home to about 15.5m cancer survivors, a number that will grow to 20m in the next ten years. Developing countries have made big gains, too: in parts of Central and South America, survival rates for prostate and breast cancer have jumped by as much as a fifth in only a decade.

本段是总分的关系,从科技角度讲了克服癌症所取得的进步,进步又从发达国家和发展中国家两个层面去分析。

面对这种疾病,人们自然而然的就会想到科技手段:Confronted with this sort of enemy, people understandably focus on the potential for scientific breakthroughs that will deliver a cure.

  • potential for scientific breakthroughs that will deliver a cure

Breakthrough的意思是an important discovery or event that helps to improve a situation or provide an answer to a problem 重大进展;突破,政府经常说,今年,我们在…方面取得了重大进展,我们可以说:A major breakthrough in… has been achieved.

deliver这个词要重点关注一下,它的意思及用法是If you deliver something that you have promised to do, make, or produce, you do, make, or produce it.

我们举几个例子,他们尚未证明自己真的能够开发出实用技术,我们可以说:They have yet to show that they can really deliver working technologies.

再比如,如果你不能按照要求提高销售额,就会被解雇。我们可以说:If you can’t deliver improved sales figures, you’re fired.

The team delivered a stunning victory last night. 昨晚这个队不负众望,大获全胜。

我们可以通过这三个例句理解deliver这个词。

Cure在这里是名词,表示a medicine or medical treatment that cures an illness,药物,疗法,比如,the search for a cure for cancer 对癌症治疗方法的研究

我们可以把cure引申一下,表示something that will solve a problem, improve a bad situation, etc.措施,举措,后面同样加介词for,比如,抑制通货膨胀没有什么灵丹妙药:The magic cure for inflation does not exist.

再如,a cure for poverty 解决贫穷问题的措施

我们看这部分的翻译:面对这样的敌人,我们就可以理解人们为何如此关注科学可能取得的突破,因为这能如人所愿,发现抗癌方案。

确实,人们的希望并没有落空,随后作者便讲到,科技的进步使癌症的存活率上升了:Their hope is not misplaced. Cancer has become more and more survivable over recent decades owing to a host of advances, from genetic sequencing to targeted therapies.

  • Their hope is not misplaced…

Misplace一词,我们可以通过造词法来记忆:前缀“mis-”表示“否定”,“place”表示“放置”,所以misplace一词表示“错误的放置”,希望没有放错位置,也就是人们没有把希望寄托在不该寄托的对象上。

比如,你不该信任她,我们可以说:Your trust in her is misplaced.

Their hope is not misplaced也是一个写作句型,比如,针对共享单车乱摆乱放这一现象进行研究,提出解决方案:城市颁布相应的监管措施,最后再列出原因支撑自己的观点:Some hope the introduction of measures to regulate shared bicycles will work. Their hope will not be misplaced. For one reason,…

  • Cancer has become more and more survivable

survivable的意思是that can be survived,非致命的,文中说,癌症越来越没有那么致命了,意思是,癌症的存活率越来越高。

  • owing to a host of advances

Owing to,因为,比如, 由于缺乏资助,音乐会被取消了。我们可以说,The concert has been cancelled owing to lack of support.

A host of, “a+量词+of”的结构,相当于many

  • from genetic sequencing to targeted therapies

From…to…, 包括,例如,这个知识点我们之前讲过。

genetic sequencing 基因测序,genetic sequence 基因序列

Sequence的意思是a series of related things or events,我们举个例子:The first chapter describes the strange sequence of events that lead to his death.

第一章描述了造成他死亡的一连串奇特事件。

再比如,For the sake of convenience the photographs are shown in chronological sequence.

为方便起见,照片按时间顺序展示。

targeted therapies指“靶向治疗”,targeted指“定向的”,比如李克强总理答记者问中谈到的“定向调控”就可以翻译为:targeted regulation.

我们来看这部分的翻译:他们的希望并没落空。由于包括基因测序和靶向治疗在内的科技进步,近几十年来癌症患者的存活率越来越高。

接下来,作者以美国为例,介绍了发达国家取得的进展:The five-year survival rate for leukemia in America has almost doubled, from 34% in the mid-1970s to 63% in 2006-12. America is home to about 15.5m cancer survivors, a number that will grow to 20m in the next ten years.

  • The five-year survival rate for leukemia in America…

five-year survival rate是“五年存活率”的意思,五年存活率最常用于癌症的统计中,指某患者从确诊开始五年后的存活百分比。“某疾病的五年存活率”,要在five-year survival rate后加介词for.

leukemia是白血病的意思,白血病是一种血癌,难以治愈,但前几天美国FDA批准了CAR-T疗法,大大提高了白血病的存活率。但这种治疗方法价格高昂,治疗一次要花300万人民币,而且只有在美国才能接受这种治疗。

  • America is home to about 15.5m cancer survivors

Be home to是“有”的意思,通常表示某地有什么东西,比如,中国幅员辽阔,拥有丰富的自然资源:China, a country with vast territory, is home to numerous natural resources.

  • a number that will grow…

a number that will grow…和15.5m cancer survivors是同位语关系,指1550万癌症幸存者这一数字将增长至…

我们看一下这篇文章的翻译:在美国,白血病的五年存活率从上世纪70年代中期的34%提高到2006年至2012年间的63%,几乎翻了一番。美国有大约1550万癌症幸存者,今后十年这个数字将增至2000万。

最后,我们再来看发展中国家取得的进步:Developing countries have made big gains, too: in parts of Central and South America, survival rates for prostate and breast cancer have jumped by as much as a fifth in only a decade.

  • Developing countries have made big gains

Make gains in/toward…,表示“取得进展”,

可以用make progress in…,gain ground in…来替换,3月25日那一期的《经济学人》中有这么一句话:

In Iraq, the army, backed by coalition air power, made gains in Mosul.

在伊拉克,该部队在联盟空中力量的支持下,在摩苏尔取得进展。

我们再举个例子:The anti-smoking lobby has steadily gained ground in the last decade.

反吸烟团体在过去十年中取得了成功。

prostate是“前列腺”的意思。本文出现了一些疾病的说法,考翻译的同学需要背过,其他学员了解即可。

我们看一下这部分的翻译:发展中国家也取得了相当大的进步:在中南美洲部分地区,短短十年内,前列腺癌和乳腺癌的存活率上升了五分之一

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