惡人先告狀…桌子掉轉了

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09/10/2012

惡人先告狀…桌子掉轉了 毛孟靜

世事,有時候明明是你忠他奸,明明你是受害人,You are the victim,對方卻可以惡人先告狀,大剌剌地猥瑣,反過來說他是好人,你才是壞人,用英文口語講:He’s the goodie, andyou are the baddie instead。

大至政府,小至個人,都會上演這款捩橫折曲、惡人先告狀。惡人,不必直譯villain,講the guilty party、the baddy(眾數baddies)就好。而先告狀的「先」,有先下手為強之意,英文是to pre-empt、take a pre-emptivemeasure。告狀,就很有點舊日的封建歷史味道,現代西方的說法,是to sue、to file a suit、to file a complaint。

於是,一句「看他的態度,簡直就係惡人先告狀!」可譯做:See the way he behaves. It’s just like theguilty party filing a suit first, to pre-empt actionby the victim.

上面這句英文,終歸囉里囉嗦。說的既然是忠奸角色掉轉,英文另有一句:the tables areturned,桌子掉轉了。說的掉轉,除了身分,還可形容強弱、輸贏等局面。

To turn the tables = reverse the position ofadversaries(與對手掉換形勢)。用諸惡人先告狀,就變成:

.The baddie turns the tables (around). 這裏的around,用來强調語氣,可以不用。.The guilty party manages to turn the tableson the victim.

留意這款tables 有s,永遠是眾數。這番形容,源自西方桌子上可以彼此掉轉玩的二人遊戲,table games,包括backgammom,叫百家樂棋,又叫雙陸棋。

順帶一提, 日常生活常說的turntable, 跟turn the tables 完全無關。Turntable 是指任何圓形、會打轉的裝置,包括舊式的膠碟唱片盤,以及中式宴餐桌上時時出現的, 亦叫LazySusan( 「懶惰蘇珊」)的盛菜旋轉盤。

Turntable 這個字,也許好多小孩子都識,因為在香港頗見流行的英國兒童故事Thomas theTank Engine(湯馬仕小火車)裏就有改變行駛方向的railway turntable,鐵路轉盤!

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