我們學語言常常會落入逐字翻譯的泥沼,而忽略了真正的含意。有些很簡單的片語或句子,其意義事實上和字面意思是不一樣的。請不要再逐字翻譯,沒弄清楚,往往會鬧成笑話。請看以下這兩句逐字翻譯的結果:

1.Tell me about it! 翻成「快告訴我是怎麼回事!」錯!
2.What else is new? 翻成「還有什麼是新的嗎?」錯!

如果將這兩句放到對話中,含義與字面意思有很大不同。那麼,這兩句話到底是什麼意思呢?讓我們舉幾個例子:

Tell me about it!

A:Do you know under the newly reformed tax plan, the rich people actually pay less tax?(你知道嗎?改革後的新稅務法,富人繳的稅會更少。)
B:Yeah, tell me about it! My neighbor is a millionaire and he told me that his tax rate would be reduced by fifty percent.(可不是嗎?我的鄰居是個百萬富翁。他告訴我,他繳的稅會降低50%。)

在這裡,tell me about it不是要求對方告訴你什麼事,而是附和,並帶有驚訝的成分。再比如:

A:Under such harsh economic downturns, working class can hardly make ends meet.(經濟下滑這麼厲害,薪水階級都入不敷出了。)
B:Tell me about it! In my family alone two people got laid off. I don't know how I can make the mortgage payment this month.(可不是嗎?光我們家就被裁了兩人,我還不知道這個月怎麼付房貸呢。)

What else is new?

A:Hey, do you know the new governor is going to cut the funding for education?(嘿,你聽說了嗎?新州長要削減教育經費呢!)
B:What else is new? We all know he represents big businesses. Education is not his top priority.(那有什麼稀奇的?我們早就知道他只支持大企業的利益,並不關心教育。)

在這裡,What else is new表示,這種結局是預料之中的事,不算什麼新聞。所以,根據上下文,也可說「這算不上什麼新聞」。再比如:

A:Yesterday my daughter gave me a gift wish list for her 15th birthday. Among other things she asks for a laptop computer!(昨天,我女兒給我開了一張列表,列舉了她15歲生日想要的禮物。其中竟然有一台筆記型電腦!)
B: What else is new? At least she hasn't asked for a car. Wait till next year!(那有什麼稀奇的?她至少沒讓你送她一輛車。明年你等著瞧吧!)

再複習一遍:
Tell me about it! 就是嘛!這還用說嗎!
What else is new? 那有什麼稀奇的。

英文藏在細節裡,還有太多英文說不出口