对“外资”一词经常有几种不同的译法，一种是 foreign investment，另一种是 overseas investment，还可以译为 international investment。如果把“外资”译为foreign investment，那就会给人造成一种错觉，把港、澳、台也变成了外国，因为我们常说的“外资”，也包括港、澳、台投资。所以，有人主张把“外资”译为overseas investment。但是，这样翻译也对也不对，因为它既可以指国外来的投资，也可以指向国外投资。
那么如何才能做到准确到位地翻译“外资”呢？我们要展开思路，可以按照“来国内的旅游团”（inward / incoming / inbound tours）和“去国外的旅游团”(outward / outgoing / outbound tours)的模式来翻译“外资”和“对外投资”。例如，我们可以将“外资”（外国来的投资）译为foreign (direct) investment；将“海外来的/到海外的投资”译为overseas investment；将“对内投资”译为internal investment；将“国外来的/外面来的投资”译为inward investment或者incoming investment；将“向外面/对外投资”译为outward investment或者outgoing investment或者external investment等。
如本文开头所讲，“外资”的一种译法是foreign investment。在下面的这两个例句中，我们不难看出，“外资”都是指外国来的投资(foreign investment)，所以将“外资”（外国来的投资）译为foreign investment 是十分明确的：
例1 Given the need to increase both local and foreign investment in the economy, the Trade and Industry Working Group initiated research into various aspects affecting investment.
例2 China's absorption of foreign investment is an important aspect of China's fundamental principle of opening up to the outside world, and is one of the great practices of building up socialist economy with Chinese characteristics.
“外资”的另一种译法是overseas investment，它既可以指“国外来的”投资，也可以指到国外投资。在例句3和例句4中，overseas investment指的是国外来的投资，向内的投资。而在例句5和例句6中，overseas investment或者investing overseas指的是向国外投资：
例3 New Zealand welcomes and encourages overseas investment from all countries. This is reflected by the facilitative nature of the Government's overseas investment policies.
例4 The Overseas Investment Commission administers the Overseas Investment Regulations 1995. Under the Regulations an "overseas person" must obtain consent to acquire or take "control" of 25 percent or more of New Zealand.
例5 overseas investment loss reserve 海外投资损失准备金
例6 Investing Overseas: Setting up a business overseas? Whether a joint venture, subsidiary, acquisition, etc - it can be a key to improving your company's growth and competitiveness. For many UK exporters considering setting up a joint venture or local office will be central to reviewing their business strategy for a particular market or group of markets. Investing overseas can, however, involve considerable investment in time, resources and capital and therefore risk.
另外，例句1中的Local Investment 是指来自国内的投资，而在下面这个例句中它就是来自本地的投资，Local Investment Fund：The National Fund that loans to Social Enterprises. 还有，domestic investment也是指来自国内的投资，例如 Mobilizing external resources for domestic investment in Africa.
例7 Cumbria is the home of many successful international businesses as well as the world-famous Lake District National Park. The Cumbria Inward Investment Agency web site provides you with an introduction to Cumbria as a great location for your business, with an unequalled quality of life for your people.
例8 Incoming Investment: Are there any prohibitions or restrictions on foreign investment in the U.S.?
例9 Attraction of FDI: Latvia is still among the countries whose annual growth of the incoming investment is very high. It certifies the potential hidden both directly in the economy of Latvia and in the strategically important global market.
例10 Taxation of Inbound Investment: Government must make a more focused and concerted effort to implement policies that would encourage a greater quantity and higher quality of business investment, from both foreign and domestic sources.
例11 Outward Investment from Canada - The Offshore Perspective
例12 Outgoing Investment：Are there any prohibitions or restrictions imposed by the U.S. government against U.S. persons making investments outside the U.S.?
例13 Worldwide outgoing investment in 1997 reached $423.7 billion (an increase of about 22 percent over the previous year) as a new record and continues to increase. ... Developing countries reached their highest level of outgoing and incoming investment.
例14 The China Outbound Investment Statistics Report, jointly issued by the Ministry of Commerce and the National Bureau of Statistics, gives an overview of the movement in the Chinese mainland.
例15 Outbound investments fell to $5.73 billion last year after $6.28 billion in 2002, $6.34 billion in 2001 and $6.02 billion in 2000. MOFE officials said that domestic companies and individuals continued to expand their overseas investments as they search for cheaper labor and better access to emerging markets like China and Vietnam…
另外，external investment和internal investment根据不同的上下文，也可以指来自企业外部和内部的投资，如例句16和例句17：
例16 External investment: How much external investment in your company was generated based on the Licensed Technology? (External Investment includes: venture capital funding, private or family funding, cash for equity, strategic partnerships, government contracts, etc.)
例17 Internal Investment Priorities to Drive Services Spending in 2004
但是要注意，home investment 是指房地产投资，例如：Home Investment Partnerships Program。
|About the author:
丁衡祁，对外经济贸易大学商务英语系教授，2002 年退休后被对外经济贸易大学卓越国际学院聘为英语教学研究中心主任。曾任对外经济贸易大学研究生部主任兼师资培训中心主任。曾被派往中国驻美国旧金山总领事馆任商务领事。曾在中央电视台主讲英语教学节目《夺魁》（Bid for Power）。现为中国翻译协会理事，《中国翻译》杂志编委，中国译协对外传播委员会成员，全国翻译专业资格考试英语专家委员会委员，中国日报网站英语点津“翻译擂台赛”特约专家，中国对外翻译出版公司专家顾问委员会委员，中国进出口银行英文译审。