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《高级英语》课文逐句翻译(9)

2006-12-29 14:03   【 】【我要纠错

  Lesson Nine The Trouble with Television

  电视的毛病

  The Trouble with Television

  要摆脱电视的影响是困难的。

  It is difficult to escape the influence of television.

  假如统计的平均数字适用于你的话,那么你到20岁的时候就至少看过2万个小时的电视了,从那以后每生活10年就会增加1万小时。

  If you fit the statistical averages, by the age of 20 you will have been exposed to at least 20,000 hours of television. You can add 10,000 hours for each decade you have lived after the age of 20.

  笔起看电视,美国人只有在工作和睡眠上花时间更多。

  The only things Americans do more than watch television are work and sleep.

  稍微计算一下,使用这些时间的一部分能够做些什么。

  Calculate for a moment what could be done with even a part of those hours.

  听说一个大学生仅用5000小时就可以获得学士学位

  Five thousand hours, I am told, are what a typical college undergraduate spends working on a bachelor's degree.

  在1万个小时内你能学成一个天文学家或工程师,流利掌握几门外语。

  In 10,000 hours you could have learned enough to become an astronomer or engineer. You could have learned several languages fluently.

  如果你感兴趣的话,你可能读希腊原文的荷马史诗或俄文版的陀思妥耶夫斯基的作品;如果对此不感兴趣,那你可以徒步周游世界,撰写一本游记。

  If it appealed to you, you could be reading Homer in the original Greek or Dostoyevsky in Russian. If it didn't, you could have walked around the world and written a book about it.

  电视的毛病在于它分散了人们的注意力。

  The trouble with television is that it discourages concentration.

  生活中几乎一切有趣的、能给人以满足的事都需要一定的建设性的、持之以恒的努力。

  Almost anything interesting and rewarding in life requires some constructive, consistently applied effort.

  即使是我们中间那些最迟钝、最没有天才的人也能做出一些事来,而这些事使那些从来不在任何事情上专心致志的人感到像是奇迹一般。

  The dullest, the least gifted of us can achieve things that seem miraculous to those who never concentrate on anything.

  但电视鼓励我们不做出任何努力,它向我们兜售即时的满足,它给我们提供娱乐,使我们只想娱乐,让时间在毫无痛苦中消磨掉。

  But Television encourages us to apply no effort. It sells us instant gratification. It diverts us only to divert, to make the time pass without pain.

  电视节目的多样化成了一种麻醉剂而不是促进思考的因素。

  Television's variety becomes a narcotic , nor a stimulus.

  它那系列的、多变的画面引着我们跟着它走。

  Its serial, kaleidoscopic exposures force us to follow its lead.

  观众无休无止地跟着导游游览:参观博物馆30分钟,看大教堂30分钟,喝饮料30分钟,然后上车去下一个参观点,只是电视的特点是时间分配以分秒计算,而所选择的内容却多为车祸和人们的互相残杀。

  The viewer is on a perpetual guided tour: 30 minutes at the museum, 30 at the cathedral, 30 for a drink, then back on the bus to the next attraction —-except on television., typically, the spans allotted arc on the order of minutes or seconds, and the chosen delights are more often car crashes and people killing one another.

  总之许多电视节目取代了人类最可贵的一种才能,即主动集中自己的注意力,而不是被动地奉送注意力。

  In short, a lot of television usurps one of the most precious of all human gifts, the ability to focus your attention yourself, rather than just passively surrender it.

  吸引并抓住人们的注意力是大多数电视节目安排的主要目的,它加强了电视是有利可图的广告的载体的作用。

  Capturing your attention —and holding it—is the prime motive of most television programming and enhances its role as a profitable advertising vehicle.

  节目安排使人生活在无休止的恐惧之中,唯恐抓不住人们的注意力——不管是什么人的注意力都担心。

  Programmers live in constant fear of losing anyone's attention—anyone's.

  避免造成这一局面的最有把握的办法就是使一切节目都保持简短,不要使任何人的注意力过于集中而受到损害,而要通过多样化、新奇性、动作和行动不断地提供刺激。

  The surest way to avoid doing so is to keep everything brief, not to strain the attention of anyone but instead to provide constant stimulation through variety, novelty, action and movement.

  很简单,电视的运作原则就是迎合观众的注意力跨度短这一特点。

  Quite simply, television operates on the appeal to the short attention span.

  这只是最简单的解决办法,但它逐渐被看作是电视这一宣传媒体特定的,内在固有的性质,是必须履行的职责,似乎是司令萨尔诺夫或另一个令人敬畏的电视创始人给我们传下了刻有铭文的石碑,命令电视上出现的一切节目均不得使观众需要片刻以上的注意力。

  It is simply the easiest way out. But it has come to be regarded as a given, as inherent in the medium itself; as an imperative, as though General Sarnoff, or one of the other august pioneers of video, had bequeathed to us tablets of stone commanding that nothing in television shall ever require more than a few moments' Concentration.

  要是运用得恰当,这倒也无可厚非。

  In its place that is fine.

  如此出色地把使人忘却现实的娱乐作为大规模推销工具加以包装,谁又能反对这样一种宣传媒介呢?

  Who can quarrel with a medium that so brilliantly packages escapist entertainment as a mass-marketing tool?

  但是我看到了它的价值现已充斥于这个国家及其生活之中。

  Rut I see its values now pervading this nation and its life.

  认为快速思维和快餐食品一样影响着生活节奏很快、性情急躁的公众,这已成了时髦的看法。

  It has become fashionable to think that, like fast food, fast ideas are the way to get to a fast-moving, impatient public.

  在新闻方面,我认为这种做法不能进行很好的交流。

  In the case of news, this practice, in my view, results in inefficient communication.

  我怀疑电视每晚的新闻节目真正能够被人吸收和理解的有多少。

  I question how much of television's nightly news effort is really absorbable and understandable.

  其中许多被形象地描述为“机关枪不连贯地点射”。

  Much of it is what has been aptly described as “machine-gunning with scraps.”

  我认为这种技术是与连贯性作对的。

  I think the technique fights coherence.

  我认为它最终会使事情变得枯燥乏味、无足轻重(除非伴以恐怖的画面),因为任何一件事,如果你对它几乎一无所知,那么它差不多总会是枯燥乏味、使人觉得无足轻重的。

  I think it tends to make things ultimately boring and dismissible (unless they are accompanied by horrifying pictures) because almost anything is boring and dismissible if you know almost nothing about it.

  我认为,电视迎合观众注意力跨度短的做法不仅会造成交流不畅,而且还会降低文化水平。

  I believe that TV's appeal to the short attention span is not only inefficient communication but decivilizing as well.

  想一想电视要达到的那些极不慎重的原则吧:必须避免复杂性,用视觉刺激来代替思考,语言的精确早已是不合时宜的要求。

  Consider the casual assumptions that television tends to cultivate: that complexity must be avoided, that visual stimulation is a substitute for thought, that verbal precision is an anachronism.

  它可能已过时,但我所受的教育告诉我思想就是语言,是按准确的语法规则组织起来的。

  It may be old-fashioned, but I was taught that thought is words, arranged in grammatically precise

  在美国存在着读写能力的危机。

  There is a crisis of literacy in this country.

  据一项研究估计,约有3000万美国成年人是“功能性文盲”。他们的读写能力无法回答招聘广告,或读懂药瓶上的说明。

  One study estimates that some 30 million adult Americans are “functionally illiterate” and cannot read or write well enough to answer the want ad or understand the instructions on a medicine bottle.

  能读写可能算不上是一项不可剥夺的人权,但是我们学识渊博的开国元勋们并不感到它是不合理的或者甚至是达不到的。

  Literacy may not be an inalienable human right, but it is one that the highly literate Founding Fathers might not have found unreasonable or even unattainable.

  从统计数字上看,我们的国家不仅未达到人人能读写的程度,而且离这一目标越来越远。

  We are not only not attaining it as a nation, statistically speaking, but we are falling further and further short of attaining it.

  尽管我不会天真到认为电视是造成这一情况的原因,但我却相信它起了一定的作用,是有影响的。

  And, white I would not be so simplistic as to suggest that television is the cause, 1 believe it contributes and is an influence.

  美国的一切:社会结构、家庭组织形式、经济、在世界上的地位,都变得更为复杂,而不是相反。

  Everything about this nation —the structure of the society, its forms of family organization, its economy, its place in the world— has become more complex, not less.

  然而其占主导地位的传播媒介,全国联系的主要方式,却在人类存在的问题上推销简单的解决方式,而这些问题通常是没有简单的解决方式的。

  Yet its dominating communications instrument, its principal form of national linkage, is one that sells neat resolutions to human problems that usually have no neat resolutions.

  在我的心目中,那30秒钟一个的商业广告:一位家庭主妇因选对了牙膏而感到幸福的那小小的戏剧性场面就是这一切的象征。电视已使这极其成功的艺术形式成为我们文化不可缺少的一个部分了。

  It is all symbolized in my mind by the hugely successful art form that television has made central to the culture,the 30-second commercial: the tiny drama of the earnest housewife who finds happiness in choosing the right toothpaste.

  在人类历史上,几时曾有这样多的人共同把自己这样多的业余时间奉送给一件玩具,一项大众娱乐?

  When before in human history has so much humanity collectively surrendered so much of its leisure to one toy, one mass diversion?

  几时曾有一个国家使自己整个地置于商品推销媒介的摆布之下?

  When before has virtually an entire nation surrendered itself whole-sale to a medium for selling?

  几年前,耶鲁大学的法学教授小查尔斯?L?布莱克写道:“……被喂食本身并不是件琐碎小事。”

  Some years ago Yale University law professor Charles L. Black. Jr.,wrote:“…… forced feeding on trivial fare is not itself a trivial matter-”

  我认为我们这个社会正在强行被喂食。

  I think this society is being forced-fed with trivial fare,

  我担心这一做法对我们的思维习惯,对我们的语言、我们努力的极限度及对复杂情况的兴趣等方面所造成的影响,这一点我们还只是极模糊地意识到。

  and I fear that the effects on our habits of mind, our language, our tolerance for effort, and our appetite for complexity are only dimly perceived.

  就算我的看法不对,用怀疑和批判的眼光来分析这个问题,来考虑如何抵制它,也不会有任何害处。

  If I am wrong, we will have done no harm to look at the issue skeptically and critically,to consider how we should be resisting it. I hope you will join with me in doing so.

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