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The du und du waltz

你,就是“你”

Nov 26th 2009 | BERLIN
From The Economist print edition

The complex etiquette of du and Sie in Germany

“您

”还是“你”?德国的礼节很繁琐。

“AT 2.12 our work was finished. At 2.15 we called each other Horst and Guido. This is the beginning of a great friendship.” That is how Guido Westerwelle, the Free Democratic leader in Germany’s coalition government, broke the news that he and Horst Seehofer of the Christian Social Union would henceforth address each other by the familiar du rather than the formal Sie. Since Mr Seehofer had called Mr Westerwelle a crybaby just weeks earlier, it was a touching reconciliation. But how much warmth does the intimate du convey?

“两点十二分,我们把工作做完了。两点十五分,我们称呼对方‘霍斯特’和‘吉多’。这是一段伟大友谊的开始。”德国联邦政府自民党党首吉多?威斯特威勒对媒体曝光说,从今以后他将与基社盟的霍斯特?泽霍费尔用更自然的“你”代替刻板的“您”来称呼对方。鉴于就在几周前,泽霍费尔先生还把威斯特威勒比作爱哭的婴儿,如今这次和解确实令人感动。但是,更私人的“你”这个称呼究竟能传达多少暖意呢?

It used to be so simple. Relatives, friends, children and dogs were du; everyone else was Sie. The offer of du, usually by an older interlocutor, was not made lightly. But this formula has become scrambled during the past 40 years. Germany is not America, where everyone is on first-name terms except in the doctor’s surgery. The rules are now confusing, so that instead of guarding the borders between friendship and acquaintance, Sie and du often now smuggle coded messages across them.

过去一切都非常简单明了:亲戚朋友间、孩子、宠物的称呼是“你”,其他人是“您”。“你”这个称呼通常为谈话中的年长者所使用,并非那么随意。然而这个公式在过去40年里被完全打乱了。德国不像美国一样,除了在医生的诊室里,所有人都以名字互相称呼。德国的规矩现在让人困惑,因此,相对于以前对相知和相识关系的区分,他们彼此之间“您”和“你”的称谓所传达的信息已经变成了一种密码。

It started with 1968ers who impudently called their professors du. Later generations of students reverted to Sie. But with each other, indeed with everyone of student age, du predominates. Bouncers at Berlin’s clubs are gesiezt but bartenders are geduzt. Shoppers at upmarket KaDeWe are Sie but in shops packed with young Germans even those not so youthful may be called du. Annett Louisan, a pop singer, laments the passing of Sie: “This distance adds a little more/to something that would be a bore/‘What can I do for Sie?’/stimulates wild fantasy.”

最初是六八年学运的那一代开始轻浮地称他们的教授为“你”的,之后的几代学生又恢复为使用“您”。但在学生之间,事实上是在每个年轻人之间,“你”这个称呼是居统治地位的。柏林酒吧里的保镖被称为“您”,而吧台侍者则被称为“你”。高档商店,比如Kadewe(注:Kaufhaus des Westens 西部商城,欧洲最大的百货商店)的顾客们是“您”,而那些充斥着年轻人的商店,即使不是那么年轻的顾客,都可能被称作“你”。流行歌手安耐特?路易珊在她的歌中哀叹“您”这个称谓的消逝:“再多一点点距离/就少一点点空虚/‘很乐意为您效劳’/是最狂野的刺激”。

In less erotically charged settings Sie holds sway. Banks, law firms and ministries remain bastions of Sie, though egalitarian companies like Sweden’s IKEA have converted to du. It is easier to sack a Sie than a du. Sometimes du can even be dangerous: try it on a policeman and you may end up paying a fine for insulting an officer.

在高雅的情境里则是尊称占统治地位。银行、法律事务所以及政府部门依然是“您”的领域。然而在一些推崇平等主义的公司里,比如瑞典的宜家,则反其道而行之。解雇一个被称为“您”的员工可要比解雇一个被称为“你”的员工简单多了。不过有些时候使用“你”也会有麻烦:对警察用这样的称谓,你很有可能因侮辱公职人员之罪名而被罚款。

Politics has its own rules. In the Social Democratic Party (SPD) it would be an insult to siezen a “comrade”. Communists in East Germany were du to each other, which gives it a sinister ring to some Ossis. In conservative circles and across party lines du is not yet automatic. Angela Merkel, the Christian Democratic chancellor, never said du to Frank-Walter Steinmeier, her SPD foreign minister, though she apparently already does so to his successor, Mr Westerwelle.

在政治上也有自己的一套规则。在社民党里,对一位同志使用尊称会被认为是对人的侮辱。过去东德的共产党员也用“你”来互相称呼,在一些东德人看来,这让他们愈发邪恶了。在保守的圈子里以及党派之间,“你”的称谓并不适用。来自基民盟的联邦总理安格拉?默克尔从来没有对来自社民党的外交部长弗兰克-瓦尔特?斯泰因迈尔称呼过“你”,尽管很显然地,她对她的继任者威斯特威勒先生这样称呼过。

In Mr Seehofer’s case, as the older man, he almost certainly made the first move with Mr Westerwelle. But that has not stopped him repeatedly sniping at the new foreign minister. In this case du seems less a profession of friendship than a screen for hostility.

对泽霍费尔来说,做为年长者,他几乎就和威斯特威勒先生一起迈出了第一步。但这并没有改变他不断给这位新的外交部长暗地里找麻烦的事实。在这件事上,“你”的称谓看起来与其说是友谊的象征,不如说是敌意的伪饰。


发表于00:32 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享 0尼日利亚:专门绑架本国富豪2009-12-04Kidnapping in Nigeria
尼日利亚绑架猖獗

Go for the locals
绑架本国人

Nov 26th 2009 | LAGOS
From The Economist print edition

A new scourge is afflicting the rich
富豪们面临新的不安

IT COULD not have happened to a more colourful character. Nkem Owoh, a Nollywood film star is famous for a song about financial fraud entitled “I Go Chop Your Dollar”. While driving along a highway in eastern Nigeria earlier this month, he was kidnapped. His abductors originally demanded 15m naira ($99,000). He was freed a week later for an unknown ransom, though the local press say the gang was beaten down to a mere 1.4m naira plus the actor’s fancy car.

这本不应发生在一个颇有争议的人物身上。 Nkem owoh,一个诺莱坞(Nollywood)电影明星,以一首讽刺财务欺诈的歌“去抢你的钱(Go Chop Your Dollar)”而出名。 这个月早些时候,当Nkem owoh驾车行走在尼日利亚东部的一条高速公路上时,他被绑架。绑架者最初提出15万奈拉(99,000美元)的赎金要求。一周以后他被释放,赎金不为外人所知。但据当地媒体报道,他付出的赎金仅为14万奈拉,外加他的那辆名贵小汽车。

The abduction sounds like a far-fetched script from one of Nigeria’s popular outlandish films. But kidnapping is a serious business. Nabbing prominent Nigerians is becoming increasingly common, as gangs shift their focus from foreign oil workers to their own rich compatriots.

这起绑架案听起来好象是尼日利亚充满异国风味的电影里面的一个蹩脚片段。 但是绑架一个严重的社会问题。 当犯罪团伙转移绑架重点,从绑架外国石油工人转移到绑架他们国内那些富豪时,尼日利亚的社会名流正日益成为他们的绑架对象。

An American security firm ranks Nigeria in the world’s top eight kidnapping hotspots, alongside such violent places as Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia. According to the State Department, more than 50 foreigners were kidnapped between January 2008 and July this year, most of them in the Delta region, home to Nigeria’s oil industry. Attacks on foreigners were even more frequent in 2007. Insurgents sought ransoms to draw attention to political grievances and to make cash.

一家美国保安公司将尼日利亚归类到世界上八个最易发生绑架的热点地区中,这些充满暴力的地方还包括:阿富汗、伊拉克和索马里。 据尼日利亚行政部称,在2008年1月和今年7月之间,共有超过50名外国人被绑架,大多发生在尼日利亚的盛产石油的尼日尔三角洲地区。这些暴徒通过敲诈勒索,表达对国内政治的不满,索取钱物。

But, as foreign oil giants such as Royal Dutch Shell and ExxonMobil have tightened security and shifted professional staff out of the Delta, attackers have started looking for softer targets. Nigeria’s authorities are most worried by the spread of kidnapping beyond the Delta.

但是当外国石油巨头,如皇家荷兰壳牌公司和埃克森美孚公司加强了保安措施,将专业人员迁移出尼日尔三角洲地区后,绑架者们开始搜寻更容易对付的目标。而尼日利亚当权者们最担心绑架案蔓延到这一地区以外。

The father of Chukwuma Soludo, a former central-bank chief, was seized at the end of October in Anambra state, where his son hopes to become governor. Simeon Soludo, in his late 70s, was freed some days later. His family denies that it paid the kidnappers a ransom. A senior official in the predominantly Muslim north was also recently abducted. Yakubu Lame, Nigeria’s minister of police affairs, said in July that 512 kidnappings had been reported in the first half of this year, against 353 for the whole of 2008.

Chukwuma Soludo的父亲simeon soludo是前任中央银行总裁,十月底在阿南布拉(Anambra)州被绑架,, Chukwuma Soludo有望成为该州州长。 过了一些天后,快80岁的simeon soludo被释放 , 他的家人否认给绑架者支付过赎金。还有一个政府高官员最近在以伊斯兰教徒为主要人口的北部地区,遭遇绑架。 尼日利亚警察部长Yakubu Lame在今年7月份时说,今年前半年,上报到警察部的绑架案有512件,而2008年全年这一数字为353件。

Not so bad if you’re white
如果是外国人,则没那么糟

At the same time, the rate of abducting foreigners is going down. Staff who remain in the Delta, rather than in smart new offices in Lagos, the commercial capital, travel in convoys and stew in guarded compounds after dark. A recent fragile peace deal in the oil-producing states, following an amnesty for rebels this summer, has also reduced the abduction rate. Of the 35 Britons known to have been snatched in the Delta since 2006, only four were taken this year, says the British government.

同时,发生在外国人身上的绑架案正在下降。那些还呆在尼日尔三角洲地区——而不是在拉各斯(尼日利亚的商业中心)整洁舒服的办公室里--的工作人员,可以在保安人员陪同下到四处走走,天黑后还可以在有保安的院子里准备晚餐。针对外国人绑架案减少的另一个原因是,今年夏天尼日利亚政府特赦了一些被关押的叛乱分子,由此换来刚刚达成的一项脆弱的和平协议。英国政府称,自2006年至今,共有35人在尼日尔三角洲地区被劫走,其中发生在今年的只有四起。

Western embassies and security firms in Nigeria agree that the shift towards local victims takes the heat off them a bit. Locals are not only easier targets but also give criminals the chance to demand ransoms from emotional families rather than from an oil company’s hard-headed anti-kidnapping team or insurance firm.

在尼日利亚的西方各国使馆和保安公司一致认为,转向针对当地人的绑架案略微减轻了他们的工作压力。 绑架本国人不仅易于得逞,也给了犯罪分子从情绪慌乱的家庭--而不是从石油公司精明且讲究实效的反绑架机构或保险公司--索取赎金的机会。

Nigeria’s government has responded to the surge with an anti-kidnapping bill, which, if passed, would mean life sentences for abductors and their accomplices. This year, to the dismay of Amnesty International, six of the country’s 36 states have adopted the death penalty for the crime. More are considering it.

针对猖獗的绑架案,尼日利亚政府提出了一项反绑架法案,如果获得通过,绑架者和同谋者将被判无期徒刑。 今年,针对绑架犯罪,尼日利亚36个州的6个州采用了死刑,这令特赦国际(Amnesty International)大为沮丧。 而还有更多的州正考虑采用。

However, it is by no means certain that tougher penalties will stem the tide. Despite the huge oil and gas reserves of Africa’s second-biggest economy, many Nigerians have no work, are on a daily hunt for cash, and are pumped up by the idea of instant wealth acquired by snatching a film star from his car.

然而,更加严厉的刑罚并不意味着一定能遏制绑架浪潮。 尽管尼日利亚油气储量丰富,是非洲第二大经济体,但有许多尼日利亚人没有工作,他们四处找钱,幻想着通过从小汽车中绑架电影明星而一夜暴富。

发表于00:31 | 阅读全文 | 评论 2 | 编辑 | 分享 0全国气候:政治搭台,科学唱戏2009-12-04Climate change 气候变化

A heated debate 激辩

Nov 26th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Why political orthodoxy must not silence scientific argument
为何有了政治说法,还应有科学的辩论?

Illustration by Claudio Munoz

“WHAT is truth?” That was Pontius Pilate’s answer to Jesus’s assertion that “Everyone that is of the truth heareth my voice.” It sounds suspiciously like the modern argument over climate change.

“真理是什么?”耶稣说完“相信真理的人都能听到我”之后,彼拉多随即如此问道。听起来耳熟?在当代,气候变化引起的争辩就与此有相似之处。

A majority of the world’s climate scientists have convinced themselves, and also a lot of laymen, some of whom have political power, that the Earth’s climate is changing; that the change, from humanity’s point of view, is for the worse; and that the cause is human activity, in the form of excessive emissions of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide.

国际上,大多数气候科学家不但说服了自己,也说服了很多门外汉(其中包括一些有政治影响力的人)--地球的气候正在改变;这种改变,从人道主义角度来看,是消极的;这种改变的始作俑者是人类,是他们通过排放超量的诸如二氧化碳的温室气体而造成的。

A minority, though, are sceptical. Some think that recent, well-grounded data suggesting the Earth’s average temperature is rising are explained by natural variations in solar radiation, and that this trend may be coming to an end. Others argue that longer-term evidence that modern temperatures are higher than they have been for hundreds or thousands of years is actually too flaky to be meaningful.

少数人对此表示怀疑。有些人提出,最近有充分的数据表明地球平均气温上升是由于太阳辐射的自然变化,而这种变化已接近尾声。其他人也认为长期的证据显示现在的气温高于过去几百年甚至几千年的说法是站不住脚的。

Such disagreements are commonplace in science. They are eventually settled by the collection of more data and the invention of more refined (or entirely new) theories. Arguments may persist for decades; academics may—and often do—sling insults at each other; but it does not matter a great deal because the stakes are normally rather low.

对于科学家们来说,这样的争论司空见惯。只要有更多的数据和更完整的(或全新的)理论,他们最终便会折服。争论可能会持续数十年;学者们可能,实际上经常起唇舌之争,出言伤人,但因为赌注通常不大,因此也无伤大雅。

The stakes in the global-warming debate, however, could scarcely be higher. Scientific evidence /that climate change is under way, is man-made, and is likely to continue happening/ forms the foundation for an edifice of policy which is intended to transform the world’s carbon-intensive economy into one which no longer spews greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. A lot of money, and many reputations—both academic and political—are involved.

然而在全球气候变暖这边的争辩,赌注却高得多。科学证据声称气候变化正在进行中,是人类之过,还很可能持续下去。于是各国政府纷纷出台了一摞的政策,试图把目前以碳为主导的经济发展模式转向清洁的发展模式。在这过程中,无论是学者还是政客,一掷千金甚至连名誉也搭上的大有人在。

Sceptics claim that this burden of responsibility is crushing the spirit of scientific inquiry. Scientists, they maintain, are under pressure to bolster the majority view. The recent publication of embarrassing e-mails from the University of East Anglia, an important centre of climate science (see article), revealing doubts about data and a determination not to air such concerns publicly, has strengthened these suspicions.

怀疑者们认为,沉重的责任正在碾碎科学探究精神。他们还坚持认为科学家们为了支持多数人的观点而饱受压力的煎熬。最近曝光的一封来自东安吉利大学这所著名气候科学研究中心的电子邮件让人局促不安。邮件的曝光揭示的对数据的疑问和不公开这些忧虑的决心,更印证了以上的怀疑。

There is no doubt that politics and science make uncomfortable bedfellows. Politicians sell certainty. Science lives off doubt. The creation /of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to establish a consensus on the science /was an excellent idea for policymakers, who needed a strong scientific foundation for their deliberations, but it sits uncomfortably with a discipline that advances by disproving accepted theories and overturning orthodoxies.

毫无疑问,政治和科学夫唱妇随并不是一件好事。政客们要确凿的事实,而科学家们则以怀疑为乐。对决策者来说,要得出深思熟虑的结果就需要无懈可击的科学性,所以成立国际气候变化小组以达成科学的共识是英明之举。但要前进就必须反对公认的理论和推翻正统的说法。如此规则让这个小组坐立难安。

The danger of dissent
反对的危险

Some would argue that, in matters of great public import, scientific dissent should be silenced. It can, it is true, do harm. When AIDS first reared its ugly head, no one knew what caused it. Gradually, the virus responsible was isolated, identified and then attacked successfully with drugs designed specifically to inhibit its reproduction. A few scientists, though, refused to accept the evidence, and some politicians used their arguments to justify inaction. Since one of those politicians was Thabo Mbeki, then president of South Africa, hundreds of thousands who might have been saved by an anti-AIDS policy grounded in scientific reality died as a result of his policies.

有些人反驳道,在关乎公共利益的事物面前,持异议的科学家们应该保持缄默。事实上,这是有百害而无一利的。在艾滋病肆虐伊始,没有人知道原因。然后带病毒者被隔离了,确认染病后又服用专门的药物成功抑制病毒蔓延。只是有部分科学家拒绝接受证据,于是某些政治家就顺水推舟以此为借口不采取任何行动。由于其中一个政客是前南非总统塔博姆贝基,数十万个本来可以通过科学的抗艾滋病政策保住性命的患者死在了他的政策之下。

Yet the damage in that case was done by the politicians. A leader who is determined to pursue a wrong-headed course will always find some scientist to support him. A world in which that were not true would be one in which a dangerously narrow consensus had taken hold.

但是这种情况要为损失负责人的应该是政客。一个决意要步向歧途的领导者总是不乏支持他的科学家。要是有那么一个世界不是如此,那么在这个世界里肯定存在着一种狭隘得近乎危险的共识。

This newspaper believes that global warming is a serious threat, and that the world needs to take steps to try to avert it. That is the job of the politicians. But we do not believe that climate change is a certainty. There are no certainties in science. Prevailing theories must be constantly tested against evidence, and refined, and more evidence collected, and the theories tested again. That is the job of the scientists. When they stop questioning orthodoxy, mankind will have given up the search for truth. The sceptics should not be silenced.

本刊深信,全球气候变暖是一个严峻的威胁,全人类都需要采取行动改变这种状况--这是政客的职责。但是我们并不认为气候变化已成定局。在科学的世界里面没有肯定。流行的理论必须反复经过验证,修正再验证再修正才能下定论—这是科学家的工作。到他们不再怀疑正统说法之日,便是人类放弃追求真理之时。怀疑的声音是不应该被抹杀的。

发表于00:30 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 编辑 | 分享1传统零售与网络零售 美国对决2009-12-04Retail v e-tail in America
传统零售与网络零售 美国对决

Bleak Friday
阴暗星期五

Nov 26th 2009 | NEW YORK
From The Economist print edition

Bricks-and-mortar shops struggle to win customers back from virtual ones
实体商场从网络商家手中极力挽回消费者

SHOPPERS on Black Friday, the traditional start of the holiday shopping season in America, which falls on November 27th this year, are notoriously aggressive. Some even start queuing outside stores before dawn to be the first to lay their hands on heavily discounted merchandise. Last year berserk bargain-hunters in the suburbs of New York City trampled a Wal-Mart employee to death. Despite the frenzy at many stores, however, the recession appears to have accelerated the pace at which shoppers are abandoning bricks and mortar in favour of online retailers—e-tailers, in the jargon. So this year Black Friday (so named because it is supposed to put shops into profit for the year) also marks the start of many conventional retailers’ attempts to regain the initiative.

黑色星期五通常是美国假日消费季节的开端,今年的黑色星期五恰逢11月27日,场面热闹非凡。有些人甚至天没亮就在商店门外排队希望可以第一个抢到“大跳水”的商品。去年,纽约市郊沃尔玛超市的一名员工因为顾客疯抢打折商品而被踩伤致死。然而,商场销售虽然火爆,但商场萧条之势却越演越烈,因为消费者正在弃实体商场转而投入在线零售商---行话叫电子零售商的怀抱。所以今年的黑色星期五(这样命名源于这一天应该是令商店该年盈利的日子)也标志着传统实体零售商收回失地的第一炮。

E-commerce holds particular appeal in straitened times as it enables people to compare prices across retailers quickly and easily. Buyers can sometimes avoid local sales taxes online, and shipping is often free. No wonder, then, that online shopping continues to grow even as the offline sort shrinks. In 2008 retail sales grew by a feeble 1% in America and are expected to decline by more than 3% this year, according to the National Retail Federation, a trade body. In contrast, online sales grew by 13% in 2008 to over $141 billion and are predicted to grow by 11% in 2009, according to Forrester, a consultancy.

在经济大环境恶化的背景下,电子商务具有独特的优势:消费者可以轻松快捷的货比三家。有时在网上购物可以避开当地营业税,而且通常免邮费。这就难怪网络销售可以在即使实体店销售萎缩的情况下仍然保持增长。2008实体商场零售额增长了可怜的1%,而且预计今年的销售量将下滑三个百分点,全美零售商联合会(贸易组织)如是说。而与之形成鲜明对比的是网络销售。根据顾问公司福斯特的报告,网络销售量于2008年增长了13%,达到1410亿美元,预计今年将增长11%。

Online sales now account for 6% of all retail sales in America (up from 5% in 2008) and that figure is expected to reach 8% by 2013. E-commerce is also growing in Europe and Asia, where online sales in 2008 totalled $60 billion and $40 billion, respectively. In Britain, internet shopping now accounts for nearly 4% of total retail sales, according to Planet Retail, a research firm.

网络销售目前占全美销售量的6%(2008年为5%),预计到2013年之前这一数字将达到8%。电子商务在欧洲和亚洲也方兴未艾,两洲2008年的网络销售额分别为600亿美元和400亿美元。目前英国的网络销售量占销售总额的4%左右,这一数字引自调研公司行星零售。

Online-only shopping sites such as Amazon and eBay, two e-commerce giants, have thrived in the downturn. Amazon’s sales rose to around $5.5 billion in the third quarter of the year, up by almost 30% from a year before. Listings, chiefly from commercial vendors, have surged so rapidly on eBay that its website briefly crashed on November 21st.

诸如亚马逊和eBAY(网络销售巨头)等不设实体店铺的在线消费网站在经济危机之下茁壮成长。亚马逊今年三季度的销售量达到约55亿美金,与去年相比,增长了30%. eBay亦是如此。订单(以供应商的为主)数激增,导致eBay网站于11月21日暂时瘫痪。

The range of items available online is also growing. Amazon has started selling groceries. Consumer-goods companies such as Procter & Gamble (P&G) are encouraging the sale of things like nappies (diapers) and laundry detergent online. At the opposite extreme, the internet is also being used to sell luxury goods. Fabergé, a defunctjewellery-maker known for its gem-encrusted eggs, relaunched in September. It will not open any shops but will instead operate only online.

网络销售的产品种类亦在扩大。亚马逊已经开始在网上销售杂货。保洁等消费品公司也正在网上促销像尿片和洗衣粉等小商品。与这些小商品完全相反的奢侈品也被搬到了网上销售。已经销声匿迹的珠宝制造商Fabergé(以镶嵌宝石的蛋而闻名)于九月重新开业。该公司摒弃实体店只在网络销售产品。

The shift in spending to the internet is good news for companies like P&G that lack retail outlets of their own. But it is a big concern for brick-and-mortar retailers, whose prices are often higher than those of e-tailers, since they must bear the extra expense of running stores. Happily, however, conventional retailers are in a better positionto fight back than last year, when overstocking forced them to resort to ruinous discounting. Inventories are about 15% lower this year. Some big retailers, such as Saks and Target, have recently reported rising revenues and margins.

消费者转向网络消费对保洁这种没有自己专营店的公司来说是利好消息。而对于实体零售商来说却是棘手问题。因为实体零售商存在经营成本,其零售价格通常高于网上价格。然而,利好的一面是今年传统的零售商能够扳回一城的几率较去年高。去年库存过多,传统零售商被迫亏本打折,而今年的库存量下降了大约15%。诸如Saks和Target等的一些大型零售商已于最近传来营业额增加,利润率上升的好消息。

The most obvious response to the growth of e-tailing is for conventional retailers to redouble their own efforts online. The online arms of big retailers are performing well, on the whole. Saks, for example, saw online sales rise 9% in the nine months to the end of October while sales in its stores fell by 19%. The company expects online growth to outpace sales in stores for the “foreseeable future”, says Stephen Sadove, its boss.

传统零售商应对网络销售最直接的应对措施是进一步加强网络销售力度。总的来说,大型零售商的网络销售部门表现抢眼。以Saks为例。该公司一月至十月的网络销售额增长了9%,而实体店销售则下滑19%。Saks希望在“可预见的未来”网络销售增长超过实体商场,Saks总裁Stephen Sadove如是说。

The concept of “multichannel” shopping, where people can buy the same items from the same retailer in several different ways—online, via their mobile phones and in shops—is gaining ground, and retailers are trying to encourage users of one channel to try another. Growing online traffic may actually increase sales in stores too. According to a spokesman for Macy’s, a department-store chain, every dollar a consumer spends online with Macy’s leads to $5.70 in spending at a Macy’s store within ten days, because consumers learn about other products online and come into stores to look them over before buying them. Many online retailers offer tools that let people locate the nearest outlet that has a given item in stock.

“多渠道”销售的概念是指顾客可以通过网络、手机、亲临实体店等不同方式从同一个零售商手中买到同样的产品。这种概念正在为人们所接受。零售商也在鼓励单一渠道的消费者尝试其他的购买途径。网上交易量增长也可能促进实体店的销量上升。梅西百货公司(百货连锁公司)的发言人表示:顾客在梅西网站每花一美元,十天之内该顾客会在梅西百货商店消费5.7美元,因为顾客在网站上看到其他商品的信息,他们会亲临商场仔细检查在网上看到的商品,然后再购买。很多网络商家还提供专门服务,帮助顾客找到离他们最近的、出售他们中意产品的专营店。

Retailers are also trying to make shopping seem fun and exciting to counteract the economic gloom. One common tactic is to set up “pop-up” stores, which appear for a short time before vanishing again, to foster a sense of novelty and urgency. Following the lead of many bricks-and-mortar outfits, eBay recently launched a pop-up in New York where customers could inspect items before ordering them from kiosks.

商家也在绞尽脑汁增加购物的乐趣和刺激感以应对经济颓势。最常见的策略是开设“弹出式”店铺,这种店铺仅短时间存在,之后便再次消失,给顾客以新鲜感和紧迫感(要赶紧购买,否则便消失不见了)。eBay也加入实体店引领的风潮,于最近在纽约开设了一家弹出式商铺。顾客可以在这个商铺里仔细检查商品品质,然后在网上订购。

Shoppers are increasingly looking for an “experience” when they go to stores, says Jack Anderson of Hornall Anderson, a branding and marketing firm, and are no longer interested in purely “transaction-based bricks and mortar stores”. Apple, which encourages customers to try out its devices in its stores, is considered a pioneer of this strategy, and has attracted many imitators. The Walt Disney Company, for example, is rumoured to be redesigning its stores to attract shoppers looking for entertainment, with new features such as “magic mirrors”, which will allow children to play with Disney characters.

消费者越来越倾向于“体验式”购物,“纯交易性实体商店”已经无法打动顾客的心了,品牌与营销公司Hornall Anderson的 Jack Anderson如是说。苹果公司在“体验式”购物方面是先锋,顾客可以在苹果店试用产品,引来许多商家跟风。迪斯尼公司便是其中之一。据传,该公司正在重新设计店铺吸引喜欢娱乐的顾客。店铺增加了诸如“魔镜”等特色项目,孩子们还可以和迪斯尼卡通人物一起玩耍。

Stores are also trying to lure customers by offering services that are not available online. Best Buy, a consumer-electronics retailer, has started selling music lessons along with its musical instruments. Lululemon athletica, which sells sports clothes, offers free yoga classes. The idea is to bring people back to its shops regularly, increasing the likelihood that they will develop the habit of shopping there.

实体商店也在竭尽全力吸引顾客,为他们提供网上购物无法实现的服务。消费类电子零售商百思买已经开始通过绑定音乐教学课来销售乐器。体育服装公司 Lululemon athletica开设免费瑜伽课(带动产品销量)。这种做法能够把顾客定期拉回到商店,进而增加了顾客在商店购物的可能性。

Another great hope is that mobile phones will come to the rescue of conventional retailers. Some consumers already use internet-enabled handsets to shop online. But many analysts think a technology called near-field communication (NFC) might boost sales at stores, by allowing shoppers to scan products with their phones to learn more about them, and then to pay by swiping their phones at the till. Unfortunately, NFC will not be widely available for some time—too late to help harried retailers through Black Friday.

另一个被寄予厚望拯救传统零售商的是手机。有些顾客已经使用具有上网功能的手机在网上购物。但是分析人士认为能够提振商店销量的或许是近距离通信技术(NFC),利用这项技术,消费者可以通过手机了解产品信息,然后再通过手机付款。问题在于,NFC广泛应用尚待时日,帮助腹背受敌的商家实现黑色星期五盈利还无从谈起。

发表于00:28 | 阅读全文 | 评论 0 | 引用1 | 编辑 | 分享 0远程感应电子设备:空中间谍2009-07-09[2009.06.04] Spies in the sky 空中间谍
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Spies in the sky
空中间谍
Jun 4th 2009
From The Economist print edition

Military technology: Blimps equipped with remote-sensing electronics are cheaper than drone aircraft, and have many other advantages
军事技术:安装远程感应电子设备的气球飞艇比无人驾驶飞机便宜,而且优点多多

SPYING is a sophisticated and expensive business—and gathering military intelligence using unmanned aircraft can be prohibitively so. Predator and Global Hawk, two types of American drone frequently flown in Afghanistan and Iraq, cost around $5,000 and $26,500 an hour respectively to operate. The aircraft themselves cost between $4.5m and $35m each, and the remote-sensing equipment they carry can more than double the price. Which is why less elegant but far cheaper balloons are now being used instead.
间谍活动是一种尖端的昂贵行业,而用无人驾驶飞机收集军事情报其代价之高更是令人望而却步。两种频频出现在阿富汗和伊拉克的美国无人机,“捕食者”和“全球鹰”,每小时的运作成本分别为5000美元和26500美元。两者的制造成本都在450万美元到3500万美元之间,而且它们所携带的远程感应设备是其成本的两倍多。这就是目前用不怎么雅观但是便宜许多的气球飞艇来代替它们的原因。

Such blimps can keep surveillance and ordnance-guiding equipment aloft for a few hundred dollars an hour. They cost hundreds of thousands, not millions, of dollars. And they can stay in the air for more than a week, whereas most drones fly for no more than 30 hours at a time. They are also easy to deploy, because no airfield is needed. A blimp can be stored in the back of a jeep, driven to a suitable location, launched in a couple of hours and winched down again even faster.
这种气球飞艇能以几百美元一小时的成本把监控设备及定向武器设备悬浮在高空。它们的成本也只要几十万,而不是几百万。气球飞艇能在空中停留一个多星期,而多数无人机一次最多只能飞行30小时。此外,它们无需飞机场,容易部署。一只气球飞艇能收在吉普车的后箱中,等行驶到合适的地点后,安装升空只需几小时,收下来则更快捷。

Unlike other aircraft, blimps do not need to form a precise aerodynamic shape. This means they can lift improbable objects into the sky, such as dangling radar equipment. At altitudes of just a few hundred metres, a blimp carrying 20kg of remote-sensing electronics (including radar and thermal-imaging cameras) can identify, track and provide images of combatants dozens of kilometres away, by day or night. It can also help commanders aim the lasers that guide their missiles.
与其他飞行器不同,气球飞艇不需要形成精确的空气动力学形状。这意味着它们能将那些意想不到的物品带到空中,例如悬挂雷达设备。在只有几百米的高度,携带 20公斤远程感应电子设备(包括雷达和热成像摄影机)的气球飞艇能不分昼夜地分辨、追踪并提供几十公里外战斗机的图像。它还能帮助指挥官将导弹定向激光对准目标

Blimps often operate beyond the range of machine-guns and rocket-propelled grenades. Even if they are hit, though, they do not explode because the helium gas that keeps them airborne is not flammable. (Engineers abandoned the use of hydrogen in 1937 after the Hindenburg, a German airship, was consumed by flames in less than a minute.) Moreover, they usually stay aloft even when punctured: the pressure of the helium inside a blimp is about the same as that of the air outside, so the gas does not rush out. Indeed, towards the end of 2004, when a blimp broke its tether north of Baghdad and started to drift towards Iran, the American air force had trouble shooting it down.
气球飞艇通常在机枪、火箭弹作用的范围之上。即使它们被击中,也不会爆炸,因为使它们升空的氦气使它们在不可燃。(1937年德国飞船兴登堡在一分钟内燃烧殆尽后,工程师放弃了使用氢气。)此外,就算被刺穿了,它们通常也能留在高空:气球飞艇内部氦气的压力和外部气压相近,因而气体不会溢出。事实上,2004年末,巴格达北部一气球飞艇的绳子断了,开始向伊朗飘移,美国空军为把它击落大费周折。

At least 20 countries use blimps—both global military powers, such as America, Britain and France, and smaller regional ones, including Ireland, Pakistan, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. Many are employed in Iraq. In November 2008 Aerostar International of Sioux Falls, South Dakota, began filling a $1.8m order for 36 blimps to be deployed by the American armed forces in Iraq. But Afghanistan may prove a bigger market. That is because it is difficult to pick up satellite signals in the valleys of that mountainous country. As a result blimps, adjusted to hover at appropriate heights, are often used to relay data to and from satellites.
至少有20个国家使用气球飞艇——无论是美、英、法这样的全球军事强国,还是爱尔兰、巴基斯坦、波兰、阿拉伯联合酋长国这样稍小的地区性势力。许多气球飞艇都部署在伊拉克。2008年11月,南达科塔的苏福尔斯宇宙之星国际公司开始为价值180万美元的订单供应36架气球飞艇,美军将它们部署在伊拉克。但事实说明,阿富汗是个更大的市场,因为这个多山国家的山谷地区无法接收到卫星信号。其结果是,经过调整后、能悬浮在适合高度的气球飞艇,通常被用来中转从卫星接收到和发往卫星的数据。

As politicians around the world seek to cut public spending, the attractions of blimps are growing. In January America’s defence secretary, Robert Gates, told the Senate’s armed-services committee that the Department of Defence would pursue greater quantities of “75% solutions” that could be realised in weeks or months instead of “99% exquisite systems” that take more than a decade to develop. Barry Watts, an analyst at the Centre for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, a think-tank in Washington, DC, says America’s air force has been criticised for not providing enough aerial data to “insatiable” ground forces. Blimps, Mr Watts reckons, will help them sate that appetite.
全球的政客都寻求削减公共支出,气球飞艇的吸引力与日俱增。今年1月,美国国防部长罗伯特?盖茨告诉参议院军事委员会,国防部将以几周或几个月内就能实现的、数量较多的“75%的解决方案”气球飞艇代替用十多年才能开发完的“99%的尖端系统”。华盛顿的智囊团,“策略与预算评估中心”的分析家Barry Watts说美国空军因没有向“不知餍足”的地面部队提供足够的空中情报受到指责。他认为气球飞艇将使空军能充分满足陆军的胃口。

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