七夕特刊:钻石恒久远 | 经济学人双语笔记

| 经济学人双语笔记

  PEACOCKS strut; bowerbirds build lovenests; spiders gift-wrap?flies in silk. Such courtship?rituals?play an important role in what Charles Darwin called sexual selection: when the female of a species bears most of the costs of reproduction, males use extravagant displays and gifts to demonstrate their “reproductive fitness” and females choose between them. For human males, shards of a crystalline form of carbon often feature. A diamond engagement ring signals a man’s taste, wealth and commitment, all to persuade a woman that he is a good bet.

  孔雀昂首阔步;园丁鸟建起爱巢;蜘蛛吐丝把苍蝇包起来作为礼物。这样的求爱仪式在达尔维所说的“性选择”中扮演着重要的角色:当一个物种的词性为繁殖承担了大部分代价时,雄性会极尽炫耀之能事,并伴之以礼物,来展现自己的“生殖适合度”,而雌性则会从它们当中挑选。对男性而言,碳晶体碎颗粒往往是求爱过程的重头戏。一枚订婚钻戒彰显一个男人的品味、财富和承诺,所有这些都是为了让女人相信他是个好的选择。

  Strut?趾高气扬地走:He struts around town like he owns the place.他在城里趾高气扬地走着,好像他拥有着这地方似的。

  它可以是及物动词,表示支撑,撑开,比如:The holes were close-boarded and strutted.那些洞被木板紧密围封并加有支撑。

  它可以做名词,表示建筑物的支柱,比如:...the struts of a suspension bridge.…一座悬索桥的支柱。

  gift-wrap:用花纸(或缎带等装饰品)包装(用作礼物的商品);把…包装得美观花哨。

  Ritual宗教仪式; 典礼。这个词还有形容词性,仪式性的,传统的,比如:..fasting and ritual dancing.…斋戒和仪式性舞蹈。

  sexual selection?性选择,不能翻译成“性别选择”,性选择和性别选择是两个概念。性别选择是sex selection,一般是指人工选择胎儿的性别。

  Display动物求偶的炫耀行为,比如:The teal were indulging in delightful courtship displays野鸭忘情地做着愉快的求爱动作。

is the crystalline form of the element carbon.钻石是碳元素的晶体结构。

  Feature这里是不及物动词,意思是,(在……中)起重要作用,比如:The latest movies from British directors feature in the current film season.由英国导演执导的最新影片是这个电影季的重头戏。

  bet:(非正式)有可能成功的人选(或备选行动),比如:Tom looked a good bet for victory.看上去汤姆是一个很有成功希望的人选

  Your best bet is to call the official liquidators.找官方的资产清算人应是你的首选。

  

  This particular courtship gift was dreamed up?by an ad agency for De Beers, the cartel that sold almost all of the world’s diamonds throughout the 20th century. In the 1930s it started to promote a link between diamonds and marriage. Diamonds’ unmatched hardness would symbolise love’s endurance and their “fire”, or brilliance, its passion. Two months’ salary, the firm suggested, was what the ring should cost—a good investment since, as the admen said, “A diamond is forever.”

  钻石作为求爱礼物是一家广告公司为戴比尔斯(De Beers)?编织的想象。整个20世纪全世界几乎所有的钻石都由这一垄断组织售出。20世纪30年代,它开始宣传钻石和婚姻之间的联系。钻石无与伦比的硬度象征着爱的恒久,而钻石的“火彩”即光彩则象征着爱的热烈。该公司建议,男士们应该花两个月的薪水来买一枚戒指,而且就像广告词所说的那样,“钻石恒久远,一颗永流传”,买钻戒还会是个不错的投资。

  Dream up: 虚构出; 凭空设想出。I dreamed up a plan to solve both problems at once.我想出了一个可以立刻解决这两个问题的计划。

  Cartel卡特尔; 同业联盟。...a drug cartel.…药业联盟。

  ?“卡特尔”这个词现在也被赋予了垄断企业集团的意义:垄断利益集团、垄断联盟、企业联合、同业联盟(Cartel)也称卡特尔,是垄断组织的一种表现形式,是由一系列生产类似产品的企业组成的联盟,通过某些协议或规定来控制该产品的产量和价格。

  Diamonds’ unmatched hardness would symbolise love’s endurance and their “fire”, or brilliance, its passion.这是一个谓语省略结构。如果后句谓语部分与前句谓语部分完全一样,后句谓语部分就可以全部省略。例如:

  John is eating an apple and Petter(is eating) an orange.约翰在吃苹果,彼得在吃桔子。

  Some turned to the left and others(turned) to the right.一些向左转,而另一些向右转。

  Mary looked sad;?but Tom(looked) happy.玛丽看上去悲哀,但汤姆却高兴。

  Reading means a full man;?conference(means)a ready man;and writing (means) an exact man.阅读使人知识丰富,辩论使人头脑敏捷,书写使人精确。

  这句也是省略了谓语,如果补充完整就是 their “fire”, or brilliance, would symbolize its passion.

  Or brilliance是个插入语,fire和brilliance还有hardness都是钻石方面的专业术语,火彩、亮度、硬度。要按照这个名词去翻译。其他和钻石品质相关的术语还有:净度 Clarity, 克拉重量 Carat 切工 Cut。

  

  Now, that promise?is dimming. Though a growing Chinese middle class will probably prop up?demand for a while, millennials in Western countries seem keener on memorable experiences than on bling. Diamonds’ image has been blemished by some being mined in warzones and sold to pay for the fighting. Meanwhile, laboratory-grown “synthetic” diamonds, long fit only for industrial use, are becoming good enough to compete with gems from out of the ground.

  现在,这一允诺暗淡下来。尽管日渐壮大的中国中产阶级可能会在一段时间里支撑起需求,但比起锦衣美钻,西方国家的千禧一代似乎更热衷难忘的经历。有些钻石是在战乱地区开采的,卖掉它们是为战争买单,钻石的形象因此沾上污点。与此同时,在实验室里制成、一直以来仅适用于工业用途的“合成”钻石,正变得足以与地下出产的宝石相媲美。

  Promise此处是双关。一个是承诺,上文阐述的钻石与婚姻爱情之间的联系,钻石恒久远的这种承诺。Promise还有前途前景的意思,对应上文说的a good investment,所谓好投资就是升值前景好,而且后面也在说钻石受到了各方的冲击,说明这个投资前景可能不乐观了。

  Though a growing Chinese middle class will probably prop up demand for a while, millennials in Western countries seem keener on memorable experiences than on bling.

  意群先划分一下:

  Though(引导让步状语从句)?/a growing Chinese middle class (从句主语)/will probably prop up (从句谓语)/demand (宾语)/for a while(时间状语), millennials in Western countries /(主句主语)seem keener on (主句谓语)/memorable experiences than on bling.

  Bling奢华高档的首饰或服装:Big-name jewellers are battling it out to get celebrities to wear their bling.大牌珠宝商们为了让名人们戴他们的高档首饰正在一争高下。

  ...gangsta rap's love of bling-bling.…匪帮说唱乐手对奢华高档服饰的热爱。

  这里就是指钻石了。

  Blemish: 破坏……的完美外观,玷污,可引申为损害:My main problem was a blemished skin. 我的主要问题是皮肤有瑕疵。

  Mine采掘:The pit is being shut down because it no longer has enough coal that can be mined economically.那个煤矿要关闭了,因为储量不足,难以经济开采。

  

  But the long-term threat to diamonds’ lustre?is more surprising: that their price could plummet. In recent years regulators (and market forces) have undermined?De Beers’s cartel by limiting the share of other producers’ stones that it can buy. Now responsible for just a third of global sales, the company can no longer manage supply by stockpiling gems when demand turns down. It is spending less on advertising, since it no longer gets the lion’s share of the benefits. But the very value of diamonds lies in being scarce?and coveted—that is, costly.

  不过光彩夺目的钻石所面临的长期威胁要更令人惊讶:它们的价格可能会暴跌。最近几年监管机构(和市场力量)对戴比尔斯从其他生产商处购买钻石的份额做出限制,削弱了它的垄断力量。现在这家公司的销售量仅占全球的三分之一,已无法通过在需求下降时囤积宝石来管理供应。它的广告支出也在减少,因为它已不再占有最大份额的收益。但是钻石的价值恰恰在于它的稀有和人们对它的渴求,换言之,就是它的昂贵。

  By limiting的逻辑主语应该是主句主语,也就是监管机构,是监管机构通过限制的方式,而不是这家公司去限制。

  Stones这里就是钻石。大概总结一下这篇文章到这里总共用了多少个词替换钻石相关的名词,gem, diamond, bling, stone, shards of a crystalline form of carbon. 平时自己看外刊的时候,也可以注意积累一下这种同类词的替换表达。

时紧缩钻石的供应量,以维持钻石的价格不致下跌。在经济景气时放宽钻石的供应量,以满足市场需求,并抑制钻石价格的过分上涨,使钻石价格维持着稳定增长的势头,使钻石成为值得人们信任的投资。

  这句话的大意是,从前,这家公司卖出了上世纪全世界的钻石,但如今份额只有三分之一了,说明它就算再怎么囤积,也只能控制顶多全球三分之一的供应量,无法再像以前一样呼风唤雨了。这就是market forces的作用。加上前一句说的监管机构的反垄断手段,限制它从其他制造商那里囤货,所以它的经营雪上加霜了。

  Stockpile?大量储备:People are stockpiling food for the coming winter.人们正在为即将到来的冬天大量储备食物。

  Responsible for?这里颇有点“承担”的意思:Gooch was responsible for 198 of his side’s 542 runs.古奇得了本队542(跑动)得分中的198分。

  Lion’s share?最大份额,可以联想中文里的“狮子大开口”:Military and nuclear research have received the lion's share of public funding.军事研究和核研究得到了公共资助里最大的份额。

  Converted令人垂涎的:Allan Little from Radio 4 took the coveted title of reporter of the year.第4电台的艾伦·利特尔获得了令人垂涎的年度记者的头衔。

  ...one of sport's most coveted trophies.…体育界最令人向往的奖杯之一。

  

  In the jargon, they are “Veblen goods”, named after a 19th-century economist: prestige-enhancing trinkets for which a higher price encourages buyers. With most products, lower prices increase demand; with diamonds, they could kill it.?Greater equality for women might seem to render male-courtship displays redundant. But mating preferences evolved over millennia and will not change quickly. If diamonds were to cease being a way to signal a man’s marriageability, what might take their place?

  用行话说,它们属于“凡勃伦商品 (Veblen goods,以19世纪的一位经济学家的名字命名)”,指的是那种提高名望的小玩意儿,价格越高越能激发人们的购买欲。对于大多数商品来说,价格降低会提升需求;但对钻石来说,低价却可能扼杀需求。女性地位的提升看似令男性求偶的炫耀行为变得多余。但人类的择偶偏好历经数千年的演化,并不会迅速发生改变。如果钻石不再是一个男人适合结婚的信号,那什么会成为它的替代品?

  jargon?行话:The manual is full of the jargon and slang of self-improvement courses.该手册中满是自我完善课程的行话和俚语。

  Veblen good, 韦伯伦商品(Veblen Good),又称炫耀财,是经济学上用以描述一种商品,其特色是商品需求与商品价格成正向关系,而非正常需求法则的反向关系。这种商品能满足人类的虚荣心,是财富与地位的炫耀,故称为炫耀性消费(Conspicuous consumption)。此名词源于其概念提出者托斯丹·范伯伦(Thorstein Veblen)。价格高昂的宝石、名车、名牌精品等奢侈品皆为韦伯伦商品的例子。

  Name after?可以是因……而得名,以谁的名字命名,名字取自谁。

  Prestige-enhancing 从字面理解是提升名望,意思就是说,你拥有的这个东西能够提升你的名望地位,让你很有面子,这就是“炫耀财”。

  Trinke价廉物美的首饰; 廉价小装饰物

  With most products, lower prices increase demand; with diamonds, they could kill it.?

  With在这里的意思是“在……方面”。

  Render?使成为; 使变得:It contained so many errors as to render it worthless.太多的错误使之变得毫无价值。

  If diamonds were to cease being a way to signal a man’s marriageability, what might take their place?

  Were to?这是一个虚拟,如果省略if,were要提前倒装。

  

  A different gift, perhaps. In China skewed?sex ratios mean that a prospective bridegroom must own an apartment and shower?his future in-laws with?cash. But a glittering stone goes to the woman, not her family. And it is more than a gift: it is a status symbol, demonstrating that even as a man approaches(着手处理)?the expenses of married life, he can still splash out on?a bauble. Or a man could rely on more generic?forms of display, such as a fancy degree, good job or sharp?suit. But these can impress one woman as easily as another, or several simultaneously. He must show commitment—a need not unique to courtship. Salvadoran gangsters get extravagant tattoos; Japanese yakuza cut off a fingertip. These visible signs of allegiance make it hard to defect, and impose heavy costs. But as marriage proposals they would fall short. Few women would feel proud to carry around their fiancé’s severed pinkie.

  或许是另一种形式的礼物。中国性别比例失衡,导致男性要当新郎必须得有房,此外还需向未来的岳父母奉上大笔现金。不过一颗闪闪发光的石头是送给女人的,并不是她的娘家。而且它不仅仅是一份礼物,还是一种身份的象征,表明即便一个男人要开始养家糊口了,他仍然会为一件小玩意一掷千金。或者,男人也可以依赖更通用的炫耀形式,比如高学历、好工作或是一身考究的西装。但这些可以打动一个女人,也可以打动另一个,或是同时打动好几个。他必须有所行动,以显示自己的忠诚。这一点不仅仅在求偶时才需要,比如萨尔瓦多的黑帮成员就会刺上繁复的纹身,日本的黑社会成员则要切掉一节手指。这些一望而知的效忠记号让人很难变节,为之付出的代价也很高昂,但作为求婚信物它们都还不够。极少会有女人觉得带着未婚夫切下来的小指头是件值得骄傲的事。

  Skewed曲解; 歪曲:The arithmetic of nuclear running costs has been skewed by the fall in the cost of other fuels.对核运行费用的计算因其他燃料费用的下降而出现了偏差。

  Shower with?大量给予

达到当天最大量