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'I'm sorry' - but how do you tell if an apology is fake or genuine?

来源:中国日报    2018-02-08 09:00

        Sorry seems to be the hardest word. So sang Elton John on one of his biggest 1970s hits - but not every public figure seems to find it so tough to utter that powerful five-letter word.        “对不起”似乎是最难说出口的词,艾尔顿·约翰20世纪70年代发行过的同名热单(Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word)就是这么唱的。不过,并不是每一位公众人物都觉得这个颇有分量的词难以启齿。
        In recent months a broad spectrum of public figures, from politicians, to Hollywood actors and YouTube stars have all publicly expressed remorse.        近几个月来,各个领域的公众人物,从政界人士到好莱坞演员再到YouTube明星,都曾公开表达过歉意。
        But with so much remorse on the airwaves, just how can we differentiate a forced apology from a heartfelt expression of remorse?        但是电视屏幕上的这么多歉意,我们要如何分辨哪些道歉是被迫作出的,哪些是真心实意的懊悔呢?
        In its purest form, saying sorry should be an "act of contrition, a realisation that something you have said or done has hurt someone and you want to make amends", says psychologist Geraldine Joaquim.        心理学家杰拉尔丁·若阿金说,最纯粹的道歉应该是一种“表达悔意的行为,意识到你所说或所做的事情给某人造成了伤害,而你想对此做出补偿”。
        Made early, a well-crafted apology can be hugely beneficial and can "diffuse the situation and takes the wind out of an accuser's sails", she says.        她说,如果早早地认真道歉,将会非常有益,可以“缓和局势,让对方消气”。
        A need to say sorry can arise in someone's public life and equally at home with their family and friends but, whatever the environment, how well it is received depends on how personalised it feels.        在公共生活中以及和家人朋友相处的过程中都可能出现需要道歉的情况,无论是在哪种环境中,你的道歉能否被接受取决于有没有说到对方心里去。
        Experts say the formula for an affective apology can be summed up with the acronym CAR:        专家说,情真意切的道歉可以用缩写CAR来概括:
        "People want the response to be personal to them, to feel that they're being listened to and taken seriously," says Martin Stone, of PR agency Tank.        公关机构Tank的马丁·斯通说:“人们希望道歉能关乎他们个人,感觉到自己被倾听,而且被认真对待。”
        He says that, in the professional sphere, the phrase "formal apology" is often used, but, in reality, the opposite is what is required.        他说,在专业领域里经常用“正式道歉”这个短语,但事实上,人们需要的是非正式道歉。
        From businesses, governments and organisations, a scripted response will fail to resonate as it will not convey empathy and compassion.        来自企业、政府和组织的道歉信无法让人们产生共鸣,因为它不能传达同理心和同情心。
        Whether online or in person, the timing and choice of language in an apology are decisive factors.        无论是在网上道歉还是当面道歉,道歉的时机和语言选择都是决定因素。
        "Firstly, it is important to show that you understand and sympathise," says Stone.        斯通说:“首先,应该表示你理解对方的感受并且表示同情,这很重要。”
        "It is vital that any business or individual making an apology understands the focus - is it sorry for the way it's acted or is it sorry that the complainant feels the way they do?"        “任何作出道歉的企业或个人都应该理解的重点是:他们是为自己做事的方式感到懊悔,还是为造成抱怨者的不满而抱歉?”
        Spontaneity - watch out for the speed of response, the quicker the apology comes, the better indication that the person making it has felt an immediate sense of guilt        自发性——注意反应的速度,道歉越早,越能显示出道歉者是否立刻感到内疚。
        Body language - if genuine, the person making the apology will be looking for listening clues to see if they are being understood, such as eye contact and facial expressions        肢体语言——如果是真诚的道歉,道歉者会通过眼神交流和面部表情等细节来确定自己的话是否被理解。
        Vulnerability - performed apologies always have a sense of being "acted out", and are often accompanied by too many theatrical gestures. If the person is genuine they will provide "humbling signals"', such as a lowered head, to indicate remorse and vulnerability        示弱——假装的道歉总是有一种“表演”的感觉,通常伴有太多做作的姿势。如果道歉者是真诚的,他们会传递出“谦卑的信号”,比如低下头,来表示懊悔和示弱。
        Denial gestures - the biggest clues of insincerity can come after the gesture itself, with non-verbal signals that silently reject the words used; this can include looking to the floor and smirking.        表示否认的肢体语言——你可以从肢体语言中发现道歉者不真最明显的线索,这种非言语信号会无声地否认道歉者所说的话;比如,看向地面、假笑等。
        Linguistically it is also important to avoid dehumanising statements or promises that can't be kept.        从语言学上讲,务必要避免没有人性的言论或不能实现的诺言。
        "Don't say that you'll ensure that this will not happen again if you're not confident it won't. It could come back to bite you," Stone explains.        斯通解释道:“如果你没把握以后不会再发生这种事,那就不要说这种话。这种承诺将来会回头来找你麻烦。”
        Equally, the use of "but" can hugely change the tone of an apology.        同样,“但是”这个词也会极大地改变道歉的语气。
        As Stone points out: "I'm sorry but…' sounds like you are making excuses and aren't actually taking any form of responsibility.        正如斯通指出的,“我很抱歉,但是……”听上去就像你在找借口,而不是真的要承担任何责任。
        "It may be three letters but it can instantly make an apology seem hollow."        “‘但是’也许只有两个字,却会马上让你的道歉显得毫无诚意。”

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