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与消失和遗忘斗争:它们帮助时报记者报道中国
Capturing What’s Online in China Before It Vanishes

来源:纽约时报    2019-05-09 10:36



        How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Raymond Zhong, a technology reporter based in Beijing, discussed the tech he’s using.        《纽约时报》记者如何在工作和个人生活中使用科技?从事科技领域报道的驻北京记者钟旻(Raymond Zhong)在下面讨论了他使用的科技。
        What are your most important tech tools for reporting in China?        你在中国做报道,最重要的科技工具是什么?
        The Chinese internet is like the small-town setting of a crime novel: Things are mysteriously disappearing from it all the time.        中国的互联网有点像以小镇为情节背景的犯罪小说:总有东西在神秘地消失。
        Social media posts vanish. News and blog articles are taken down. Sensitive bits are excised from videos. You can’t always predict what will be removed, either by censors or by a regular person starting to have second thoughts about his or her own unfiltered utterance. Even pages on the websites of government agencies and major corporations have a way of quietly falling into black holes.        社交媒体上的帖子突然消失。新闻和博客文章被拿下。视频中的敏感部分被删去。你不是总能预测到哪些内容会被删除,有时候是审查人员删的,有时候是普通老百姓对自己未经过滤的言论改变了主意。就连政府机构和大公司网站上的页面也常常会悄无声息地坠入黑洞。
        That’s why a Google Chrome extension called Full Page Screen Capture is invaluable for internet research in China. With one click, I get a screen shot of an entire page, top to bottom. An embarrassingly large share of the files on my laptop are PDFs generated this way. I only wish a similar function were built into my iPhone, as it is on Huawei handsets.        这就是为什么谷歌浏览器Chrome的一个叫“全页面屏幕捕获”(Full Page Screen Capture)的扩展程序对在中国互联网上做研究非常有用。只要点击一下,我就能得到整个页面的截屏。不好意思地说,我笔记本电脑上有很大一部分文件都是用这种方式生成的pdf文件。要是我的iPhone像华为手机一样也有这种功能,就太好了。
        Google sometimes caches past versions of web pages, as does the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine. These crawlers don’t preserve everything. But when you manage to discover in the archives the exact page you’ve been hunting for, frozen for posterity at exactly the right moment, it’s an incredible endorphin rush.        谷歌有时会缓存网页的过去版本,互联网档案馆的时间机器(Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine)也能这样做。这些网络爬虫并不能保存所有的东西。但是,当你在档案馆中设法找到了那个你一直在搜寻的页面,那个为后世保存下来的适时捕获到的页面时,你会有一种令人难以置信的快感。
        For capturing streaming videos before they are taken down, I use QuickTime Player to take a recording of my screen. There are also sites that convert videos from YouTube and other platforms into downloadable files. I won’t name these services. The video sites don’t like them, so they’re constantly being shut down.        为了在流媒体视频被拿下之前捕获它们,我用QuickTime播放器对我的屏幕进行录制。还有一些网站可以将YouTube和其他平台上的视频转换成可下载的文件。我不会给出这些服务的名字。视频网站不喜欢它们,所以它们经常被关闭。
        Reporting in an authoritarian country is a struggle of memory against forgetting. These tools help.        在一个威权主义国家做报道是一场记忆与遗忘的斗争。这些工具能帮上忙。
        How does online consumerism like shopping and ordering food delivery differ there? How do you personally use these apps?        中国的在线购物和订餐等网上消费与美国的有什么不同?你自己如何使用这些应用软件?
        I spent most of my adult life not buying much online except books. But, oh Lordy, have I fallen for e-commerce since moving to Beijing last year.        成年后的大部分时间里,我很少在网上买东西,除了买书。但是,天哪,自从去年搬到北京后,我已陷在电子商务里不能自拔。
        To scroll through Taobao, Alibaba’s largest shopping platform, is to be awed by the sheer amount of our physical world that is being produced in China. Normal stuff like dustpans and kitchen timers. Weird stuff like latte cups shaped like skulls, wine glasses with a built-in straw and Barbie dolls that serve as racks for slices of raw meat before they go into a hot pot. Detailed knockoffs of Lego sets and whatever latest abominable thing Justin Bieber has been photographed wearing.        浏览阿里巴巴最大的购物平台淘宝,会让你对我们的物质世界里中国制造的东西如此之多感到惊叹。那里有普通东西,比如簸箕和厨房定时器。有离奇的东西,比如头盖骨状的拿铁杯,把吸管做在杯子里的葡萄酒杯,以及芭比娃娃形的火锅餐具,用来放置进入火锅之前的生肉片。还有乐高玩具的高仿品,以及贾斯汀·比伯(Justin Bieber)最近被人拍到的稀奇古怪穿戴物的山寨品。
        Do you know how many vendors are out there selling giant pillows printed to look like pieces of grilled meat? I bet that you do not.        你知道有多少网商在卖烤肉形状的巨型枕头吗?我敢打赌你不知道。
        My head swims with grandiose thoughts when I’m on Taobao. Thoughts like: Factories are making this stuff because people buy it. Who are these people? How do the factories even find out about them? What if shopping apps, and not social media, are the real mirror that mobile technology is holding up to our society?        每次上淘宝,我的脑子里都充溢着各种不着边际的想法。比如:工厂生产这些东西是因为有人买它。那这些人究竟是谁呢?工厂究竟是怎样找到他们的?如果购物应用而非社交媒体,是移动技术对我们社会的真实反映,那又会怎么样呢?
        Come to think of it, I still don’t buy that much online. I just like to look and ponder.        细想一下,我在网上购买的东西真不多。我只是喜欢浏览网店,琢磨它们。
        Many people in China have stopped using cash. They conduct their entire lives on a single app, WeChat. Electric cars are everywhere. Is China “The Jetsons”?        许多中国人已不再使用现金。他们的全部生活都在一个叫微信的应用程序上进行。哪里都能看到电动汽车。中国已经把科幻动画片《杰森一家》(The Jetsons)变成现实了吗?
        No, though I do often see people on hoverboards barreling down city streets while talking on their cellphones.        还没有,不过我确实经常看到人们乘着飞滑板在城市的大街上飞速行进,同时还打着电话。
        China is rightly recognized for having made big leaps in the digital realm. But there are many unglamorous reasons behind Chinese tech companies’ success.        中国在数字领域的巨大飞跃有目共睹。但是,中国科技公司成功的背后也有许多平淡无奇的原因。
        Labor is cheap, and cities are densely populated — perfect for e-commerce, ride-hailing, and food and grocery delivery. People also tend to adopt new technologies with gusto because in a country that was quite poor not long ago, it’s not easy to get misty eyed about life before the internet.        劳动力便宜、城市人口密度大——这些都非常适合电子商务、网约车、食品和杂货配送。人们也乐于接受新科技,因为在一个不久前还相当贫穷的国家,人们很难对互联网出现之前的生活泪眼朦胧。
        The offline world in China is still rough in some ways. The skies are polluted. The traffic is bad. Staffs in shops and restaurants are surly. Most people will happily use technology to avoid all this if they can.        中国的线下世界在一些方面仍令人不快。空气污染。交通拥堵。商店和餐馆的工作人员态度不佳。大多数人很愿意使用科技尽可能地避免线下世界中的这一切。
        A few months ago, I had a broken water pipe at home, and for some reason I decided to call a plumber who had left his number on a sticker in my building. He ripped me off, big time. Next time I’m trying an app.        几个月前,我家的水管坏了。不知什么原因,我决定打电话给一个把自己的电话号码贴在我所住楼房的水管工。他敲了我的竹杠,好大一笔。下次我要试试应用程序。
        Even dealing with the Chinese bureaucracy is getting less torturous, sort of. This year, the tax authorities want more people to use their app. Which sounds good, except I still had to go across town and show my passport to get the six-digit code needed to activate the app.        就连与中国的官僚机构打交道也变得有点不那么麻烦了。今年,税务部门希望更多的人使用他们的应用程序。这虽然听起来不错,但我仍需要穿越整个北京城,把我的护照拿给他们看一下,才能获得激活该应用程序所需的六位数密码。
        Hoverboards aside, what gadget trends are emerging?        撇开飞滑板不谈,有哪些正在出现的小电子产品趋势吗?
        In a country as gadget crazy as China, it’s interesting that smart speakers aren’t taking off as they are in the United States. A lot of people I know are buying hand-held voice translation devices, usually for older relatives. They don’t work so well, I’m told. But at least they try to solve a real problem.        在一个像中国这样对电子产品狂热的国家,智能扬声器的销量没有像在美国那样火爆,这很有意思。很多我认识的人都在买手持语音翻译设备,通常是为年长的亲戚买的。我被告知,这种设备不太好用。但它们至少试图解决一个真正的问题。
        Recently, I watched a waiter in a hotel restaurant communicate with foreign guests using a voice translation app. “China needs to get better at English to become stronger in the world,” the waiter said, and the app read out his words in English.        最近,我在一家酒店餐厅看到一名服务员用语音翻译软件与外国客人交流。“中国需要提高英语水平,才能在世界上变得更强大,”那名服务员说道,应用软件把他的话翻译成了英文。
        It was all very poignant — until one guest barked at the waiter about a broken juice machine, and the app dutifully translated his insults into Chinese.        这一幕挺动人的——直到另一位客人对服务员大喊果汁机坏了,而这款应用软件也一字不差地将客人的辱骂翻译成中文。
        Outside of your job, what tech product are you personally obsessed with? What’s so great about it, and what could be better?        在工作之外,你个人对什么科技产品着迷?这个产品了不起的地方是什么?有什么可以改进的地方?
        China is a glorious place to be a karaoke lover, and Exhibit No. 1 is the nation’s ubiquitous karaoke booths. For a couple of bucks, you and a friend can squeeze into a soundproof glass box and sing your hearts out for 15 minutes before going back to your normal lives.        中国是卡拉OK爱好者的天堂,头号物证就是国内无处不在的迷你卡拉OK。只要花上几美元,你就能和一个朋友一起挤进一个隔音的玻璃亭子,尽情地唱上15分钟,然后再回到你的正常生活中去。
        The booths are everywhere in Chinese cities. In malls, in movie theaters. I’ve even seen them outside factories, so workers can nip out for a rousing round of “My Way” before returning to the assembly line. One time, I saw people singing in booths at the Beijing airport at 6:30 in the morning.        中国的城市里到处都有这种亭子。商场里有,电影院里也有。我甚至在工厂外面看到过它们,工人们可以在回到装配线前抽空唱上一曲激动人心的《我的路》。有一次,我看到人们早上6点半在北京机场的一个亭子里唱歌。
        I must say I like the idea of karaoke booths more than the actual experience. The ventilation isn’t great. You have to wear headphones, and there’s something about karaoke that is diminished when you experience it through headphones. Or maybe I just don’t sound as good singing “Try a Little Tenderness” as I think I do.        我得说,我更喜欢迷你卡拉OK的想法,而不是实际的体验。里面的通风不太好。你需要戴耳机,不知什么原因,当你通过耳机体验卡拉OK时,效果不是很好。或者也许我唱的《Try a Little Tenderness》并不像我以为的那样好听。
        In the end, karaoke might be another thing that was probably best left undisrupted by technology.        话说回来,卡拉OK也许是又一个最好不被科技颠覆的东西。
                
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