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个人投资——语言学习

2014-01-29    来源:fortune    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

Personal Investment: Language Studies

China’s enrollment figures in private English as a Second Language (ESL) courses and related test preparation programs continue their longstanding high growth rates.

长期以来,中国报名参加英语学习及相关考前培训的人数高速增长。

As I wrote recently, enrollment by mainland Chinese students in US universities and secondary schools is also reaching new heights.

最近我在博客中也写道,美国大学和中学里,来自中国大陆的留学生人数创下了历史新高。

Despite some prominent observers in the U.S. and U.K. lamenting the decline of these great countries and offering pessimistic views about the future, younger Chinese still correlate good English language ability with career success. This is sensible, practical, and smart.

尽管美英两国的一些主流观察家都在哀叹美英地位的衰落,对未来充满了悲观情绪,但中国的年轻一代依然认为出众的英语能力是关乎事业成功的重要因素。这种看法非常明智和务实。

An article in the Winter 2012 edition of the quarterly “City Journal” offers comparative profiles of the economic clout of the countries they describe as the “Anglosphere” (U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Ireland) and those which comprise the “Sinosphere” (Greater China, including Taiwan and the Hong Kong and Macau S.A.R.s).

《City Journal》2012(冬季刊)刊登了一篇文章,对所谓的“英语圈”(美、英、加拿大、澳大利亚、新西兰、爱尔兰)与“汉语圈”(包括台湾、香港、澳门在内的大中华区)的经济实力进行了一番对比。

The authors, Joel Kotkin and Shashi Parulekar, take the view that despite many challenges, the Anglosphere is alive and well:

该文作者Joel Kotkin和Shashi Parulekar认为,虽然英语圈面临着重重困难,但状态依然安好:

It’s indisputable that the Anglosphere no longer enjoys the overwhelming global dominance that it once had. What was once a globe-spanning empire is now best understood as a union of language, culture, and shared values. Yet what declinists overlook is that despite its current economic problems, the Anglosphere’s fundamental assets — economic, political, demographic, and cultural — are likely to drive its continued global leadership. The Anglosphere future is brighter than commonly believed.

英语圈曾主宰全球的时代已一去不返,这一点无可争辩。曾经一统天下的英语帝国如今只能作为语言、文化和共同价值的联合体。但“唱衰者”们忽略了一点,虽然目前经济问题重重,但英语圈的根本——经济、政治、人口、文化——仍会保持世界领先地位。英语圈的未来比人们通常认为的都更加光明。

In economic terms, using purchasing power parity data, the Anglosphere remains by far the world’s largest economic bloc, representing more than 25% of world GDP.

按照经济学中的购买力等价数据统计,英语圈至今仍是全球最大的经济体,代表了全球25%的GDP。

The Sinosphere is a strong second, accounting for just more than 15%. India, by comparison, accounts for some 5.4% of world GDP.

汉语圈势头强劲,排名第二,但GDP只占全球15%多一点。相比之下,印度在全球GDP中所占的比例为5.4%。

The Anglosphere’s per capita GDP is more than 5 times that of the Sinosphere, and 13 times that of India.

英语圈的人均GDP相当于汉语圈的5倍,是印度的13倍。

Although the Sinosphere has experienced explosive growth in the number of companies large enough in revenue terms to make the FORTUNE Global 500 list, it still has a long way to go in terms of having big global companies which are also widely admired for their innovation, their values, governance and management style.

虽然汉语圈按公司收入能跻身《财富》世界500强的大企业在数量上经历了爆炸性的增长,但想要拥有在创新、价值观、公司治理、管理方式等各方面都广受尊重的大型跨国企业,该地区还有很长的路要走。

Due in part to educational and legal infrastructure (e.g. intellectual property protection), the Anglosphere is home to the vast majority of the world’s software, biotech, and aerospace companies – industries where R & D and innovation are crucial elements of success.

考虑到教育和法律基础建设(如:知识产权保护)的缘故,世界主要软件、生物技术和航天企业多选择在英语圈落户,因为这些行业的成功很大程度上取决于研发和创新。

In countries lacking an adequate intellectual property rights protection regime, for example, companies will not invest the huge sums required to develop big new high-tech products. The current estimated average investment in R & D to develop a major new pharmaceutical product is in the range of US$1 billion.

例如,在缺乏适当知识产权保护的国家,企业不会投巨资开发大型高新科技产品。目前开发一剂重点新药的平均投资预计应在10亿美元左右。

The article also states that some 40% of Europeans speak English versus 19% who speak French; while pointing out that English has been formally or informally embraced as an important language of business and science in many developing countries, including India, Malaysia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. Obviously this phenomenon is rooted in large part to a legacy of the colonial era, but English has survived the test of time for practical reasons. That is unlikely to change any time soon.

文章还指出,欧洲人中有40%会讲英语,但只有19%会说法语;同时还指出,在包括印度、马来西亚、巴基斯坦、孟加拉、尼日利亚、肯尼亚、南非在内的一些发展中国家,英语在商务和科学领域中被正式或非正式地作为重要语言。当然,这种现象很大程度上带有殖民时代的烙印,但英语凭借其实用性还是经历住了时间的考验,而且这种状况在短时间内不会有所改变。

One other factor which the authors cite as a positive force for relative Anglosphere economic growth is demographics. Between 2000 and 2050, the US workforce is projected to grow by 37%. During the same time frame, due to aging, China’s workforce is projected to shrink by 10%, and Japan’s by 40%.

作者提到另一个促进英语圈经济增长的积极因素是人口。从2000年至2050年,美国的劳动力预计将增长37%,而同期中国的劳动力将减少10%,日本将减少40%。

Immigration trends are also a contributing factor, During the past ten years, 14 million people immigrated legally to the Anglosphere. In 2005 alone, among the top ten countries around the world in terms of immigrant arrivals, the US accepted more new immigrants than the next nine countries combined.

个中缘由少不了提到移民潮。过去十年,前往英语圈的合法移民达到1,400万人。2005年在全世界接纳移民最多的十个国家中,美国接纳的移民数量超过了另外九个国家的总和。

The moral of the story is that for young people in China considering their career plans, good abilities in both English and Chinese language will be extremely valuable assets no matter which direction they want to go.

由此可见,对那些正在规划职业道路的中国年轻人来说,无论朝哪个方向发展,良好的中、英文语言能力都极具价值。

When I began studying Chinese in high school in the U.S. nearly 50 years ago, most of my peers, their parents and many teachers reckoned it was a curious and exotic pursuit with little relevance to my career unless I chose an academic or diplomatic career path.

大约50年前,我在美国的高中开始学习中文。当时很多同学、他们的父母、还有老师都认为这只是心血来潮的猎奇之选,除非我要搞学术或者当外交官,否则与未来的职业毫无关系。

During the next 50 years, regardless of which career track a young person pursues, there is no doubt about the fact that competence in English and Chinese will be relevant, and beneficial. This is of course not only true of career success in financial terms, but also in terms of personal development and enjoyment through enhanced access to two very different cultural worlds.

在之后的50年,不管当初这个小伙子的职业之路走到哪里,毫无疑问都离不开他娴熟的中英文双语能力,也让他获益匪浅。当然,这段发自肺腑的话不仅是因为事业有成给我带来了经济回报,也考虑到个人发展以及通过接触两种不同文化享受到的乐趣。

One more word of advice to my younger friends: first and second language studies do not end with graduation. That’s really where they begin. So, study hard, and be prepared to keep it up for your whole lifetime. The time and effort invested will produce some of the best dividends you can imagine.

我还要多劝年轻朋友们一句:学习母语也好,外语也好,都不能以毕业作为终点,其实那只是起点而已。要时刻努力,并作好终身学习的准备。你投入的时间和精力会为你带来可以想见的最好的回报。



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