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双语:电子邮件的末日开始到来?

2014-12-11    来源:财富网    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

双语:电子邮件的末日开始到来

电子邮件不会在2015年或未来某个节点很快死掉,但从这一年开始,它的替代产品可能会飞速发展。

双语:

Along with global warming, the Ebola virus, and gridlock politics, this year, for me at least, something far less life- and society-threatening also spiraled out of control: email.
电子邮件虽然不会危及生命与社会,但至少对我来说,它和全球变暖、埃博拉病毒、政治僵局一样,在今年变得有些失控。

It was long ago invented as something to make us more productive. But what productivity expert would ever say that it’s a good thing that instead of working, we now “answer email?” Or that on some days, I am wary to leave my desk to head into a meeting because it means taking my finger off the dike and knowing I will return to a flood of boldfaced new messages waiting patiently for my total attention?
人们在很久以前就发明了电子邮件这种提高人类生产效率的工具。但现在,让我们疲累的不再是工作,而是“回复邮件”;有的时候,我很不愿离开办公桌去开会,因为这意味着我的双手要离开键盘,而我很清楚,等我开会回来后,就会有堆积如山的新邮件耐心地等待我去耗费全部的精力来回复。考虑到这些,还有哪一位生产力专家会说电子邮件是个好东西?

Some people strive for “inbox zero.” But like many people, I now get so much spam and unsolicited pitches that if I were to adopt such a goal, I would spend the entirety of every workday doing nothing but deleting emails. To keep up with this fire-hose flow, and to make sure nothing important gets buried or falls through the cracks once it gets pushed down below the display window, I have developed an embarrassingly archaic system of keeping a pen-and-paper list of emails that need responses on a series of Post-It notes. Of course, this is beyond ridiculous. As far back as 2007, Fred Wilson famously declared “email bankruptcy.” I’m close to doing the same—and I can’t be alone.
有些人正努力实现“收件箱零邮件”,但是和许多人一样,我的邮箱里有非常多的垃圾邮件和来路不明的邮件,如果我要清空收件箱,那么我每天都要把所有的工作时间都花在删除邮件上了。为了处理这一长列的邮件,并且为了在旧邮件被新邮件推到显示屏下方前不忽略任何重要信息,我已经用起了一种古老得可笑的工作方法,那就是用纸笔在一张张的便利贴上,把那些必须回复的邮件一一记录下来。当然了,这种做法本身并不荒谬。早在2007年,弗雷德•威尔逊就宣布“电子邮件已死”。我也快到这个地步了,而且相信很多人也有同样的感受。

But I may not need to. I predict that this will be the year that email alternatives finally start to gain real traction. Already, collaborative messaging systems like HipChat, Yammer, and others are taking hold (Disclosure: We use HipChat at Fortune). Slack, a new messaging and search platform, is growing by leaps and bounds. Other tools have emerged over the years, like Sanebox, Mailstrom, Inbox Pause, and Xobni (bought by Yahoo in 2013, some of its features are now folded into Yahoo Mail)—as well as software like Ommwriter and Freedom, especially popular with writers, which will disable access to the Internet for chosen periods of time. Tools like Unroll.me and Boomerang are gaining popularity; Microsoft just bought Acompli, a company that streamlines mobile email.
但也许我不需要。照我预测,2015年正是电子邮件的替代方案开始发展之时。HipChat、Yammer等同步信息平台开始运作(其实《财富》杂志也在使用HipChat),新型信息与搜索平台Slack正在飞速发展当中。过去几年内还涌现出了其他的工具,如Sanebox、Mailstrom、Inbox Pause和Xobni【Xobni在2013年被雅虎(Yahoo)收购,部分性能被用在雅虎邮箱上】,还有尤其在写作者中大受欢迎的Ommwriter、Freedom等软件,它们会在你指定的时间段里切断你的所有互联网接入。Unroll.me、Boomerang等工具同样逐渐获得大众的喜爱,微软公司(Microsoft)不久前也收购了一家专门简化手机邮件的公司Acompli。

Corporations have gradually been adopting stricter email policies over the years: A few years ago, Volkswagen said it would stop sending emails from its servers to company-owned BlackBerrys after the end of its workday; other companies have instilled email “amnesty” during the last two weeks of the year. In 2011, French company Atos adopted a “zero email initiative” that banned internal email altogether. It didn’t succeed entirely—nor did CEO Thierry Breton expect it to—but it cut volume by 60% and led to more effective use of the company’s internal collaborative messaging platform.
近年来,各大企业逐渐开始采取更为严格的电邮政策。几年前,大众汽车(Volkswagen)宣布,在非工作时间,公司的服务器不会再向所有权属于公司的黑莓手机(BlackBerrys)发送邮件。其他公司会在每年最后两个星期实行电邮“特赦”。2011年,法国公司Atos发起了“零邮件计划”,禁止员工发送所有的内部邮件。虽然一如Atos首席执行官蒂埃里•布雷顿所料,此举并不成功,但它成功减少了60%的邮件,让公司内部的协作式信息平台变得更有效率。

Perhaps the biggest sign yet of the change at hand comes from Germany, which has called for an “anti-stress regulation” that would, among other things, ban employers from contacting employees after hours. Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticized the law and stopped it from moving forward for now, but German leaders have long been concerned about the growing tendency for technology to allow work to encroach on employees’ private lives.
也许改变的最大征兆掌握在德国人的手中。德国人曾经提议通过《抗压法规》,该法规的其中一条就是禁止公司在下班后联系员工。总统默克尔对此法律提出了批评,暂时禁止了这一立法进程,但是德国领导人长期以来都非常关注科技发展侵害员工私人生活的问题。

All that said, this great hope is largely the optimist in me speaking, and I give this prediction low odds compared to some of our others. As Tony Hsieh once told me, the problem with email is that it is a “good-enough” solution. He was citing a theory from the Good-to-Great guru Jim Collins that holds that a product that’s good can be the arch enemy of getting to something that’s truly great.
虽然说了这么多,但这种殷勤寄望不过是我的乐观想法罢了,和其他预测比起来,我觉得我的预测实现的可能性很低。著名华人企业家谢家华曾经告诉我,电子邮件的问题在于它是一个“足够好”的解决方案。他引用了吉姆•柯林斯在《从优秀到卓越》(From Good to Great)一书中的一个理论:一款好的产品,可能会成为我们得到一款真正伟大产品的死敌。

“Some technologies stay around just because there isn’t anything better,” Hsieh once said to me with a shrug. He’s probably right. But my hope, my wish, is that 2015 is the year truly effective email management solutions go from good to great—and that email volume goes from crazy to sane. We’ll all be better for it.
“有些科技的存在是因为缺少更好的科技,”谢家华曾经不无遗憾地对我这样说。他可能是对的。但是我希望,在2015年会有真正高效的电子邮件管理解决方案面世,可以从优秀升华到卓越,让电邮的数量不再那么疯狂地增长。这对每个人来说都是一件好事。(fortunechina.com)

archaic adj. 古代的;陈旧的;古体的;古色古香的

ridiculous adj. 可笑的;荒谬的

amnesty n. 大赦,特赦

collaborative adj. 合作的,协作的



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