TED演讲:昔日纽约(02)

发表时间:2017-06-19内容来源:VOA英语学习网

Is it simply the byproduct of a crude mechanical action?

它仅仅是一个粗糙机械制作的副产品?

Or is it an imitation of one half the set of sounds we make to express disappointment?

或者对我们抒发不满的一种声音的一半所进行的模仿?

The often dental consonant of no Indo-European language.

我们不满的时候经常用它在印欧语系中可找不到词源。

Or is it the amplified sound of a synapse firing in the brain of a cockroach?

还是,那其实是蟑螂大脑中触突闪现火花那一刹那所产生的声响的放大?

In the 1950s they tried their best to muffle this sound with mercury switches and silent knob controls.

在二十世纪五十年代,科学家们曾尽力用汞制的开关和静音的按钮来消除这声响。

But today these improvements seem somehow inauthentic.

但在今天开来,这些改进倒显得不地道。

The click is the modern triumphal clarion proceeding us through life,announcing our entry into every lightless room.

这“咯嗒”声 其实是现代社会胜利的号角。让我们的生活向前迈进,宣告我们向每一个无光的暗房进军。

The sound made flicking a wall switch off is of a completely different nature.

而我们把墙上开关关上的那一声响内涵就完全不同了。

It has a deep melancholy ring.

它蕴含着深深地抑郁声调。

Children don't like it.

孩子们不喜欢它。

It's why they leave lights on around the house.

所以总爱让房间亮着。

Adults find it comforting.

大人们却能聊以慰藉。

But wouldn't it be an easy matter to wire a wall switch?

但把墙上的开关接通电源不是很容易的事儿吗?

so that it triggers the muted horn of a steam ship?

这样就能够启动蒸汽船静默的汽笛?

Or the recorded crowing of a rooster?

或唤醒公鸡清晨的报晓?

Or the distant peel of thunder?

还是爆破远方的一声惊雷?

Thomas Edison went through thousands of unlikely substances before he came upon the right one for the filament of his electric light bulb.

爱迪生也是在尝试过,成千上万不同的物质之后才找到了真正适合做灯丝的物质,从而完成了他的电灯发明。

Why have we settled so quickly for the sound of its switch?

为什么我们要如此迅速地屈就于那开关不完美的“咯嗒”声响呢?

这则动人演讲选自TED锦集,是漫画家Ben Katchor从他的连环漫画中选出来朗读的。这些独具风韵的超现实小故事,在电灯开关、标记牌这些小物件上找到了历史(和现代纽约)残留其中的殷切希望和种种瑕疵。

来自:VOA英语网 文章地址: http://www.tingvoa.com/html/20170619/467105.html