广州装饰灯批发合作组

双语 | 圣诞树彩灯的启示

楼主:王府英语 时间:2019-12-03 16:41:10

圣诞树彩灯的启示

My Christmas tree lights are illuminating

On Sunday my family and I will unwrap our Christmas presents under a glossy Nordmann fir tree that was brought to the door of our London home last week. It is festooned with decorations and a string of lights.

周日,我和家人将在一棵闪闪发亮的诺德曼(Nordmann)冷杉下打开我们的圣诞礼物。这棵树上周被送到我们的伦敦居所门口。树上挂着许多装饰品和一串彩灯。

There is nothing unusual in that: the same or similar no doubt goes for many readers. But our Christmas tree and its decorations are symbols of more than the festive season. They also epitomise the way in which technological innovation occurs steadily and stealthily as companies compete globally.

这没有什么不寻常的:许多读者无疑也有相同或类似的圣诞树。但是,我们的圣诞树和上面的装饰品不仅仅是节日的象征,还体现了技术创新是如何随着公司的全球竞争而稳步和悄悄地发生的。

This thought occurred to me the other day as I was admiring our tree and realised that its appearance would have been impossible not long ago. It is covered with light-emitting diodes instead of in candescent bulbs and they glow in a warm white that is cosier than the harsh blue-white of older LEDs.

我在几天前产生这个想法。当时我在欣赏那棵圣诞树时意识到,即使在不那么久之前,它的外观也不可能是这个样子的。这颗树上覆盖着发光二极管、而不是白炽灯泡,而且它们发出温暖的白色光芒,比老式LED刺眼的蓝白光舒适多了。

The lights are better in other ways, too. They were cheaper — £23 for a 30m string of 300 lights — and more reliable than the Christmas tree lights of my youth, which were wired in series so a whole line would go dark if a bulb burst or loosened. They are also energy efficient: LED bulbs do not get hot and can be safely touched.

从其他方面看,这些灯也更好。它们更便宜——30米长、300个灯构成的灯串仅售23英镑——而且比我年轻时的圣诞树彩灯更可靠。那时的灯是串联的,如果一个灯泡烧坏或者接触不好,一整串灯都会变黑。它们也很节能:LED灯泡不会变烫,可以安全地触摸。

It encouraged me to find out more about our Christmas lights, and this is what I discovered.

这鼓励我了解关于我们的圣诞树彩灯的更多情况,以下是我的发现。

We bought them on Amazon, influenced by the price and the number of stars in the customer reviews. They came from a small UK company called Ansio, a Finnish word for“merit” or “worth”, which its founders chose because it sounded good, started with A, and was not taken.

我们从亚马逊(Amazon)购买了圣诞树彩灯,影响我购买的因素是价格和客户评论中的星级。它们来自一家名叫“Ansio”的英国小公司,Ansio是芬兰语,意思是“优点”或“价值”。公司创始人选择这个词,是因为它听起来不错,以A开头,而且没被用过。

Ansio was founded in London in 2014 by three Indian-born immigrant entrepreneurs — two from Chennai and one from Hyderabad — to import and sell household products direct to consumers. They started with electric fans and have diversified into lighting, particularly decorative LEDs.

2014年,三名印度出生的移民企业家——其中两人来自金奈(Chennai),一人来自海得拉巴(Hyderabad)——在伦敦创立了Ansio,进口并直接向消费者出售家居产品。他们从电风扇做起,然后拓展进入灯具领域,特别是装饰用LED。

The partners chose the manufacturers for their lights by visiting the Canton fair, the largest trade fair in China, which is held twice a year in Guangzhou. It is a vast emporium for foreign buyers seeking to strike deals with Chinese suppliers in many industries.

这几个合伙人通过访问中国最大的贸易展览会——广交会(Canton fair)选定制造商。广交会每年在广州举办两次。它是外国买家与许多行业的中国供应商谈生意的盛会。

Having selected three (since reduced to two) LED manufacturers in Ningbo, an industrial city near Shanghai, they visited the factories to ensure the quality of the products. There was plenty of choice: Ningbo is full of LED makers and China competes with Japanese and South Korean companies so fiercely that prices have fallen.

在上海附近的工业城市宁波选定三家(后来减为两家)LED制造商之后,他们访问了工厂,以确保产品的质量。他们有很多选择:宁波有大量的LED制造商,同时随着中国企业与日韩同行激烈竞争,价格已经下降。

Our Christmas tree lights were shipped from Ningbo across the world and through customs to a British warehouse, then delivered to us by an Amazon courier. Many of Ansio’s customer service and back-office tasks are carried out over the internet by remote workers in India. Although tiny, the company has a global supply chain.

我们的圣诞树彩灯从宁波发运,长途运输后通关进入一家英国仓库,然后由一名亚马逊送货员送到我们家。Ansio的许多客户服务和后台任务是由印度境内的工作人员通过互联网远程完成的。该公司虽然很小,却拥有一条全球供应链。

Globalisation is only half the story of the lights; the other is technology. US Christmas trees followed the German tradition of being lit with candles until Edward Johnson, a vice-president of the Edison Electric Light Company, fixed electric lights to the tree in his New York house in 1882 to show off the invention to passers-by. By 1903, its successor General Electric was selling “festoons” of 24 tree lamps for $12.

全球化只是圣诞树彩灯故事的一部分,另一部分是技术。美国圣诞树之前沿袭德国传统,用蜡烛装饰,直至1882年爱迪生电灯公司(Edison Electric Light Company)副总裁爱德华•约翰逊(Edward Johnson)在其纽约家中用电灯装饰圣诞树,向路人炫耀这项发明。后来爱迪生电灯公司和另一家公司合并为通用电气(General Electric)。到1903年,通用电气以12美元的价格销售包含24个树灯的“彩饰”。

The visible LED was invented by Nick Holonyak, a GE research scientist, in 1962 but it glowed red and early LEDs were confined to devices such as clocks and calculators. It became possible to light offices and homes with them a decade ago when companies such as Philips started making blue LEDs treated with phosphor to glow white.

发光LED由通用电气研究科学家尼克•霍洛尼亚克(Nick Holonyak)在1962年发明,但它只能发出红光,因此早期的LED只用于时钟和计算器等设备。10年前,飞利浦(Philips)等公司开始制造蓝光LED,然后加上荧光粉使其发出白光,从而能够为办公室和家里提供照明。

The technology has improved rapidly. Today’s diodes emit four times as much light in lumens per watt of power as they did eight years ago and the cost per lumen has fallen one hundred fold, according to Philips. As technology has advanced, economies of scale have grown.  China’s push into LEDs has caused a leap in global capacity: there is a reason my lights were cheap.

LED技术已迅速改善。菲利普表示,如今的二极管发出的每瓦流明是8年前的4倍,同时每流明成本下降了100倍。随着技术的发展,规模经济显现。中国大力发展LED导致全球产能飙升:我们家的圣诞树彩灯如此便宜是有原因的。

New technology tends to be expensive but prices often fall to a fraction of their original level once second, third, fourth and later generations appear and it gradually becomes a commodity. To buy 300 of the tree lamps sold by GE in 1903 would have cost $3,320 at today’s prices; a display such as ours would have been a great luxury.

新技术往往非常昂贵,但一旦第二代、第三代、第四代乃至更新的产品出现,它就逐渐成为一种大宗商品,价格往往下降至最初价格的一个零头。如果在1903年购买300个通用电气销售的那种树灯,按当今价格计算将需要3320美元;像我们这样装饰就太奢侈了。

The quality of LED lights has also improved. Not only are our lights safer than crudely wired incandescents but modern LEDs are capable of glowing in a range of colours and of changing during the day. As I press a button on the plug, made in Changzhou in the eastern province of Jiangsu, our lights display seven patterns, in turn flashing, glowing and twinkling. We chose white but could have picked other shades.

LED灯的质量也有所改善。我们的灯不仅比接线简陋的白炽灯更安全,而且现代LED灯能够发出多种色光,还能在一天中不断变换。当我按下插座上的按钮时——插座是中国江苏省常州市生产的——我们的灯显示出7种模式,依次闪烁、发光、忽明忽暗。我们选择了白色,但本来也可选择其他色调。

If there is a parable in our Christmas lights — sold by a British-Indian company through a USe-commerce platform, made in China and given a Finnish name — it is this. Globalisation and technological innovation have grown unpopular this year, blamed for the loss of some jobs and fracturing of communities in developed economies, but they also bring material benefits.

如果说我们的圣诞树彩灯有什么寓意的话——中国制造,芬兰名称,由英印合资公司通过美国电子商务平台销售——那就是这个。全球化和技术创新在今年不再受欢迎,它们被指导致发达经济体丧失一些就业机会和社会分裂,但它们也带来了实实在在的益处。

Many things we buy easily are not only cheaper but much better than they used to be. If we allow it, they will carry on improving. Merry Christmas.

我们很容易就能买到的许多东西不仅更便宜,而且比过去好得多。如果我们允许的话,它们将继续改善。圣诞快乐!



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