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#165: Movies Become Big Business in 1920s

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A movie theater in New Orleans, Louisiana
A movie theater in New Orleans, Louisiana

ANNOUNCER: Welcome to THE MAKING OF A NATION -- American history in VOA Special English.

In the years after World War One, new technologies changed America. Technology made it possible for millions of people to improve their lives. It also brought great changes in American society.

第一次世界大战结束后的年月里,新技术改变了美国。技术进步使数百万人有可能改善他们的生活,也给美国社会带来了巨大的变化。

This week in our series, Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant tell more about the technological and social changes that took place in the United States in the early nineteen twenties.

HARRY MONROE: Some of the most important changes came as a result of the automobile and the radio.

一些最重要的变革是汽车和无线电带来的。

Automobiles began to be mass-produced. They were low enough in cost so many Americans could buy them. Gasoline was low in cost, too. Together, these developments put America on the move as never before.

那时,美国已经开始大规模生产汽车,车价足够低,以至于许多美国人都买得起车。另外,汽油价格也低。这使得美国人获得了前所未有的行动自由。

Automobiles made it easy for Americans to travel. Trucks made it easy for goods to be transported. Many people and businesses moved out of crowded, noisy cities. They moved to open areas outside cities: suburbs.

汽车使美国人出行变得更容易,而卡车使运送货物变得简单。这样,许多美国人和公司离开了拥挤吵闹的城市,搬到了开阔的市郊。

Traffic jam in Detroit, Michigan
Traffic jam in Detroit, Michigan

KAY GALLANT: As automobiles helped Americans spread out, the radio helped bring them closer together. Large networks could broadcast the same radio program to many stations at the same time. Soon, Americans everywhere were listening to the same programs. They laughed at the same jokes, sang the same songs, heard the same news.

汽车让美国人居住得更加分散,而无线电却让美国人之间的联系更加紧密。大广播公司可以向许多电台同时播放同样的节目。很快,住在各地的美国人就开始收听同样的东西了。大家因为同一个笑话而哈哈大笑,哼唱同一首歌曲,收听同样的新闻。

Another invention that produced big changes in American life was the motion picture.

给美国人生活带来重大变化的另外一个发明就是电影。

HARRY MONROE: American inventor Thomas Edison began making short motion pictures at the turn of the century. In nineteen-oh-three, a movie called "The Great Train Robbery" was the first to tell a complete story. In nineteen fifteen, D. W. Griffith made a long, serious movie called "Birth of a Nation."

美国发明家托马斯.爱迪生在19世纪末20世纪初的时候就开始制作短片了。1903年的《火车大劫案》成为历史上第一个讲述了完整故事的电影。1915年,大卫.格里菲斯拍出了《一个国家的诞生》,这是一部时间长、内容严肃的电影。

By the early nineteen twenties, many American towns had a movie theater. Most Americans went to see the movies at least once a week. The movie industry became a big business. People might not know the names of government officials. But they knew the names of every leading actor and actress.

20世纪初,美国许多城镇里都有一家电影院。许多美国人每个礼拜至少去看一次电影。电影工业成为一个庞大的产业。人们也许不知道政府官员的名字,但对电影里每个男女主角的名字却了如指掌。

KAY GALLANT: Movies were fun. They provided a change from the day-to-day troubles of life. They also were an important social force.

电影很有意思,让人们暂时逃离日常生活中的烦恼,同时,电影也是重要的社会力量。

Young Americans tried to copy what they saw in the movies. And they dreamed about far-away places and a different kind of life. A young farm boy could imagine himself as romantic hero Douglas Fairbanks or comedian Charlie Chaplin. A young city girl could imagine herself as the beautiful and brave Mary Pickford.

美国年轻人努力模仿他们在电影中看到的东西,梦想去远方,开始完全不同的生活。一个农场的小伙子可能会想象自己是浪漫英雄道格拉斯.范朋克或者喜剧明星卓别林。而一个城市小姐也可以幻想自己是美丽勇敢的玛丽.璧克馥。

Rich families and poor families saw the same movies. Their children shared the same wish to be like the movie stars. In this way, the son of a banker and the son of a factory worker had much in common. The same was true for people from different parts of the country.

富裕的家庭和贫困的家庭看同样的电影。他们的孩子同样憧憬着成为电影明星。这样,银行家的儿子和工人的儿子就有了共同点。生活在美国各地的人也有了共同点。

Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin

HARRY MONROE: In the early nineteen twenties, Americans also began reading the same publications. The publishing industry used some of the same kinds of mass-production methods as the automobile industry. It began producing magazines in larger amounts. It began selling the same magazines all over the country.

20世纪20年代初,美国人还开始阅读同样的刊物。出版业学习汽车制造业的一些大规模生产方法,开始增加杂志的数量,并在全国各地卖同样的杂志。

One of the most widely-read magazines was the Saturday Evening Post. In nineteen-oh-two, it sold about three hundred thousand copies each week. Twenty years later, it sold more than two million copies each week.

其中拥有最多读者的一本杂志是《星期六晚报》, 1902年时,该报每周能卖出大约30万份。20年后,每周销量超过200万份。

Americans everywhere shared the same information and advice in such nationwide magazines. The information was not always correct. The advice was not always good. But the effect was similar to that caused by the automobile and radio. Parts of American society were becoming more alike. They were trying to move toward the same kind of life -- economically and socially.

各地的美国人通过全国发行的报刊杂志获得同样的信息和建议,但是这些信息并不总是正确的,这些建议并不总是好的。尽管如此,它们带来的结果和无线电广播类似,那就是,美国社会的一些部分变得更加相似。美国人在经济上和社会上都追求同一种生活。

KAY GALLANT: Other industries used the techniques of assembly-line production to make their goods, too. They discovered that producing large numbers of goods reduced the cost of each one.

20世纪20年代,美国的其它产业也效仿汽车业,用流水线技术来生产产品。人们发现,生产大量产品能降低每件产品的成本。

One company that expanded in this way was the Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company. It was called A&P for short.

其中一个采用这种生产方式的公司是A&P茶叶公司。

The A&P was one of the first large American grocery stores to sell all kinds of food. It sold milk, meat, bread, canned fruits, and vegetables all in the same store.

这个公司是美国最早的大型副食零售商之一。人们在A&P的一个店里就能买到牛奶、肉、面包、罐头水果和蔬菜等各类食品。

Shopping at the A&P was much faster and easier than going to different stores to get different kinds of food. In nineteen twelve, A&P had four hundred stores in the United States. About ten years later, it had more than eleven thousand stores. It could buy huge amounts of goods and sell each at a very low price.

这样,采购变得简单了,人们不必再跑到不同的商店买不同的食品。1912年时,A&P在美国拥有400家零售店,大约10年后,零售店超过1万1千家。A&P能够大批量地买入商品,然后以很低的价格售出。

HARRY MONROE: Mass production also came to the clothing industry. People began wearing clothes made in factories, instead of by a family member or local tailor. Before long, the same kinds of clothes could be found everywhere.

大规模生产也进入到制衣业。人们开始穿制衣厂生产的成衣,而不是家人或者当地裁缝缝制的衣服。不久,在各个地方都能看到同样款式的衣服了。

Mass production removed some differences that had marked Americans in the past. Prices dropped, so people with little money could still buy nice clothes. It became more difficult to look at Americans and know by their clothes if they were rich or poor.

大规模生产消除了以前区分不同美国人的一些差异性的东西。比如,由于衣服价格下降,穷人也能买得起漂亮衣服。这样,单看一个人的穿着就不再能容易地判断他是富人还是穷人了。

KAY GALLANT: Social changes also resulted from great progress in medical research.

医药研究方面也取得了重大进步,而这引发了社会变革。

Doctors and scientists reported new developments in the fight against disease. This progress gave most Americans a longer life. In nineteen hundred, for example, the average person in the United States could expect to live forty-nine years. By nineteen twenty-seven, the average person could expect to live fifty-nine years.

医生和科学家在防止疾病方面取得了新进展。大部分美国人的寿命都延长了。比如,1900年,美国人的平均寿命是49岁,但是到1927年,平均寿命已经达到了59岁。

HARRY MONROE: Life expectancy rates climbed, because doctors and scientists developed effective ways to prevent or treat diseases such as tuberculosis, typhoid, diphtheria, and influenza. Yellow fever and smallpox were no longer a threat.

这是因为医生和科学家发现了防治结核病、伤寒、白喉和流感等疾病的更有效的途径。黄热病和天花也不再能威胁人们的生命。

One new medicine was insulin. It was used to treat diabetes. A man-made version gave diabetics the insulin their bodies did not have. It cut the death rate from the disease from seventy percent to about one percent.

一种新开发的药物是胰岛素,用来治疗糖尿病。人造胰岛素给糖尿病患者提供患者自身无法产生的胰岛素,从而把患者的死亡率从百分之70减少到百分之1。

Doctors and scientists also learned the importance of vitamins to good health. Now they could cure several diseases caused by a lack of vitamins.

医生和科学家们还发现了维他命对身体健康的重要性。他们能治愈一些因为缺乏维他命而产生的疾病。

KAY GALLANT: Americans in the nineteen twenties lived much better than their fathers and mothers. A man received more pay than in the past, even though he worked fewer hours each day. He lived in a better house with new labor-saving devices. He had a car to drive to work and to take his family on holiday trips.

这样,20世纪20年代的美国人过上了比自己父母好得多的生活。人们的工资比过去高,而每天的工作时间比过去短,他们住在更好的房子里,使用节省人力的家用设备。他们可以开车上班,放假时可以带全家出去旅游。

He received a better education than his father. He and his family wore better clothes. They ate healthier foods. The average American in the nineteen twenties had more time for sports and entertainment. He enjoyed listening to the radio and watching movies. He was more informed about national and world events.

人们得到了比父辈更好的教育,穿上了更好的衣服,吃着更健康的食物。1920年代的普通美国人有更多时间参加体育和娱乐活动,他们喜欢听广播和看电影,并能了解更多的国家和世界新闻。

HARRY MONROE: Life was good for many Americans as World War One ended and the nation entered the nineteen twenties. Yet that life was far from perfect.

在一战结束、时间进入20世纪20年代时,对许多美国人来说,生活是美好的。

Many Americans did not have the same chances to improve their lives. Black Americans continued to suffer from racism. Society continued to deny them their rights as citizens. Women did not have equal rights, either. For example, they could not vote.

但是,这种生活远不是完美的。许多美国人并没有这种改善生活的机会。美国黑人还在遭受种族歧视,社会依然不给他们公民权利。妇女也没有平等的权利,比如,她们没有投票权。

It was during this time that the United States experienced one of its worst incidents of public hatred. Many people turned strongly against labor unions and leftists. They feared a threat to democracy. The federal government took action against what it called political extremists. Many of the charges were unfair. Many innocent lives were harmed.

正是在这样的背景下,美国爆发了最严重的公众仇恨事件。许多人强烈反对工会和左翼人士,担心民主会受到威胁。而联邦政府采取行动,对付所谓的"政治极端分子"。很多这种指责都是不公平的,很多无辜的生命受到了伤害。

That will be our story next week.

(MUSIC)

ANNOUNCER: Our program was written by Frank Beardsley. The narrators were Harry Monroe and Kay Gallant.

You can find our series online with transcripts, MP3s, podcasts and images at www.unsv.com. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter at VOA Learning English. Join us again next week for THE MAKING OF A NATION -- an American history series in VOA Special English.

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