翻译练习:如何损失金钱和时间

作者:和菜头 阅读(48)
保罗·格林厄姆(Paul Graham)是硅谷创业教父,他创办的孵化器还在持续不断培养新的企业家。这个人我此前介绍过多次,每当有人说我的公众号排版太难看的时候,我就请他们去看一下保罗·格林厄姆的博客,去那里看一看他的排版。作为教父级的人物,保罗还在不断更新自己的博客,分享自己的所思所感。他的文字胜在思辨,篇幅往往都不长,但是短小精悍。最近一段时间,人们都在下调自己对未来的期待,同时也陷入了程度不同的迷惘。所以,我找出了一篇保罗·格林厄姆的文章,把它翻译为中文。这篇文章写于2010年7月,12年后,它依然挂在首页置顶。说明保罗应该对它极为满意,认为道出了某种真知灼见。以下,就是我的翻译。为了避免翻译错误造成误读,我在每一段翻译之后附上了原文,便于你对照查看:

如何损失金钱和时间》(How to Lose Time and Money)
作者:保罗·格林厄姆(Paul Graham)

1998年我们卖掉自己的初创公司之后,我突然有了一大笔钱。当时我不得不去思考一些此前我从未想过的问题:怎样才能不失去这些钱?我知道在这世间存在返贫的可能,一如存在着致富的可能。虽然在过去几年我花了大量时间研究致富的途径,但我对返贫的路径却一无所知。现在,为了避免返贫,我必须要学习返贫会有哪些途径。
When we sold our startup in 1998 I suddenly got a lot of money. I now had to think about something I hadn't had to think about before: how not to lose it. I knew it was possible to go from rich to poor, just as it was possible to go from poor to rich. But while I'd spent a lot of the past several years studying the paths frompoor to rich, I knew practically nothing about the paths from rich to poor. Now, in order to avoid them, I had to learn where they were.

于是我开始关注财富是如何流失的。如果你问还是孩童时代的我,富人是怎么变穷的,我会说是他们花光了自己的钱。这就是在书籍和电影中会描绘的事,因为花光钱这种事做起来总是那么的赏心悦目。但事实上财富的流失并不是因为过度开支,而是因为糟糕的投资。
So I started to pay attention to how fortunes are lost. If you'd asked me as a kid how rich people became poor, I'd have said by spending all their money. That's how it happens in books and movies, because that's the colorful way to do it. But in fact the way most fortunes are lost is not through excessive expenditure, but through bad investments.

你很难在无知无觉的情况下花掉一大笔钱。一个普通品味的人很难一下花掉几万美金而不去想“哇,我败了那么多钱”。而如果你开始交易金融衍生产品,你可以在眨眼之间损失掉一百万美金,有多少就可以烧多少,真的。
It's hard to spend a fortune without noticing. Someone with ordinary tastes would find it hard to blow through more than a few tens of thousands of dollars without thinking "wow, I'm spending a lot of money." Whereas if you start trading derivatives, you can lose a million dollars (as much as you want, really) in the blink of an eye.

在大多数人的意识之中,当他们在奢侈品上花钱时警报就会拉响,然而当他们投资时则不然。买奢侈品看起来是一种自我放纵,除非你的钱是从继承或者彩票得来,否则你一早就已经受训形成了根深蒂固的观念---自我放纵会招致麻烦。投资可以避开你意识中的警报:你这不是花钱,你仅只是把资产从一种转移成另一种。这就是为什么人们在卖给你很昂贵的东西时,会对你说“这是一笔投资”。
In most people's minds, spending money on luxuries sets off alarms that making investments doesn't. Luxuries seem self-indulgent. And unless you got the money by inheriting it or winning a lottery, you've already been thoroughly trained that self-indulgence leads to trouble. Investing bypasses those alarms. You're not spending the money; you're just moving it from one asset to another. Which is why people trying to sell you expensive things say "it's an investment."

解决方法是开发一个新的报警器。这可能是一件相当棘手的事,因为那些防止你过度消费的报警器如此深植人心,简直就像是写在了我们的DNA里。而那些个防止你做出糟糕投资的报警器却需要我们去学习,而且有些时候它相当地反直觉。
The solution is to develop new alarms. This can be a tricky business, because while the alarms that prevent you from overspending are so basic that they may even be in our DNA, the ones that prevent you from making bad investments have to be learned, and are sometimes fairly counterintuitive.

几天前我意识到一些让人吃惊的事:人们在时间上发生的状况和在金钱上发生的状况很类似。损失时间最危险的方式不是花时间去玩耍,而是去做假工作。当你花时间去玩耍的时候,你知道你正在自我放纵,于是报警器立即拉响。如果我某天早上醒来,坐在沙发上看了一整天电视,我会觉得有什么事是出了大问题,仅仅是那么去想一想都会让我觉得畏缩。当我坐在沙发上看了2小时电视之后就已经开始觉得心里不舒服,更别说是花上一整天。
A few days ago I realized something surprising: the situation with time is much the same as with money. The most dangerous way to lose time is not to spend it having fun, but to spend it doing fake work. When you spend time having fun, you know you're being self-indulgent. Alarms start to go off fairly quickly. If I woke up one morning and sat down on the sofa and watched TV all day, I'd feel like something was terribly wrong. Just thinking about it makes me wince. I'd start to feel uncomfortable after sitting on a sofa watching TV for 2 hours, let alone a whole day.

然而,我绝对也有很多这样的日子,一些还不如我整天坐在电视机前的日子。在这些日子结束时,如果我问自己这一天都干了些什么,答案会是:基本上来说,什么都没干。在那些日子里我感觉也很糟糕,但不如坐在电视机前一整天感觉那么糟糕。如果我看了一整天电视,我会觉得我正在坠入毁灭。但是,在我什么都没做的那一天里,相同的警报却没有响起,因为我正在做一些表面上看起来很像是真正的工作那样的事,诸如处理邮件之类。你坐在办公桌前做这些事,这些事很无趣,所以它就必须是工作。
And yet I've definitely had days when I might as well have sat in front of a TV all day — days at the end of which, if I asked myself what I got done that day, the answer would have been: basically, nothing. I feel bad after these days too, but nothing like as bad as I'd feel if I spent the whole day on the sofa watching TV. If I spent a whole day watching TV I'd feel like I was descending into perdition. But the same alarms don't go off on the days when I get nothing done, because I'm doing stuff that seems, superficially, like real work. Dealing with email, for example. You do it sitting at a desk. It's not fun. So it must be work.

用控制时间来避免逸乐,正如用控制金钱来避免逸乐一样,远避逸乐不再足以保护你。在史前的狩猎采集时代,在所有的前工业社会,它也许足以保护人们。天性和教养相结合,使得我们避免自我放纵。但今天的世界已经变得更为复杂:现在最危险的陷阱是一些新的行为,这些行为会通过模仿更具德行的行为来绕过针对自我放纵的报警器。最糟糕的是,它们甚至都不好玩。
With time, as with money, avoiding pleasure is no longer enough to protect you. It probably was enough to protect hunter-gatherers, and perhaps all pre-industrial societies. So nature and nurture combine to make us avoid self-indulgence. But the world has gotten more complicated: the most dangerous traps now are new behaviors that bypass our alarms about self-indulgence by mimicking more virtuous types. And the worst thing is, they're not even fun.