How do New York Times journalists use technology in their jobs and in their personal lives? Li Yuan, a technology columnist in Hong Kong, discussed the tech she’s using.
《纽约时报》记者是如何在他们的工作和个人生活中使用技术的?居住在香港的科技专栏作者袁莉探讨了她正在使用的技术
You write about Chinese tech. What tech tools do you rely on to do your job, and what do you like about them?
你会写关中国技术方面的报道。在你的工作中需要依赖哪些技术工具呢,你对它们有什么看法?
It’s not an exaggeration to say I live in and work on WeChat, the messaging app that’s the equivalent of WhatsApp plus Facebook plus PayPal plus Uber plus GrubHub plus many other things. As my iPhone battery use record shows, I spend about one-third of my daily nine-hour phone time on WeChat. That doesn’t include the two to three hours I use WeChat’s web version.
可以不夸张地说,我生活在微信里,靠它工作,这个消息应用程序相当于WhatsApp加Facebook加PayPal加优步(Uber)加GrubHub以及许多其他东西。我的iPhone电池使用记录显示,每天我花9小时使用手机,其中大约三分之一是用在微信上。这还不包括我使用微信web版的那两到三个小时。
I’m not alone in my heavy WeChat use. There are 800 million internet users in China, but over one billion WeChat accounts. Just about every Chinese online has at least one account, and some more than one. Over one-third of them spend four hours or more on the app each day. The prevalence has made WeChat an indispensable part of many people’s lives and work. Two years ago, I met two people who refused to use WeChat, and I thought about writing a story about how people like them navigated work and life. Before I got around to it, both became my WeChat friends.
像我这样的微信重度使用者不是少数。中国有8亿互联网用户,但有超过10亿的微信账号。几乎每个上网的中国人都至少有一个帐户,有些人不止一个。超过三分之一的人每天在这个应用上花费四个小时或更长时间。这种普遍程度使微信成为许多人生活和工作中不可或缺的一部分。两年前,我遇到了两个拒绝使用微信的人,于是我想到,可以写一个关于像这样的人如何驾驭工作和生活的故事。在我抽出时间做这件事之前,这两人都成了我的微信好友。
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So as a journalist, I have to hang out on WeChat. I message and call my sources on WeChat. I keep an eye on WeChat Moment, which is similar to Facebook Timeline, and group chats so I’ll always be on top of what’s going on in China. When others pretend they are too busy to get back to me, I comment on their Moment posts and group chats to tell them that I know they aren’t so busy.
所以,作为一名记者,我必须待在微信上。我在微信上发消息、和我的信源通话。我对与Facebook时间线类似的微信朋友圈以及群聊保持关注,所以我能总是掌握中国正在发生什么。当其他人假装很忙而无法回复我时,我会评论他们的朋友圈和群聊,来告诉他们我知道他们并没有那么忙。
By now, some readers must be screaming, “How about the censorship and government surveillance on WeChat?” Sadly, it’s just the way of life in China. I’m not trying to make light of the issue. I’ve been very critical of how the tech companies work with the government to censor and monitor the Chinese public. But the reality is that ordinary Chinese often feel powerless and fatalistic when it comes to censorship and surveillance.I’ve tried to persuade people to get on encrypted messaging apps such as Signal and WhatsApp but haven’t had much success.
到这儿,一些读者肯定在尖叫了,“微信上的审查和政府监控怎么说?”不幸的是,在中国的生活就是这样。我不是要试图淡化这个问题。我一直很反对科技企业与政府联手审查和监控中国的公众。但现实情况是,普通中国人对审查和监控感到无可奈何,只好听天由命。我试图说服人们使用Signal、WhatsApp这类加密的消息应用软件,但没什么效果。
鉴于政府干预在中国是无法改变的事实,袁说她试着说服他人使用加密的消息应用软件,但没什么效果。
鉴于政府干预在中国是无法改变的事实,袁说她试着说服他人使用加密的消息应用软件,但没什么效果。 Kenneth Tsang for The New York Times
I also use Weibo, the Chinese equivalent of Twitter. I used to be an active Weibo user and still have a few million followers there. But after the government cracked down on Weibo a few years ago and shut down many of the most provocative and influential accounts, I don’t use it too often because the conversations are often dominated by celebrity news instead of discussions of current affairs.
我还用微博,中国版的Twitter。我以前是微博活跃用户,上面现在还有几百万粉丝。但几年前政府打击了微博,关停了许多最具挑衅性和影响力的帐户后,我就不太用了,因为它的话题常常被名人新闻主导,而不是探讨时事。
But Weibo is still a good place to check out the hottest topics and trends. That’s where I found people to talk to for a column I wrote about the generation that grew up without Google, Facebook or Twitter.
但微博仍然是个查看最热门话题和趋势的好地方。在就成长于没有谷歌、Facebook或Twitter的一代写一篇专栏时,我就是在那里找人采访的。
How do people in China use tech differently, compared with people in the United States?
与美国人相比,中国人在技术的使用上有什么不同?
The first thing many visitors to China notice is how mobile the Chinese are. Many Chinese never owned a laptop or a PC, and their first computer was their smartphone. Email never really took off in China. Some big corporations do use it. But people usually resort to WeChat for a quick response.
很多来中国的人最先注意到的就是手机在中国有多普遍。很多中国人从未拥有过手提电脑或个人电脑,他们的第一台电脑就是智能手机。邮箱在中国从未真正火起来。有些大公司的确会用。但人们通常是用微信,以便尽快得到回复。
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Because of WeChat’s prevalence, few Chinese carry business cards any more. At many meetings in China, there’s a time when everybody takes out his or her phone and scans the WeChat QR codes of others to become “friends.” I personally like having contacts on WeChat rather than on business cards. Because it’s a social media platform, you learn about your contacts as individuals beyond their business titles.
由于微信的普及,中国人几乎不再携带名片了。在中国的很多会议上,会有一个环节是每个人掏出手机、扫描他人的微信二维码成为“朋友”。我个人喜欢在微信上建立联系人,而不是通过名片。因为它是个社交媒体平台,你会了解到联系人个人的情况,而不仅仅是他们的商务头衔。
Many businesspeople I know have two or more WeChat accounts because WeChat allows only 5,000 contacts for one account. A young venture capitalist told me that it had taken him only two years to reach the limit. I don’t know how they manage so many contacts.
我认识的许多商务人士有两个或多个微信帐户,因为一个微信帐户只允许有5000个联系人。一位年轻的风险投资人告诉我,他仅用了两年时间就超出了这个上限。我不知道他们是怎样管理这么多联系人的。
Generally, Chinese are more receptive to new things and more tolerant of imperfect products, including mobile apps. Some commentators here say Facebook is almost a Chinese company because of its “move fast and break things” mantra. Many people in China’s internet industry work super-long hours to make sure they beat competitors to roll out new features first.
总的来说,中国人更愿意接受新生事物,更能容忍不完美的产品,包括移动应用。一些评论人士说,Facebook几乎就是一家中国公司,因为它曾有“快速行动,打破陈规”的口号。中国互联网行业的许多人都超时工作,以确保他们能赶在竞争对手的前面推出新功能。
Why are mobile wallets so popular in China?
为什么移动钱包在中国如此受欢迎?
When I moved from New York to Beijing in 2008, China was still a cash-based nation. Not many people had credit cards, and it wasn’t easy for small businesses to get approval to install the machines. I used to have to go to the A.T.M.s all the time. Going to the banks, mostly giant state-owned enterprises, was torturously time-consuming.
2008年我从纽约搬到北京时,中国仍是一个以现金为主的国家。没有多少人有信用卡,而且小企业也不容易获得安装刷卡机器的批准。我以前不得不经常去自动取款机取钱。银行大都是大型国有企业,到银行办事极其耗费时间。
Then came WeChat Pay and Alipay, the mobile payment services from Tencent and Alibaba. Since so many Chinese were already on WeChat and were trained to scan QR codes, it took the two giants only some cash-bonus campaigns at grocery stores to convert people like my mom to mobile payments.
后来,腾讯和阿里巴巴推出了移动支付服务微信钱包和支付宝。因为很多中国人已经使用微信,并且学会了扫二维码,所以这两家巨头只需要在食品杂货店提供一些现金奖励,就能把像我妈妈这样的人变成使用移动支付的人。
手机支付系统在中国非常普及。
手机支付系统在中国非常普及。 Kenneth Tsang for The New York Times
Mobile pay is now available in almost every place I visit in China, including small towns. I’ve been carrying a 100-yuan ($15) bill in my wallet for months but haven’t found an occasion to use it. Everybody — hotels, department stores, taxi drivers, noodle stands — takes Alipay or WeChat Pay or both. Even tollbooths accept mobile payment.
如今,移动支付在我去的中国几乎所有地方都可以使用,包括在小城镇。我钱包里的一张100元的钞票已经放了好几个月,一直都没找到使用的机会。所有商家——酒店、百货公司、出租车司机、面馆——都接受支付宝或微信钱包付款,或者两者都接受。甚至高速公路收费站也接受移动支付。
What are some hot new apps, tech products or internet services in China?
中国热门的新应用程序、技术产品或互联网服务有哪些?
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The hottest app is a short video service, Douyin, which is called TikTok outside China. As my colleague Kevin Roose aptly put it in a recent column, it’s “a quirky hybrid of Snapchat, the defunct video app Vine and the TV segment ‘Carpool Karaoke.’”
最热门的应用是短视频服务“抖音”,它在中国以外叫TikTok。正如我的同事凯文·卢斯(Kevin Roose)在最近的一篇专栏文章中恰当指出的,它是“一个集合了Snapchat、现已不存在的视频应用Vine和‘搭车卡拉OK’电视节目的奇特混合体”。
To be honest, I’m too old for the app — Douyin targets urban teenagers and 20-somethings — and have not spent much time on it. But I’ve seen some viral Douyin videos on Weibo and WeChat that are fun and goofy. Some young Chinese told me that they spend hours watching Douyin videos every day, which I would argue is the downside of the app. Its parent company, Bytedance, is very good at using artificial intelligence to push content based on users’ viewing history.
说实话,我这个年龄的人不大用这个应用,所以并没有在那上面花太多时间,抖音的目标用户是城市青少年和20多岁的年轻人。但我在微博和微信上看过一些被疯传的、很有趣也很傻的抖音视频。一些中国年轻人对我说,他们每天花几个小时看抖音视频,我觉得这是该应用的缺点。抖音的母公司字节跳动非常擅长使用人工智能,根据用户看视频的历史向他们推送内容。
The short video app that I check out from time to time is Douyin’s rival, Kwai. Kwai is popular in small towns and the countryside. You can watch young people chasing geese and getting married in white gowns in front of mud houses. I call Kwai the “Hillbilly Elegy” of China. It’s where you can get a flavor of what China is like outside the biggest coastal cities.
我时不时会去看看另一个短视频应用,就是抖音的竞争对手“快手”。快手在小城镇和农村很受欢迎。你在上面可以看到年轻人追鹅,还可以看到穿白色礼服的新娘在土房子前举办婚礼。我把快手称为中国版的《乡下人的悲歌》(Hillbilly Elegy)。你可以在快手上看到中国沿海大城市以外地区的景象。
Outside of work, what tech product are you into right now?
除工作之外,你现在对什么技术产品感兴趣?
I’m a very low-tech person! While my iPhone feels like an extension of my left arm, I don’t use many other electronics. I didn’t own a TV until a year ago and only watch Netflix sometimes. I bought a microwave this year, and it’s the simplest model because I knew I would use it only to reheat food.
我是一个生活中不太使用技术的人!虽然我的iPhone好像是我左臂的延伸,但我很少使用其他电子产品。直到一年前,我一直都没有电视机,现在也只是偶尔看看Netflix。今年我买了一台微波炉,是型号最简单的那种,因为我知道我只会用它来重新加热食物。
My biggest tech wish is for Google, Facebook, Apple or another company to build a technology that can break the Great Firewall, the system of filters and blocks that prevents Chinese from visiting thousands of foreign websites. Instead of kowtowing to the Chinese government’s demands in order to gain access to the market, American tech giants could do something heroic: Liberate hundreds of millions of people from information darkness.
我对技术的最大愿望是,谷歌、Facebook、苹果(Apple)或其他公司能够开发出一种打破中国“防火墙”(Great Firewall)的技术,这道墙过滤、封锁了数千个政府不让中国人访问的外国网站。美国的技术巨头们不必为进入中国市场而屈从中国政府的要求,他们应该做一件有勇气的事情:把数亿人从信息黑暗中解放出来。