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Seeking Soccer Talent, Club Executives Turn to Speed Dating 球員交易平台 足球隊用快速約會尋才

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讀紐時學英文
2019/08/02 第273期 訂閱/退訂看歷史報份
 
 

紐時周報精選 Seeking Soccer Talent, Club Executives Turn to Speed Dating 球員交易平台 足球隊用快速約會尋才
Despite High Hopes, Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Way in the Future’ 期待雖高 自駕車仍處於遙遠未來

紐時周報精選
 

Seeking Soccer Talent, Club Executives Turn to Speed Dating 球員交易平台 足球隊用快速約會尋才
文/Tariq Panja
譯/莊蕙嘉

足球隊用快速約會尋才

It had all the hallmarks of an afternoon of speed dating. Strangers hoping to find that right match.

這個下午具備了快速約會的所有特色,一些陌生人期待找到那個對的人。

On a gloriously warm Tuesday earlier this month, a group of soccer executives, from clubs large and small from across Europe and even as far afield as Brazil and the United States, were getting to know each other at 15-minute intervals inside a banquet hall at Stamford Bridge, the West London home of Premier League giant Chelsea.

本月一個陽光普照且溫暖的周二,一群足球隊的高級主管聚集於此,他們來自歐洲各地、甚至遠在巴西和美國的球會。在英格蘭足球超級聯賽強隊切爾西位於倫敦西區的主場,史丹佛橋球場的宴會廳內,他們以每次15分鐘的時間彼此接觸了解。

Outside, tourists visiting the stadium frolicked in the sunshine of the stands. Inside the cloistered, carpeted Centenary Lounge, executives were getting down to the serious business of negotiating player trades as the summer transfer window, an annual multibillion-dollar marketplace, reaches its climactic rush to fill rosters or find new or temporary homes for unwanted or untested talent before the window slams shut in a matter of weeks.

在外頭,造訪球場的遊客在陽光下的看台上嬉戲。而在迴廊深處、鋪著地毯的「百年廳」內,這些高管們正處理著在夏季轉隊期內洽談球員交易的正事。這個一年一度、金額達數十億美元的交易期,幾周後就會結束,而目前正處於活動的高峰,不論是補足球員缺額,或是為釋出或無經驗的球員找到新隊或暫時棲身之處。

With tables numbered and organized in rows, executives wielding brochures and tablets showed off their inventory in short introductory meetings that ended with the sound of a bell and the appearance of two women armed with boxing-style cards announcing the start of the next round of talks.

一排排桌子張張編有號碼,高階主管緊握著宣傳冊和平板電腦,在短暫的介紹會面中展示他們有些什麼料。鈴聲響起後會面結束,兩名女性出現,高舉拳擊場風格的看板,宣布下一輪談話開始。

The event, a novelty in the often opaque and secretive world of soccer player trading, is the brainchild of Jonas Ankersen, 33, of Denmark, who launched a player trading platform called Transfer Room two years ago.

這項活動,在通常不透明且秘密的足球員交易世界堪稱新奇,是33歲丹麥人約拿斯.安克森所發明,兩年前他創辦名叫「轉移室」的球員交易平台。

The idea was to wean clubs off the largely inefficient and long-held practice of sourcing and selling players via the closely guarded networks of agents or intermediaries, some who can take a multimillion-dollar cut in the biggest deals.

球界長久以來透過受到高度保護的經紀人或中間人網絡尋找和釋出球員,大抵而言效率欠佳,有些最大的交易,中間人甚至可以分得數百萬美元。新構想是要讓球會脫離這樣的網絡。

“I wanted to give the clubs a chance to take back control of the transfer market,” Ankersen said as snippets of negotiations started to fill the air following a break for lunch.

「我想要給這些球會一個機會,拿回交易市場的控制權。」午餐休息過後,談判四處登場之際,安克森這麼說。

To be sure, this is not the place where Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi will move from one club to another, but rather where useful, reasonably priced players change teams. The most expensive player on Ankersen’s platform is valued at around 20 million pounds, (roughly $25 million), he said.

當然,這裡不會是C羅或梅西轉隊的場所,而是有能力、身價合理的球員轉隊之處。安克森說,在他的平台上,最貴的球員身價約2000萬英鎊(約2500萬美元)。

“That’s just a little bit out of our price range,” said Mick Harford, the director of football at Luton Town, a team from just outside London that was promoted last season to the second tier Championship division. Harford spoke as he pored over a list of young players being made available for loan by Paul Konchesky, loan manager at the middling Premier League club West Ham.

「那真的有點超出我們的價格範圍。」位於倫敦郊外的魯頓足球球會主管米克.哈佛說。此隊在上一季被升到第二級別的英格蘭足球冠軍聯賽。哈佛一邊說著,一邊仔細閱讀一分可租借年輕球員的名單,這分名單是英超的中級球隊西漢姆球會租借部門經理保羅.孔切斯基所提供。

 

Despite High Hopes, Self-Driving Cars Are ‘Way in the Future’ 期待雖高 自駕車仍處於遙遠未來
文/Neal E. Boudette
譯/莊蕙嘉

期待雖高 自駕車仍處於遙遠未來

A year ago, Detroit and Silicon Valley had visions of putting thousands of self-driving taxis on the road in 2019, ushering in an age of driverless cars.

一年前,底特律和矽谷曾有2019年讓數千輛自動駕駛計程車上路的願景,要開啟無人駕駛車的時代。

Most of those cars have yet to arrive — and it is likely to be years before they do. Several carmakers and technology companies have concluded that making autonomous vehicles is going to be harder, slower and costlier than they thought.

這些車大多數還沒上路-而且很可能還要等好多年才會上路。數家汽車製造商和科技公司已作出如下結論:製造自動駕駛車將比他們以為的更困難、更緩慢且更花錢。

“We overestimated the arrival of autonomous vehicles,” Ford’s chief executive, Jim Hackett, said at the Detroit Economic Club in April.

「我們對自駕車問世的評估過於樂觀。」福特汽車執行長吉姆.哈克特今年4月在底特律經濟俱樂部這麼說。

In the most recent sign of the scramble to regroup, Ford and Volkswagen said Friday that they were teaming up to tackle the self-driving challenge.

福特和福斯周五(12日)宣布要合組團隊以迎接自駕車的挑戰。這也是業界忙著重新組合、再次出發的最新跡象。

The two automakers plan to use autonomous-vehicle technology from a Pittsburgh startup, Argo AI, in ride-sharing services in a few urban zones as early as 2021. But Argo’s chief executive, Bryan Salesky, said the industry’s bigger promise of creating driverless cars that could go anywhere was “way in the future.”

這兩家汽車製造商計畫使用匹茲堡新創公司「亞果人工智慧」的自駕車技術,最快於2021年在一些都會區提供共乘服務。但是亞果的執行長布萊恩.薩勒斯基說,這個產業更大的承諾,也就是創造可去到任何地方的自駕車,「還在遙遠的未來」。

He and others attribute the delay to something as obvious as it is stubborn: human behavior.

他和另一些人將這個延誤歸咎於顯而易見且難以應付的一項因素:人類行為。

Researchers at Argo say the cars they are testing in Pittsburgh and Miami have to navigate unexpected situations every day. Recently, one of the company’s cars encountered a bicyclist riding the wrong way down a busy street between other vehicles.

亞果研究人員說,他們在匹茲堡和邁阿密測試的車輛,每天都須經歷無法預期的狀況。最近,這家公司一輛車遇到一名自行車騎士,在一條車多的街道上逆向行駛在車輛間。

Another Argo test car came across a street sweeper that suddenly turned a giant circle in an intersection, touching all four corners and crossing lanes of traffic that had the green light.

另一輛亞果的測試車遇到一輛掃街車,在一個十字路口突如其來大轉彎,碰到四個街角,而且橫越已經轉為綠燈的車道。

“You see all kinds of crazy things on the road, and it turns out they’re not all that infrequent, but you have to be able to handle all of them,” Salesky said. “With radar and high-resolution cameras and all the computing power we have, we can detect and identify the objects on a street. The hard part is anticipating what they’re going to do next.”

「你在路上見到所有瘋狂的事,而且發現它們並非那麼不常見,但你必須有能力處理所有狀況。」薩勒斯基說。「我們擁有雷達、高解析度鏡頭和所有電算能力,可偵測並識別街道上的物體。困難的部分是預測它們下一步會做什麼。」

Salesky said Argo and many competitors had developed about 80% of the technology needed to put self-driving cars into routine use — the radar, cameras and other sensors that can identify objects far down roads and highways.

薩勒斯基說,自駕車進入日常使用所需技術,亞果和許多競爭對手約已開發成功80%-雷達、攝影鏡頭及其他可在一般道路和高速公路識別遠方物體的感應器。

But the remaining 20%, including developing software that can reliably anticipate what other drivers, pedestrians and cyclists are going to do, will be much more difficult, he said.

但是剩下的20%,包括開發能夠可靠預測其他駕駛人、行人和自行車騎士下一步行動的軟體,會難得多。

A year ago, many industry executives exuded much greater certainty. They thought that their engineers had solved the most vexing technical problems and promised that self-driving cars would be shuttling people around town in at least several cities by sometime this year.

一年前,許多業界高管還展現出遠比當下更有把握的態度。當時他們認為,他們的工程師已解決最困難的技術問題,且承諾自駕車今年之內,至少可在幾個城市輸運民眾。

說文解字看新聞

結合汽車製造與最新科技的自動駕駛車是近年焦點。本文在前三段就使用了自駕車常見的三個英文同義詞:autonomous/self-driving/driverless cars,autonomous意為maneuvered by computers without human intervention,字首的auto即有「自動」之意。

Sensors, GPS and high-resolution cameras都是自駕車的基本技術,這些配備由汽車電腦指揮控制,將捕捉的數據和影像轉換成行車所需資訊。

不過文中也提到,開發挑戰在於人為因素。即使設備可以識別出行人、其他駕駛或自行車騎士,但難以預期他們的行為,也可說是unpredictable。換句話說,It is difficult to determine the intentions of pedestrians, cyclists or other drivers.

包括福斯、福特、Google、Uber在內的諸多汽車及科技業者都在研發自駕車技術,但道路測試時仍須有人坐在駕駛座緊急應變。

 

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