[译文]抱歉,别做速读梦了

Sorry, You Can’t Speed Read
抱歉,你无法速读

作者:Jeffrey M. Zacks, Rebecca Treiman @ 2016-4-15
译者:焦美淳(@火车入巷)
校对:Drunkplane (@Drunkplane-zny)
来源:纽约时报,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/opinion/sunday/sorry-you-cant-speed-read.html

OUR favorite Woody Allen joke is the one about taking a speed-reading course. “I read ‘War and Peace’ in 20 minutes,” he says. “It’s about Russia.”

关于速读,伍迪艾伦讲过一个我们非常喜欢的笑话:“我20分钟就看完了《战争与和平》,”他说,“讲苏联的。”

The promise of speed reading — to absorb text several times faster than normal, without any significant loss of comprehension — can indeed seem too good to be true. Nonetheless, it has long been an aspiration for many readers, as well as the entrepreneurs seeking to serve them. And as the production rate for new reading matter has increased, and people read on a growing array of devices, the lure of speed reading has only grown stronger.

速读的美好愿望——即在不错失原文主旨的情况下,以几倍于寻常的速度理解文章内容——看起来并不易达成。然而,对很多读者来说,这确是梦寐已久的美事,一些企业家也一直试图在这方面为读者提供一些服务。由于读物的出版速度越来越快,并且阅读设备越来越多,速读的诱惑力只增不减。

The first popular speed-reading course, introduced in 1959 by Evelyn Wood, was predicated on the idea that reading was slow because it was inefficient. The course focused on teaching people to make fewer back-and-forth eye movements across the page, taking in more information with each glance. Today, apps like SpeedRead With Spritz aim to minimize eye movement even further by having a digital device present you with a stream of single words one after the other at a rapid rate.

第一个著名的速读课程在1959年由伊芙琳伍德所创建。它基于这一概念——阅读之所以缓慢是因为其效率低下。这个课程着眼于教导人们阅读书页时,眼睛尽可能少的左右往返运动,而要让眼睛每扫过一次都获取更多的信息。如今,像SpeedRead With Spritz这样的app,甚至通过在电子设备上快速滚动一个个的单词,来减少眼球的活动。

Unfortunately, the scientific consensus suggests that such enterprises should be viewed with suspicion. In a recent article in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, one of us (Professor Treiman) and colleagues reviewed the empirical literature on reading and concluded that it’s extremely unlikely you can greatly improve your reading speed without missing out on a lot of meaning.

遗憾的是,科学共识显示,我们须抱有怀疑的眼光来看待这番速读事业。在一篇最近发表于《大众心理学期刊》的文章中,Treiman教授和她的同事回顾了有关阅读的实证文献,并得出一个结论:在不大量错失文章原意的情况下,你基本不可能显著地提高阅读速度。

Certainly, readers are capable of rapidly scanning a text to find a specific word or piece of information, or to pick up a general idea of what the text is about. But this is skimming, not reading. We can definitely skim, and it may be that speed-reading systems help people skim better.

当然,阅读者确实能够通过迅速地扫视,从一段文本中提取到特定词语或者信息片段,亦或摘取出这段文字的中心思想。但这是浏览,不是阅读。我们肯定可以做到浏览,或许速读体系有助于促进浏览的效果。

Some speed-reading systems, for example, instruct people to focus only on the beginnings of paragraphs and chapters. This is probably a good skimming strategy. Participants in a 2009 experiment read essays that had half the words covered up — either the beginning of the essay, the end of the essay, or the beginning or end of each individual paragraph. Reading half-paragraphs led to better performance on a test of memory for the passage’s meaning than did reading only the first or second half of the text, and it worked as well as skimming under time pressure.

举例而言,一些速读系统指导人们只在文段或者章节的开端加以关注。这或许是一个很好的浏览策略。在2009年的一个实验中,参与者阅读盖住一半内容的文章——或前半篇,或后半篇,或每段的开头或结尾。阅读每个段落的一半,相比于阅读前半或后半篇文章,对全文意思的记忆效果更好。并且,其效果等同于在时间紧张情况下的浏览。

But speed reading? Techniques that aim to guide eye movements so that we can take in more information from each glance seem doomed to fail. There is only a small area in the retina (called the fovea) for which our visual acuity is very high. Our eyes are seriously limited in their precision outside of that. This means that we can take in only a word or so at each glance, as well as a little bit about the words on either side. In fact, since the 1960s, experiments have repeatedly confirmed that when people “speed read,” they simply do not comprehend the parts of the text that their eyes skip over.

但有速读这回事吗?一些技巧旨在指导我们眼球的活动,以便眼睛一瞥就能获得更多的信息,但它们似乎注定失败。只有在视网膜上很小的一块区域(称作中央凹),我们的视觉敏锐度才非常高。而除了它之外,我们的眼睛在精确度上非常受限。这就意味着我们每次只能看清一个词,顶多再看到它旁边个把词。事实上,自从1960年代起,很多实验都验证了当人们“速读”的时候,他们并不理解他们眼睛扫视过的那部分内容。

A deeper problem, however — and the one that also threatens the new speed-reading apps — is that the big bottleneck in reading isn’t perception (seeing the words) but language processing (assembling strings of words into meanings). Have you ever tried listening to an audio recording with the speaking rate dialed way up? Doubling the speed, in our experience, leaves individual words perfectly identifiable — but makes it just about impossible to follow the meaning. The same phenomenon occurs with written text.

然而我们还有一个更深层次的问题——这个问题也威胁着那些新兴的速读软件——阅读中最大的瓶颈并不是感知(看到词语),而是语言处理(组合词语使其有意义)。你是否尝试过以极快的速度听录音?在我们的经验里,录音速度被增加一倍后,每一个单词都可以听清,但我们却恰恰跟不上它的意思。这种现象也同样出现在阅读纸质内容时。

As in all forms of human behavior, there is a trade-off, in reading, between speed and accuracy. You can learn to skim strategically so that you spend more time looking where the more important words are likely to be, and if the words are presented in a stream you may be able to learn which words to focus on and which to ignore. However, that does not mean that you can somehow magically read parts of a page that you don’t look at, or process all the words in a superfast sequence.

在各种人类行为中,总有取舍。阅读时,取舍就体现在速度和准确度上。你可以学习策略性地浏览,以便在可能出现更重要词语的地方花费更多时间。如果词语在眼前滚动,你能够知道哪些词需要重视,哪些词可以忽略。然而,这并不意味着你可以不看某一页的部分内容,就神奇地阅读了它;也不意味着你能以极快的速度处理所有的词。

Reading is about language comprehension, not visual ability. If you want to improve your reading speed, your best bet — as old-fashioned as it sounds — is to read a wide variety of written material and to expand your vocabulary.

阅读关乎语言的理解,而不是视觉能力。如果你想提高你的阅读速度,你最好的方法——这听起来有点老掉牙——是阅读大量文字资料并且扩充你的词汇库。

Just don’t expect to read “War and Peace” in 20 minutes.

真的别指望在20分钟里读完《战争与和平》。

Jeffrey M. Zacks, the author of “Flicker: Your Brain on Movies,” and Rebecca Treiman are professors of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis.

Jeffrey M. Zacks(著有《闪光:看电影的大脑》(Flicker:You Brain on Movies))和Rebecca Treiman,皆为圣路易斯华盛顿大学心理和大脑科学教授。

(编辑:辉格@whigzhou)

*注:本译文未经原作者授权,本站对原文不持有也不主张任何权利,如果你恰好对原文拥有权益并希望我们移除相关内容,请私信联系,我们会立即作出响应。

——海德沙龙·翻译组,致力于将英文世界的好文章搬进中文世界——

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Sorry, You Can’t Speed Read 抱歉,你无法速读 作者:Jeffrey M. Zacks, Rebecca Treiman @ 2016-4-15 译者:焦美淳(@火车入巷) 校对:Drunkplane (@Drunkplane-zny) 来源:纽约时报,http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/opinion/sunday/sorry-you-cant-speed-read.html OUR favorite Woody Allen joke is the one about taking a speed-reading course. “I read ‘War and Peace’ in 20 minutes,” he says. “It’s about Russia.” 关于速读,伍迪艾伦讲过一个我们非常喜欢的笑话:“我20分钟就看完了《战争与和平》,”他说,“讲苏联的。” The promise of speed reading — to absorb text several times faster than normal, without any significant loss of comprehension — can indeed seem too good to be true. Nonetheless, it has long been an aspiration for many readers, as well as the entrepreneurs seeking to serve them. And as the production rate for new reading matter has increased, and people read on a growing array of devices, the lure of speed reading has only grown stronger. 速读的美好愿望——即在不错失原文主旨的情况下,以几倍于寻常的速度理解文章内容——看起来并不易达成。然而,对很多读者来说,这确是梦寐已久的美事,一些企业家也一直试图在这方面为读者提供一些服务。由于读物的出版速度越来越快,并且阅读设备越来越多,速读的诱惑力只增不减。 The first popular speed-reading course, introduced in 1959 by Evelyn Wood, was predicated on the idea that reading was slow because it was inefficient. The course focused on teaching people to make fewer back-and-forth eye movements across the page, taking in more information with each glance. Today, apps like SpeedRead With Spritz aim to minimize eye movement even further by having a digital device present you with a stream of single words one after the other at a rapid rate. 第一个著名的速读课程在1959年由伊芙琳伍德所创建。它基于这一概念——阅读之所以缓慢是因为其效率低下。这个课程着眼于教导人们阅读书页时,眼睛尽可能少的左右往返运动,而要让眼睛每扫过一次都获取更多的信息。如今,像SpeedRead With Spritz这样的app,甚至通过在电子设备上快速滚动一个个的单词,来减少眼球的活动。 Unfortunately, the scientific consensus suggests that such enterprises should be viewed with suspicion. In a recent article in Psychological Science in the Public Interest, one of us (Professor Treiman) and colleagues reviewed the empirical literature on reading and concluded that it’s extremely unlikely you can greatly improve your reading speed without missing out on a lot of meaning. 遗憾的是,科学共识显示,我们须抱有怀疑的眼光来看待这番速读事业。在一篇最近发表于《大众心理学期刊》的文章中,Treiman教授和她的同事回顾了有关阅读的实证文献,并得出一个结论:在不大量错失文章原意的情况下,你基本不可能显著地提高阅读速度。 Certainly, readers are capable of rapidly scanning a text to find a specific word or piece of information, or to pick up a general idea of what the text is about. But this is skimming, not reading. We can definitely skim, and it may be that speed-reading systems help people skim better. 当然,阅读者确实能够通过迅速地扫视,从一段文本中提取到特定词语或者信息片段,亦或摘取出这段文字的中心思想。但这是浏览,不是阅读。我们肯定可以做到浏览,或许速读体系有助于促进浏览的效果。 Some speed-reading systems, for example, instruct people to focus only on the beginnings of paragraphs and chapters. This is probably a good skimming strategy. Participants in a 2009 experiment read essays that had half the words covered up — either the beginning of the essay, the end of the essay, or the beginning or end of each individual paragraph. Reading half-paragraphs led to better performance on a test of memory for the passage’s meaning than did reading only the first or second half of the text, and it worked as well as skimming under time pressure. 举例而言,一些速读系统指导人们只在文段或者章节的开端加以关注。这或许是一个很好的浏览策略。在2009年的一个实验中,参与者阅读盖住一半内容的文章——或前半篇,或后半篇,或每段的开头或结尾。阅读每个段落的一半,相比于阅读前半或后半篇文章,对全文意思的记忆效果更好。并且,其效果等同于在时间紧张情况下的浏览。 But speed reading? Techniques that aim to guide eye movements so that we can take in more information from each glance seem doomed to fail. There is only a small area in the retina (called the fovea) for which our visual acuity is very high. Our eyes are seriously limited in their precision outside of that. This means that we can take in only a word or so at each glance, as well as a little bit about the words on either side. In fact, since the 1960s, experiments have repeatedly confirmed that when people “speed read,” they simply do not comprehend the parts of the text that their eyes skip over. 但有速读这回事吗?一些技巧旨在指导我们眼球的活动,以便眼睛一瞥就能获得更多的信息,但它们似乎注定失败。只有在视网膜上很小的一块区域(称作中央凹),我们的视觉敏锐度才非常高。而除了它之外,我们的眼睛在精确度上非常受限。这就意味着我们每次只能看清一个词,顶多再看到它旁边个把词。事实上,自从1960年代起,很多实验都验证了当人们“速读”的时候,他们并不理解他们眼睛扫视过的那部分内容。 A deeper problem, however — and the one that also threatens the new speed-reading apps — is that the big bottleneck in reading isn’t perception (seeing the words) but language processing (assembling strings of words into meanings). Have you ever tried listening to an audio recording with the speaking rate dialed way up? Doubling the speed, in our experience, leaves individual words perfectly identifiable — but makes it just about impossible to follow the meaning. The same phenomenon occurs with written text. 然而我们还有一个更深层次的问题——这个问题也威胁着那些新兴的速读软件——阅读中最大的瓶颈并不是感知(看到词语),而是语言处理(组合词语使其有意义)。你是否尝试过以极快的速度听录音?在我们的经验里,录音速度被增加一倍后,每一个单词都可以听清,但我们却恰恰跟不上它的意思。这种现象也同样出现在阅读纸质内容时。 As in all forms of human behavior, there is a trade-off, in reading, between speed and accuracy. You can learn to skim strategically so that you spend more time looking where the more important words are likely to be, and if the words are presented in a stream you may be able to learn which words to focus on and which to ignore. However, that does not mean that you can somehow magically read parts of a page that you don’t look at, or process all the words in a superfast sequence. 在各种人类行为中,总有取舍。阅读时,取舍就体现在速度和准确度上。你可以学习策略性地浏览,以便在可能出现更重要词语的地方花费更多时间。如果词语在眼前滚动,你能够知道哪些词需要重视,哪些词可以忽略。然而,这并不意味着你可以不看某一页的部分内容,就神奇地阅读了它;也不意味着你能以极快的速度处理所有的词。 Reading is about language comprehension, not visual ability. If you want to improve your reading speed, your best bet — as old-fashioned as it sounds — is to read a wide variety of written material and to expand your vocabulary. 阅读关乎语言的理解,而不是视觉能力。如果你想提高你的阅读速度,你最好的方法——这听起来有点老掉牙——是阅读大量文字资料并且扩充你的词汇库。 Just don’t expect to read “War and Peace” in 20 minutes. 真的别指望在20分钟里读完《战争与和平》。 Jeffrey M. Zacks, the author of “Flicker: Your Brain on Movies,” and Rebecca Treiman are professors of psychological and brain sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. Jeffrey M. Zacks(著有《闪光:看电影的大脑》(Flicker:You Brain on Movies))和Rebecca Treiman,皆为圣路易斯华盛顿大学心理和大脑科学教授。 (编辑:辉格@whigzhou) *注:本译文未经原作者授权,本站对原文不持有也不主张任何权利,如果你恰好对原文拥有权益并希望我们移除相关内容,请私信联系,我们会立即作出响应。

——海德沙龙·翻译组,致力于将英文世界的好文章搬进中文世界——



已有1条评论

  1. Andy @ 2017-08-20, 22:05

    曾经尝试过一段时间速度,最后无疾而终。近几年也慢慢意识到速读可能只是一种迷思。这篇文章解决我的这一疑惑。

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