成功的移民企业家在美国不说英语

原文来自纽约时报

More than 40 years after arriving in New York from Mexico uneducated and broke, Felix Sanchez de la Vega Guzman still can barely speak English. Ask him a question, and he will respond with a few halting phrases and an apologetic smile before shifting back to the comfort of Spanish.
四十多年前,没有受过什么教育、身无分文的Felix Sanchez de la Vega Guzman从墨西哥来到了纽约;四十年后,他仍然几乎不能说英语。问他一个问题时,他总是用几个不连贯的英语短语来我回答我,面露抱歉的微笑,然后又换回让他觉得舒适自如的西班牙语。

Yet Mr. Sanchez has lived the great American success story. He turned a business selling tortillas on the street into a $19 million food manufacturing empire that threaded together theMexican diaspora from coast to coast and reached back into Mexico itself.
然而,Sanchez在美国书写了自己的成功传奇。他把走街串巷卖玉米粉圆饼的小生意变成了价值一千九百万的食品制造业巨头。他不仅把玉米粉圆饼卖给了全美的墨西哥人,也卖回了他的祖国-墨西哥。

Mr. Sanchez is part of a small class of immigrants who arrived in the United States with nothing and, despite speaking little or no English, became remarkably prosperous. And while generations of immigrants have thrived despite language barriers, technology, these days, has made it easier for such entrepreneurs to attain considerable affluence.
Sanchez先生是那类初来美国时说很少或者几乎不会说英语、白手起家但获得显著成功的那一类型的少部分移民。尽管有语言障碍,一代代的移民在美国成功立业;现在,科技让移民创业者们在美国赚取大量财富更容易些。

Many have rooted their businesses in big cities with immigrant populations large enough to insulate them from everyday situations that demand English. After gaining traction in their own communities, they have used the tools of modern communication, transportation and commerce to tap far-flung resources and exploit markets in similar enclaves around the country and the world.
不少移民在美国的大城市站住了脚。这些大城市里,来自相同国家的移民人口如此之多,人们每天根本不需要用英语。他们还在社区圈子的带动下,使用现代交通、运输和商业的工具来挖掘广泛的信息资源,并在美国和全世界范围内的同民族聚居地开发市场。

“The entire market is Hispanic,” Mr. Sanchez said of his business. “You don’t need English.” A deal, he said, is only a cheap long-distance phone call or a few key strokes on the computer away. “All in Spanish,” he added.
Sanchez先生谈到自己的业务时说:“我们的客户都是说西班牙语活着葡萄牙语国家的人!不需要英语!”他说打一个便宜的长途电话或者在电脑上敲下键盘,一笔生意就做成了。他补充道“都是用的西班牙语。”

Mr. Sanchez, 66, said he always wanted to learn English but had not had time for lessons.
Sanchez先生已经66岁了。他说他想学英语,但是总是没有时间去上课。

“I couldn’t concentrate,” he said in a recent interview, in Spanish. “In addition, all the people around me were speaking in Spanish, too.”
他在最近的一次采访中用西班牙语说到“我不能集中精力学习。而且,我周围的人都是讲西班牙语。”

In New York City, successful non-English-speaking entrepreneurs like Mr. Sanchez have emerged from the largest immigrant populations, including those from China, South Korea and Spanish-speaking countries.
在纽约,像Sanchez先生一样不讲英语的成功企业家都是从美国最大的移民人口中崛起的,包括来自中国、韩国和西班牙语的国家的移民。

Among them is Zhang Yulong, 39, who emigrated from China in 1994 and now presides over a $30-million-a-year cellphone accessories empire in New York with 45 employees.
其中有一个39岁的Zhang Yulong,1994年从中国移居美国。现在他在纽约有价值3千万美元的手机配件产业,并且雇了45个员工。

Kim Ki Chol, 59, who arrived in the United States from South Korea in 1981, opened a clothing accessories store in Brooklyn and went on to become a successful retailer, real estate investor and civic leader in the region’s Korean diaspora.
59岁的Kim Ki Chol在1981年从韩国来到美国,在Brooklyn开了一家店卖服装辅料。他不停努力, 现在是Brooklyn韩裔聚居区的成功的零售商、房地产投资商以及市政府领导人。

In the United States in 2010, 4.5 million income-earning adults who were heads of households spoke English “not well” or “not at all,” according to the Census Bureau; of those, about 35,500 had household incomes of more than $200,000 a year.
根据人口调查局的统计,在2010年,美国有450万有收入的成年人是家庭用品行业的老板。他们英语说得不太好,甚至有人是一点也不会;其中的35500人家庭年收入在20万美元以上。

Nancy Foner, a sociology professor at the City University of New York who has written widely on immigration, said it was clear that modern technology had made a big difference in the ability of immigrant entrepreneurs with poor or no English skills to expand their companies nationally and globally.
Nancy Foner是纽约市立大学的社会学教授。她写了大量的有关移民的文章,并指出:很明显,现代技术让英语糟糕、甚至不会说英语的移民创业者们能够在全美范围甚至全球范围内扩大公司规模。

“It wasn’t impossible — but much, much harder — for immigrants to operate businesses around the globe a hundred years ago, when there were no jet planes, to say nothing of cellphones and computers,” Ms. Foner said.
Foner说:“这不是不可能的。但是一个世纪前,移民做生意要困难得多。那时没有飞机,更别说手机和电脑了。”

Advocates for the movement sometimes known as Official English have long pressed for legislation mandating English as the official language of government, arguing that a common language is essential for the country’s cohesion and for immigrant assimilation and success.
长期以来,官方英语运动的拥护者们要求用立法的方式把英语定为官方语言。他们认为通用一种语言对一个国家的凝聚力、移民的同化和成功至关重要。

But stories like Mr. Sanchez’s, though certainly unusual, seem to suggest that an entrepreneur can do just fine without English — especially with the aid of modern technology, not to mention determination and ingenuity.
Sanchez先生的成功故事虽然不是很常见,但也表明了一个不会说英语的创业者在美国也能做的很好,尤其是有了现代科学技术的帮助。(抛开决心和聪明才智等个人因素)

For Mr. Sanchez, who became an American citizen in 1985, one anxious moment came when he had to pass his naturalization test. The law requires that applicants be able to read, write and speak basic English.
在1985年的一个紧张时刻,Sanchez 先生变成了美国公民。他必须得通过入籍考试因为法律要求申请者基本的英语读、写和说的能力。

But Mr. Sanchez and other entrepreneurs said that the test, at least at the time they took it, had been rudimentary and that they had muddled through it.
Sanchez先生和其他企业家们都说入籍考试,至少是他们参加的考试,都是非常初级的知识。他们很容易就混过去了。

Mr. Sanchez immigrated to the United States in 1970 from the Mexican state of Puebla with only a fifth-grade education. He held a series of low-paying jobs in New York, including washing dishes in a Midtown restaurant. The Mexican population in the New York region was small back then, but it soon began growing, as did the demand for authentic Mexican products.
Sanchez先生只上到小学五年级,在1970年从普埃布拉市的墨西哥州移居到美国。在纽约,他做了一系列很廉价的工作:曾经在Midtown餐馆当过洗碗工。那时,纽约的墨西哥人还不多,但不久就开始增加,随之而来的是他们对原汁原味的墨西哥产品日益增长的需求。

In 1978, Mr. Sanchez and his wife, Carmen, took $12,000 in savings, bought a tortilla press and an industrial dough mixer in Los Angeles, hauled the machinery back to the East Coast and installed it in a warehouse in Passaic, N.J. Mr. Sanchez spent his days driving a forklift at an electrical-equipment factory and spent his evenings and nights making tortillas and selling them door-to-door in Latino neighborhoods around New York City.
1978年,Sanchez先生和他的太太Carmen带上他们的存款12000美圆,去洛杉矶买了一台玉米粉圆饼压榨机和一台工业揉面机,并把机器拖回东海岸,然后放在纽约Passaic的一个库房里。Sanchez白天开着铲车去一家电器设备工厂,晚上和夜里做玉米粉圆饼,并去纽约市的拉丁美裔社区挨家挨户上门销售。

His company, Puebla Foods, grew with the Mexican population, and he was soon distributing his tortillas and other Mexican products, like dried chilies, to bodegas and restaurants throughout the Northeast. At its peak, his enterprise had factories in cities all across North America, including Los Angeles, Miami, Pittsburgh, Toronto and Washington. It has since been buffeted by competition and by the economy, and he has scaled back.
随着美国墨西哥移民人口的增加,他的公司Puebla Foods也在壮大。不久,他把玉米粉圆饼和干辣椒等墨西哥产品配售给美国东北部的酒店和饭店。他的公司在鼎盛时期时的工厂遍及北美,包括洛杉矶、迈阿密、匹茨堡、多伦多、华盛顿。但因为行业竞争和经济形势的影响,他已经缩减了公司的规模。

He has relied heavily on a bilingual staff, which at times has included his three children, born and raised in New Jersey.
他倚重双语员工维持公司的日常运营,其中包括他的三个孩子。他们出生在新泽西并在那里长大。

Mr. Zhang, the cellphone accessories entrepreneur, said his lack of English had not been a handicap. “The only obstacle I have is if I get too tired,” said Mr. Zhang, who also owns a property development company and an online retail firm.
张先生是经营手机配件的企业家。他还有一个房地产公司和一个在线零售公司。他说英语能力的缺乏没有什么妨碍。“如果我觉得太累,这才是对我事业的阻碍。”

In 2001, Mr. Zhang set up a wholesale business in cellphone accessories in Manhattan. He then raised money from relatives and investors in China to open a manufacturing plant there to make leather cellphone cases for export to the United States, Canada and Latin America.
2001年,张先生在曼哈顿开始了自己的手机配件批发业务。随后,他在中国从亲戚和投资商那里筹集了一些钱,开了一个加工厂生产皮革手机贷,并出口到美国、加拿大和拉丁美洲。

His business boomed, and he opened warehouses in Los Angeles, New York City and Washington, controlling his international manufacturing, supply and retail chain from his base in New York.
他的业务蓬勃发展起来了。他随后在旧金山、纽约和华盛顿都建了仓库,并坐镇纽约监管这一国际化的制造、供应和零售产业链。

Mr. Zhang now lives in a big house in Little Neck, Queens, with his wife, three daughters and parents, and drives a Lexus S.U.V. He has not applied for citizenship, preferring to remain a legal permanent resident and maintain his Chinese citizenship, which spares him the bother of securing a Chinese visa when he goes to China for business.
张先生和他的太太、三个女儿还有父母住着Queens的Little Neck的大房子,开着雷克萨斯SUV车。他没有申请美国国籍。他是美国的合法性永久居民,并依然保留中国国籍-他很喜欢这样的状态;这样就免去了他回中国处理业务时办签证的麻烦。

While he can speak rudimentary English — he rates his comprehension at 30 percent — he conducts nearly his entire life in Chinese. His employees speak the languages of trading partners: English, Spanish, Creole, Korean and French, not to mention multiple Chinese dialects.
他只能说很初级的英语。他认为自己对英语的理解力只有30%的水平。他的生活中几乎全部都用的是汉语。他的员工们说着贸易伙伴国的语言同那里的客户交流:英语、西班牙语、克里奥尔语,韩语和法语,更不必说中国的各种方言了。

Over the course of a lengthy interview, he gamely tried on several occasions to converse in English, but each time he ran into roadblocks and, with a shrug of resignation, resumed speaking through a translator in Mandarin.
在我漫长的采访过程中,有好几次他勇敢的试着和我讲英语,但每次他都说不下去了,然后耸耸肩表示放弃,继续通过一个翻译和我讲汉语。

Mr. Kim, the Korean retailer, recalled that when he opened his first store in Brooklyn, nearly his entire clientele was Afro-Caribbean and African-American, and his customers spoke no Korean.
Kim先生是韩裔零售商。他回忆说他在Brooklyn开第一家店的时候,他所有的客户都是加勒比黑裔和非裔美国人。他们都不讲韩语。

“You don’t have to have a big conversation,” he recalled. “You can make gestures.”
他说:“没必要聊很多。打手势就可以了。”

While his holdings have grown, he has also formed or led associations and organizations that focus on empowering the Korean population in the United States. As in business, modern communication has made it much easier for him to raise his profile throughout the Korean diaspora well beyond New York.
随着他的公司财富的增加,他组织、领导了一些协会和团体,为在美国的韩裔移民争取更多的自主权利。现在通信技术让他更轻易的在纽约范围之外的韩裔人中提高自己的知名度。

“The success of my life is not only that I make a lot of money,” he said, “but that I make a lot of Korean people’s lives better.”
他说: “我的成功不仅仅在于我挣了很多钱,更在于我让韩裔人在美国生活得更美好。”

Yet he admitted that he was embarrassed by his inability to speak English. He has gone so far as to buy some English-tutorial computer programs, but for years, they have gone mostly unused.
但是他也承认自己不能说英语是一件很尴尬的事情。他已经买了一些英语学习的电脑程序;但是这些年里,那些程序他大都没有碰过。

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2 Responses to 成功的移民企业家在美国不说英语

  1. noch says:

    this situation creates also social and family problems for 2nd, 3rd and now 4th generation immigrants, as they can’t understand their own parents… since they probably speak fluent english in comparison

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