Interpreting Speech #11 – Issues in the American Education System (English-into-Mandarin)


You have been called to interpret at an international conference in Washington D.C. The theme of the conference is “New Approaches to Education Reform”.


Listen to Speech

Interpreting Speech #10 – Issues in the American Education System (English-into-Mandarin)

Transcript and reference translation

Ladies and gentlemen. Today I would like to discuss some facts about the American education system that you may find alarming. From overcrowded schools to lack of parental involvement, there are many problems to be dealt with. 女士们先生们,今天我想谈一谈有关美国教育体系一些令人警觉的事实。从人满为患的学校到家长参与的缺失,美国教育体系有许多问题亟待解决。

According to the OECD, the performance of American students is mediocre when compared to students from other countries. American students perform about average in reading and science, and below average in math. 据经济合作与发展组织的数据表明,和其他国家的学生相比,美国学生的表现平平。美国学生在阅读和科学方面的表现处于平均水平,而在数学方面的表现则低于平均水平。

Some of the top performers are Hong Kong, Australia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea, Finland, Shanghai in China, Singapore and Canada. Out of 34 countries, the U.S. ranked 14th in reading, 17th in science and 25th in math. 其中表现最好的学生来自香港、澳大利亚、日本、新西兰、韩国、芬兰、中国上海、新加坡和加拿大。在34个国家中,美国学生的表现在阅读上排名第14位,科学上排名第17位,数学上排名第25位。

I hope you agree with me that these statistics are concerning. They indicate some issues specific to the American education system. 我认为这些数据令人担忧,希望你们也能赞同我的说法。这些数据表明美国的教育体制的确存在一些特有的问题。

First let’s consider how many days of the year students attend school. On average, American students spend 179 days per year in school. This is much fewer than Korea at 225, Japan at 223 and China at 221. 首先,我们来看看学生每年的上课天数。平均来说,美国学生每年上课天数为179天。这一数字远少于韩国学生的225天,日本学生的223天和中国学生的221天。

But how long are school days in places like Korea, China and England? It is not uncommon for Korean high school students to spend 16 hours each day at school. Is this too extreme? 那么在韩国、中国和英国等国家,学生每天要上多少小时的课呢?对韩国中学生而言,每天上16小时的课并不稀奇。这会不会太多了?

I should point out that Korean students consistently rank higher than us, especially in math and science. In 2009, Barrack Obama stated that the US is at a competitive disadvantage because our students do not spend enough time at school. 我要指出的是韩国学生在排名上一直都比美国学生高,尤其是在数学和科学方面。2009年,美国总统奥巴马表示,美国处于竞争劣势,因为美国学生上学的时间不够多。

Of course, not everyone agrees with him. Many parents believe their children are already under too much pressure at school and need every single day off they are given. So it seems to me more debate is needed on this issue. 当然,不是每个人都同意他的说法。许多家长认为他们的孩子在学校已承受了过多的压力,所以孩子们需要现有的每个假日。因此,我觉得在这一议题上还需要更多的探讨。

Second there is our perception of teachers. Americans do not generally have much respect for teachers. Issues like the economy, job creation and terrorism are usually considered more important than education. 第二是我们对于老师的看法。美国人总体上对老师尊重不足。经济、创造岗位、恐怖主义等议题通常被视为比教育更重要。

However, I believe improving our education system would better help us address these issues. A recent study conducted by the OECD suggests that, if the U.S. could boost its testing scores by 25 points over the next 20 years, it would gain $41 trillion for the U.S. economy. 然而,我认为改善教育体系有助于解决以上问题。经合发展组织最近的一项研究表明,如果美国学生的考试分数能在接下来的20年里提高25分,那么就能为美国经济带来41万亿美元的收益。

You could argue that our lack of respect for teachers is the nation’s number one enemy of education. After all, in countries which perform well in education such as Finland, Singapore and Canada, teachers are highly valued. 你可能会说缺乏对教师的尊重是美国教育的首要敌人。毕竟,在芬兰、新加坡和加拿大等教育表现良好的国家,教师受到高度重视。

Third is our lack of focus on arts education. An estimated six million children have no access to arts education, and another six million have a “minimal” exposure. Some public schools in New York City, for example, do not have any arts teachers. 第三点是我们对于文科教育缺乏关注。据统计,600万儿童无法获得文科教育,另有600万儿童只能获得“微乎其微”的文科教育。举个例子,纽约有些公立学校就没有文科老师。

The arts may not be considered as important as math and science, but they are still very useful for student engagement and learning. Studies show that students who learn arts score higher in other subjects and are less likely to skip school. 人们可能会认为文科不如数学和科学这样的学科重要,但是文科对学生的参与度和学习十分有用。研究表明,文科生在其他科目上得分更高,并且较少翘课。

To wrap up, in my view the American education system is in need of serious reform. I hope the issues I have raised today can provide some food for thought. Thank you. 总而言之,我认为美国的教育体系亟需重大改革。我希望今天提出的几点能为大家在思索美国教育体系问题上有所启迪。谢谢大家。


Material adapted from this article.

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