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  文章1

  案例研究:新西兰旅游网站

  Case Study: Tourism New Zealand website

  New Zealand is a small country of four million inhabitants, a long-haul flight from all the major tourist-generating markets of the world. Tourism currently makes up 9% of the country’s gross domestic product, and is the country’s largest export sector. Unlike other export sectors, which make products and then sell them overseas, tourism brings its customers to New Zealand. The product is the country itself - the people, the places and the experiences. In 1999, Tourism New Zealand launched a campaign to communicate a new brand position to the world. The campaign focused on New Zealand’s scenic beauty, exhilarating outdoor activities and authentic Maori culture, and it made New Zealand one of the strongest national brands in the world.

  新西兰是一个有着400万居民的小国家,离世界上所有的大型游客聚集市场都需要经历一场长途航班。旅游业目前占这个国家国民生产总值的百分之九,是其最大的出口行业。与其他行业不同的是,其他行业是要制作产品再将其销售到海外,而旅游业会将顾客带到新西兰来。产品就是这个国家本身——其人民、地点和身处其中的体验。在1999年,新西兰旅游局向全世界推出了一场大型宣传活动,营造出一个全新的品牌地位。这场宣传集中展示了新西兰优美的风景、激动人心的户外项目和本土真正的的毛利文化,它将新西兰塑造成世界上最强有力的国家品牌之一。

  A key feature of the campaign was the website www.newzealand.com, which provided potential visitors to New Zealand with a single gateway to everything the destination had to offer. The heart of the website was a database of tourism services operators, both those based in New Zealand and those based abroad which offered tourism services to the country. Any tourism-related business could be listed by filling in a simple form. This meant that even the smallest bed and breakfast address or specialist activity provider could gain a web presence with access to an audience of long-haul visitors. In addition, because participating businesses were able to update the details they gave on a regular basis, the information provided remained accurate. And to maintain and improve standards, Tourism New Zealand organised a scheme whereby organisations appearing on the website underwent an independent evaluation against a set of agreed national standards of quality. As part of this, the effect of each business on the environment was considered.

  这场宣传活动中的一个关键特色就是“新西兰旅游”这个网站,它为未来有可能前往新西兰的游客提供了一个入口,在这里可以找到新西兰所能提供的一切。此网站的核心内容在于一个由各路旅游服务经营者信息所组成的数据库,其中既有位于新西兰本土的商家,也有驻扎海外的提供前往此国旅游服务的公司。任何与旅游相关的经营者都可以通过填写一张简单的表格而获准加入。这就意味着:即使是最小型的住宿地和早餐店或特色活动的提供者都能在此网站上获得一席之地,从而接触到所有打算远道而来的游客。此外,由于参与的商家可以定期更新自己放上去的各种信息,网站的信息就能始终保持准确。并且为了维持并提高水准,新西兰旅游局还安排了一个这样的方案:展示在网站上的所有商家都要按照一套通过决议的国家质量标准来接受一场独立评估。其中,每个企业对于环境产生的影响都要受到考量。

  To communicate the New Zealand experience, the site also carried features relating to famous people and places. One of the most popular was an interview with former New Zealand All Blacks rugby captain Tana Umaga. Another feature that attracted a lot of attention was an interactive journey through a number of the locations chosen for blockbuster films which had made use of New Zealand’s stunning scenery as a backdrop. As the site developed, additional features were added to help independent travellers devise their own customised itineraries. To make it easier to plan motoring holidays, the site catalogued the most popular driving routes in the country, highlighting different routes according to the season and indicating distances and times.

  为了充分传播这场经历,该网站还有一些与名人和知名地点有关的特色介绍。其中最受欢迎的内容之一是对新西兰全黑橄榄球队前队长Tana Umaga的采访。另外一个吸引了大量关注的特色是一场互动式旅程,穿过一些将新西兰令人目瞪口呆的风景选做背景的电影大片中曾经出现过的地点。随着网站的发展,又有一些额外特色被加进来来帮助自助型游客通过这个规划属于自己的特色行程。为了帮助用户更简单规划自驾行假期,网站还根据季节变化分类整理出了这个国家最受欢迎的多条驾车路线,并且标注了距离和时间。

  Later, a Travel Planner feature was added, which allowed visitors to click and ‘bookmark’ places or attractions they were interested in, and then view the results on a map. The Travel Planner offered suggested routes and public transport options between the chosen locations. There were also links to accommodation in the area. By registering with the website, users could save their Travel Plan and return to it later, or print it out to take on the visit. The website also had a ‘Your Words’ section where anyone could submit a blog of their New Zealand travels for possible inclusion on the website.

  后来,又增加了一项“旅行规划者”特色,网站访问者可以点击他们感兴趣的地点或景点,并标注书签,然后在地图上查看结果。“旅行规划者”会提供往来于各个选定地点之间的推荐路线和公共交通方式选择。同时还有查看当地住宿信息的链接。通过网站注册,用户就可以保存他们的旅行计划,之后返回查看,或者把计划打印出来随身携带。网站上还有一个“你的语言”的版块,任何人都可以提交自己有关新西兰旅游的博客记录,这些游记内容将有可能展示在网站页面上。

  The Tourism New Zealand website won two Webby awards for online achievement and innovation. More importantly perhaps, the growth of tourism to New Zealand was impressive. Overall tourism expenditure increased by an average of 6.9% per year between 1999 and 2004. From Britain, visits to New Zealand grew at an average annual rate of 13% between 2002 and 2006, compared to a rate of 4% overall for British visits abroad.

  新西兰旅游局的这个网站因其线上成就和创新赢得了两次威比奖。也许更重要的是:新西兰旅游业的增长是令人印象深刻的。总体旅游支出在1999到2004年期间平均每年增长6.9%,在2002年到2006年之间,从英国前往新西兰的旅客增长率是13%,而英国的总体海外旅游增长率只有百分之四。

  The website was set up to allow both individuals and travel organisations to create itineraries and travel packages to suit their own needs and interests. On the website, visitors can search for activities not solely by geographical location, but also by the particular nature of the activity. This is important as research shows that activities are the key driver of visitor satisfaction, contributing 74% to visitor satisfaction, while transport and accommodation account for the remaining 26%. The more activities that visitors undertake, the more satisfied they will be. It has also been found that visitors enjoy cultural activities most when they are interactive, such as visiting a marae (meeting ground) to learn about traditional Maori life. Many long-haul travellers enjoy such learning experiences, which provide them with stories to take home to their friends and family. In addition, it appears that visitors to New Zealand don’t want to be ‘one of the crowd’ and find activities that involve only a few people more special and meaningful.

  这个网站成立的目的是为了让个人和旅游机构都能根据这个创建出适合他们自身需求和兴趣的行程以及旅游套餐。在网站,访问者并非仅仅能够根据地理位置为线索来搜寻各个活动,还可以通过活动的特定属性来查找。这一点是很重要的,因为研究显示:活动项目是游客满意度的关键驱动因素,为总体游客满意度贡献了百分之七十四的比例,而交通和住宿一起才占了余下的百分之二十六。游客参与的活动越多,他们就会越对自己的旅行感到满意。同时研究发现:游客最享受的文化活动是那些有互动性质的,例如参观一处毛利会堂来了解传统的毛利人生活。许多远道而来的游客都非常享受这样的学习经历,这样他们就有故事可以带回去与朋友和家人分享。此外,来到新西兰的游客们好像都不想成为大众中人群中的一个,而是觉得那些只有少数几个人参与的活动更为特别和有意义。

  It could be argued that New Zealand is not a typical destination. New Zealand is a small country with a visitor economy composed mainly of small businesses. It is generally perceived as a safe English-speaking country with a reliable transport infrastructure. Because of the long-haul flight, most visitors stay for longer (average 20 days) and want to see as much of the country as possible on what is often seen as a once-in-a-lifetime visit. However, the underlying lessons apply anywhere - the effectiveness of a strong brand, a strategy based on unique experiences and a comprehensive and user-friendly website.

  可能有争议说新西兰并不算一个典型的旅游目的地。它是一个小国家,游客经济主要由小型商家组成。它被大众普遍视为一个安全的讲英语的国家,有着可靠的交通基础设施。由于要进行长途飞行,大部分游客都会在此地待比较久(平均为20天)并想要尽可能地到处多看看这个国家,因为他们通常将此看作是“一生只来一次的旅行”。然而,新西兰的旅游业兴旺发展背后的经验却可以应用到任何地方——一个强大的品牌效应,基于独有经历的策略,和一个全面而并且关注用户的网站。

  文章2

  人工智能艺术家

  电脑真的能创造艺术作品吗?

  The Painting Fool is one of a growing number of computer programs which, so their makers claim, possess creative talents. Classical music by an artificial composer has had audiences enraptured, and even tricked them into believing a human was behind the score. Artworks painted by a robot have sold for thousands of dollars and been hung in prestigious galleries. And software has been built which creates art that could not have been imagined by the programmer.

  “绘画愚人”是数目正在逐渐增加的——按照它们的创造者所宣称的——拥有创作才华的电脑程序之一。由人工智能作曲家所创作的古典音乐曾经令观众听得入神,甚至让他们误以为这首乐曲是人类的杰作。由机器人绘画的艺术作品曾经卖出过数千美元的价格并挂在声明卓著的画廊中展览。还有一些这样的软件,它们创作出来的艺术品是其编程者事先根本不曾想象过的。

  Human beings are the only species to perform sophisticated creative acts regularly. If we can break this process down into computer code, where does that leave human creativity? ‘This is a question at the very core of humanity,’ says Geraint Wiggins, a computational creativity researcher at Goldsmiths, University of London. ‘It scares a lot of people. They are worried that it is taking something special away from what it means to be human.’

  人类是唯一能够常规性地完成复杂艺术创作行为的物种。如果我们可以将这个过程分解成为电脑编码,那把人类创造力置于何地呢?“这是一个关乎人性最核心的问题”,伦敦大学金史密斯学院的一位计算机创造力研究学者Geraint Wiggins 这样说。“它让许多人感到恐惧,他们担忧这会从人类中剥夺某些特殊的本属于人类的东西。”

  To some extent, we are all familiar with computerised art. The question is: where does the work of the artist stop and the creativity of the computer begin? Consider one of the oldest machine artists, Aaron, a robot that has had paintings exhibited in London’s Tate Modern and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Aaron can pick up a paintbrush and paint on canvas on its own. Impressive perhaps, but it is still little more than a tool to realise the programmer’s own creative ideas.

  在某种程度上,我们对电脑创作的艺术都很熟悉。问题在于:艺术家的工作是在何处停止,而电脑的创造力又是从哪里开始的呢?想想最老的机器艺术家之一:Aaron,这个机器人创作的绘画作品展览在伦敦泰特现代美术馆和旧金山现代艺术博物馆里。Aaron可以拿起一支画笔,自己在画布上作画。也许确实令人惊叹,但它也仍然无非就是一台用来实现编程者自己创意理念的机器罢了。

  Simon Colton, the designer of the Painting Fool, is keen to make sure his creation doesn’t attract the same criticism. Unlike earlier ‘artists’ such as Aaron, the Painting Fool only needs minimal direction and can come up with its own concepts by going online for material. The software runs its own web searches and trawls through social media sites. It is now beginning to display a kind of imagination too, creating pictures from scratch. One of its original works is a series of fuzzy landscapes, depicting trees and sky. While some might say they have a mechanical look, Colton argues that such reactions arise from people’s double standards towards software-produced and human-produced art. After all, he says, consider that the Painting Fool painted the landscapes without referring to a photo. ‘If a child painted a new scene from its head, you’d say it has a certain level of imagination,’ he points out. The same should be true of a machine.’ Software bugs can also lead to unexpected results. Some of the Painting Fool’s paintings of a chair came out in black and white, thanks to a technical glitch. This gives the work an eerie, ghostlike quality. Human artists like the renowned Ellsworth Kelly are lauded for limiting their colour palette - so why should computers be any different?

  “绘画愚人”的设计者Simon Colton 非常热切地想要确保他的产品不会引来同样的批评。不像Aaron这样的早期艺术家,“绘画愚人”只需要极少量的指令,就能通过上网搜索材料而产生自己的创作理念。这个软件启动其自身的网页搜索功能,浏览各个社交媒体页面。它现在也开始展示出了某种想象力,能从草稿中创造出完整的画作。它的原创作品之一是一系列朦胧风景画,描绘的是树木与天空。虽然有些人也许会说这些画作有一种机械感,Colton却反驳说,这样的反应是出于人们对待软件创作和人类创作的艺术的双重标准。毕竟,他这样说,要考虑到“绘画愚人”是在没有参照一张照片的情况下画出了这些风景。“如果一个孩子从自己的头脑中描绘出一副新的景象,你就会说这个孩子有一定的想象力水平的”,他说,“放在一台机器上也应当一样。”软件漏洞也有可能会造成意想不到的效果。“绘画愚人”描绘一把椅子的一些由于技术故障作品成了黑白色。这赋予了画作一种怪诞、诡异的感觉。有一些如Ellsworth Kelly般著名的人类艺术家因为非常克制地运用自己调色板上的色彩而广受传颂——那么放在电脑身上为什么就应当有所不同呢?

  Researchers like Colton don’t believe it is right to measure machine creativity directly to that of humans who ‘have had millennia to develop our skills’. Others, though, are fascinated by the prospect that a computer might create something as original and subtle as our best artists. So far, only one has come close. Composer David Cope invented a program called Experiments in Musical Intelligence, or EMI. Not only did EMI create compositions in Cope’s style, but also that of the most revered classical composers, including Bach, Chopin and Mozart. Audiences were moved to tears, and EMI even fooled classical music experts into thinking they were hearing genuine Bach. Not everyone was impressed however. Some, such as Wiggins, have blasted Cope’s work as pseudoscience, and condemned him for his deliberately vague explanation of how the software worked. Meanwhile, Douglas Hofstadter of Indiana University said EMI created replicas which still rely completely on the original artist’s creative impulses. When audiences found out the truth they were often outraged with Cope, and one music lover even tried to punch him. Amid such controversy, Cope destroyed EMI’s vital databases.

  像Colton这样的研究者们并不赞成将机器创造力直接与人类创造力相提并论互相比较,因为“人类已经有几千年的时光来发展我们的技巧了”。另一些人则着迷于这样的前景:一台电脑也许能跟我们最好的艺术家相媲美,创作出同样富有创意而精巧的作品。到目前为止,只有一个接近了这个目标。作曲家David Cope发明了一个程序,称作“音乐智能实验”,简称EMI。EMI不仅创作出了Cope风格的乐曲,而且还仿制出了最受尊崇的古典音乐作曲家们的作品,包括巴赫、肖邦和莫扎特。观众感动得泪流满面,EMI甚至还骗过了古典音乐方面的专家,让他们以为自己听到的是真正的巴赫作品。然而并非所有人都对此表示了惊叹。有一些人,例如Wiggins,就猛烈抨击Cope 的这项创造为伪科学,还谴责他对这个程序到底如何运行的解释刻意含糊不清。与此同时,印第安纳大学的Douglas Hofstadter认为,EMI创作的这些复制品仍然要完全依赖于原创艺术家的创作灵感。在观众们发现了真相以后,他们对Cope 感到异常愤怒,有一位乐迷甚至想要打他。在这样的一片争议声中,Cope销毁了EMI的关键数据库。

  But why did so many people love the music, yet recoil when they discovered how it was composed? A study by computer scientist David Moffat of Glasgow Caledonian University provides a clue. He asked both expert musicians and non-experts to assess six compositions. The participants weren’t told beforehand whether the tunes were composed by humans or computers, but were asked to guess, and then rate how much they liked each one. People who thought the composer was a computer tended to dislike the piece more than those who believed it was human. This was true even among the experts, who might have been expected to be more objective in their analyses.

  但是为什么会有这么多人热爱那些音乐本身,在发现了它是如何被创作出来之后却退缩了呢?格拉斯哥卡利多尼亚大学的计算机科学家David Moffat进行的一项研究提供了一条线索。他让专业音乐家和非专业人士同时去评估六首乐曲。这些参与者并没有被事先告知这些乐曲究竟是由人类还是电脑所创作的,但是被要求去进行猜测,然后给出自己对每一首曲子喜好程度的评价。那些认为创作者是电脑的人们通常会比那些认为其创作者是人类的听众更不喜欢这支乐曲。即使是在专家们之中情况也是如此,但人们其实最开始是认为专家的分析评估会更加客观的。

  Where does this prejudice come from? Paul Bloom of Yale University has a suggestion: he reckons part of the pleasure we get from art stems from the creative process behind the work. This can give it an ‘irresistible essence’, says Bloom. Meanwhile, experiments by Justin Kruger of New York University have shown that people’s enjoyment of an artwork increases if they think more time and effort was needed to create it. Similarly, Colton thinks that when people experience art, they wonder what the artist might have been thinking or what the artist is trying to tell them. It seems obvious, therefore, that with computers producing art, this speculation is cut short - there’s nothing to explore. But as technology becomes increasingly complex, finding those greater depths in computer art could become possible. This is precisely why Colton asks the Painting Fool to tap into online social networks for its inspiration: hopefully this way it will choose themes that will already be meaningful to us.

  这种偏见到底来自哪儿?耶鲁大学的Paul Bloom提出了一个见解:他认为我们从艺术中得到的愉悦有一部分来自于作品背后的创作过程。这能为它赋予一种“不可抗拒的精髓感”,Bloom说。与此同时,纽约大学的Justin Kruger 所进行的实验也显示:人们如果认为创作某件艺术品需要更多的时间和精力,就会更加欣赏它。类似地,Colton 认为当人们去体验艺术时,他们会不禁去好奇艺术家当时正在想什么,或者艺术家正在试图向他们表达什么。因此,这一点似乎就很明显了:当创作艺术的是电脑时,这种遐思就被打断了——因为没有什么可探索的。但是随着技术变得越来越复杂,在电脑的艺术创作中找到那些意义深邃之处可以逐渐成为可能。正是因此,Colton才会指示“绘画愚人”去搜索各社交媒体网页来获取灵感:希望通过这种方式,它将会选取那些对我们来说已经具有意义的主题。

  ......


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