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表情符号emoji这一行 超越日本有多难

更新时间:2018-7-30 21:06:14 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

Why there are so many Japanese emoji
表情符号emoji这一行 超越日本有多难

Is there an emoji that represents your country?

有没有一个代表你的国家的表情符号?

Say you’re British – or you’re not, but maybe traveling to the UK and texting a friend about it – why isn’t there a fish and chips emoji? Or one of Big Ben, a red phone booth, Stonehenge?

比如你是英国人——或者不是英国人,但可能在英国旅游时正在给一个朋友发一个短信谈到英国——为什么没有一个炸鱼加炸薯条的表情符号?或者一个大本钟、红色电话亭,或巨石阵?

Sure, there’s a Queen’s guard 💂, a cricket bat 🏏 and the requisite Union Jack 🇬🇧. But this goes deeper than tourist landmarks – why aren’t there more emoji that communicate the tiny, goofy minutiae of daily life that might be specific to certain cultures or countries? After all, Japan has dozens and dozens of such emoji – so many of them, that people around the world constantly misuse them.

当然,emoji已有一个英女王侍卫💂、棒球帽和必不可少的英国国旗的表情符。但是日常生活中微小而可笑的细枝末节,可能为某些文化或国家所独有,为什么没有更多的表情符号来传达?这其实是比旅游地标更为深刻的东西。毕竟,日本拥有许许多多像那样的表情符号——其如此之多,以至于全世界的人们总是错误使用。

So if today’s world is so globalised and digital… what gives?

今天的世界是这么全球化与数字化,为何会出现这样的问题?

The answer is more complicated than it might seem. But a complicated process is not stopping governments and self-described “emoji activists” from rallying to get their designs into the official selection – and to get a slice of any potential geopolitical sway emoji might have.

答案比可能看上去的更为复杂。而这一复杂的过程并不能阻止各国政府与自称的"表情符号积极分子"通力合作,设法将他们的表情符设计列入互联网万国统一码的官方表情符甄拔名单——以求得本国表情符号可能带来的一点地缘政治影响力。

Why are there so many emoji about Japan?

为什么很多表情符与日本相关?

In 2015, US President Barack Obama visited Japan and thanked the nation for giving the world such cultural gifts as karate, karaoke, anime and – yes – emoji.

2015年,美国总统奥巴马访问日本时,感谢日本带给世界许多文化馈赠,像空手道、卡拉OK、动漫。是的,还有表情符号。

Meaning something akin to “picture” and “character” in Japanese, emoji originated in the 1990s as mobile phone culture exploded in Japan. Now there are more than 2,500 of them, and World Emoji Day is tomorrow. They even spawned last year’s (widely panned) film.

Emoji起源于上世纪90年代刚爆发手机文化的日本,在日语中称为"绘文字",有"图画"和"文字"两层意思。如今emoji已有超过2500个表情符号,7月17日被定为世界表情符号日。去年emoji甚至催生了一部电影,不过恶评如潮。

Since emoji were invented in Japan and entered mainstream use there, it makes sense that there are dozens of Japan-specific ones. Some are more globally recognised as tourism-friendly icons – Mt Fuji, sushi, sake – but there are plenty that depict smaller aspects of Japanese life and culture, which may not be instantly recognisable to non-Japanese.

既然表情符号是日本人发明,并进入日本主流文化用语,因此有许多日本特定的表情符号就是合情合理的事。有些是更为全球公认的热爱旅游标志,如富士山、寿司、清酒——但很多是描述日本生活与文化的细节层面,非日本人可能不会立刻辨认出来。

There’s dango 🍡 (a pastel-coloured kebab of gelatinous rice cakes),  oni 👹 (a grotesque demon from Japanese folklore), and even a love hotel 🏩 (an adult establishment which can be booked by the hour).

有甜米点心(一串色彩柔和的糯米团),鬼(日本民间传说中奇形怪状的恶魔)👹,甚至有情爱旅馆(可以按小时出租的成人酒店) 。

In other words: scores of fun little pictures that shine a spotlight on all sorts of facets of Japanese life. So why is there a bullet train and not an Italian gondola? Why a red paper lantern and not a menorah?

换句话说:许多有趣的小图像将聚光灯投向日本生活各种各样的层面。为什么emoji中有一个日本的高速列车而没有意大利的凤尾船?为什么有一个红纸日式提灯而没有犹太人的九灯烛台?

How emoji are approved

表情符号如何获得批准

Emoji are treated like actual characters – in other words, our phones recognise every eggplant and poo as they do the letters A, B and C.

处理表情符号的方式就像是对待实际的字符——换句话说,我们的手机像识别字母A、B、C那样识别每一个茄子符号和粪便符号。

All characters of all fonts that appear on digital devices are approved and regulated by a not-for-profit based in California called the Unicode Consortium. They oversee the industry standard for encoding and handling all text in computing systems across the world. President Mark Davis reckons they add around 50 to 70 new emoji per year.

总部位于加利福尼亚的非牟利机构万国统一码联盟,对显示在数字设备上所有字体的语言文字进行审核与管理,他们掌管编码和各国计算机环境中所有字符处理的行业标准。董事长戴维斯(Mark Davis)估计他们每年新增约50-70个全新的绘文字表情符号。

Davis says any additions approved by the consortium are permanent. Emoji are never removed; each one can be used by all people across digital devices, forever.

戴维斯说,任何新增符号一但为统一码联盟批准后,即为永久字符,因此表情符号绝不会被移除,全球所有数字设备用户均可以永远使用。

Spacing out new emoji in waves each year allows the technology to keep up: for example, phones being built with enough memory (emoji take up a lot more space than just letters), as well as predictive typing constantly improving to auto-fill emoji as you’re typing words in all available languages.

每年推出大量的全新表情符号使得科技也要奋起跟上。例如,手机需要足够内存,因为表情符号比纯文本的字符所占空间要多很多,另外还有不断完善的联想输入法,当你以所有可用语言打字时能自动填充表情符号。

Jeremy Burge is founder of Emojipedia, an online emoji database, and the latest member to be initiated into the Unicode Consortium. He says that the visual nature of emoji also dictates that any new entry must be visually compelling and distinct.

表情符号搜索引擎(emojipedia表情符号的在线数据库)的创始人伯格(Jeremy Burge),是最近一位受到接纳加入万国统一码联盟的成员。他说由于表情符号的视觉属性,因此任何新增收录必须在视觉上能够引人入胜又清晰明确。

One candidate for an emoji is the caffeinated Argentinian drink maté.

现等待万国统一码联盟批准接纳的一个候选表情符号是含咖啡因的阿根廷马黛茶饮。

“Luckily for them, it has a distinctively-shaped cup,” Burge says. “Beverages are tricky – if you wanted to approve your favourite drink, how does that look different in emoji sizes?”

伯格说,"他们幸运的是,马黛茶的茶杯形状独特。但饮料会很麻烦——如果你想要你最喜欢的饮品获得批准,考虑到emoji太小,你如何能让其表情符号可以看起来与众不同?"

So if the standards are so rigorous, why are there so many Japanese symbols and icons that are totally foreign to nearly everyone outside Japan? It’s because all the original Japanese emoji were grandfathered in once the emoji keyboard became available abroad.

如果标准是如此严格,对日本之外几乎每个人都完全陌生的日式象征和标志,为什么会有那么多?因为表情符号键盘一度可以在国外使用时,所有日本原本的表情符号都有免受新法规限制的待遇。

As a result, emoji will likely always have a Japanese flavour, the experts say, and emoji have afforded Japan a cultural soft power that extends around the world and has boosted the nation’s “brand”. One could argue that to have an emoji related to your culture in the official line-up is to also have a spot on the world stage.

专家们称,结果是表情符号将可能总有一种日式风味,也让日本具备延伸至全世界的文化软实力,提升了民族的"品牌"。人们可以认为,在万国统一码的官方阵容中拥有一枚与你的国家相关的表情符号,也就是在这个世界舞台上拥有一席之位。

That’s why other countries are looking for a chance to shine.

这就是为什么其他国家也想有代表本国的表情符。

National icons

国家标志

The Unicode Consortium doesn’t promote any business or specific person: no logos allowed, and no likeness of any person living or dead. (“Kimoji”, Kim Kardashian’s line of “emoji”, aren’t official – they’re instead classified as “stickers”.)

统一码联盟不会宣传任何企业或特定个人:不允许有商标,不允许有任何在世或去世的人物肖像。("Kimoji表情包",美国电视名人金•卡戴珊(Kim Kardashian)针对"表情符号"的产品,因为不获万国统一码联盟接纳,被归类为"贴纸"。)

There’s been demonstrable interest in diversifying the emoji collection. Earlier this year, it was announced that emoji depicting differently abled people in wheelchairs and using hearing aids would be added. A hijab-wearing emoji, various skin colours and same-sex couples and families also appeared in recent years.

人们对发展多元文化表情符号一直都显示出很强的兴趣。今年早些时候,有宣布称emoji将新增描述各种身障者,包括轮椅人士和助听器使用者的图释。近些年也出现伊斯兰女子头巾的表情符号,以及各种肤色以及同性情侣与家庭的emoji。

But for some, it’s not enough. Many organisations and individuals are pushing for more representation, specifically to showcase their home countries and cultures. A recent example is Finland, which has lobbied to create Finland-themed emoji since 2015.

但对有些人而言,这还不够。许多团体和个人正呼吁更多的代表权,特别是表现他们本土国家和文化的表情符。芬兰是最近的一例,自2015年起就为创建以芬兰为主题的表情符号而进行游说。

The person leading the effort is Petra Theman, director of public diplomacy at Finland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, who got the idea in 2015 when an emoji was named Oxford Dictionaries’ word of the year. Theman wanted a way to talk about Finland in a social media-friendly way that appealed to a younger audience. “Emoji was the obvious choice,” she says.

芬兰外交部公共外交主管瑟曼(Petra Theman)是这一活动的带头人,2015年牛津字典将一个喜极而泣的emoji笑脸评选为年度词汇时,她即萌发此意。瑟曼希望讨论芬兰的途径是以一种社交媒体友好的方式,以吸引更年轻的群体。"表情符号是显而易见的选择,"她说。

She says the government pitched dozens of ideas to Unicode – two main ones were Finland’s iconic sauna, plus any kind of winter clothing, which at the time was being dwarfed by the huge amount of summer clothing in the official line-up.

她说芬兰政府把很多emoji方案提交给统一码联盟——其中主要的两个,一是芬兰标志性的桑拿浴,二是任意一种冬装,当时统一码甄选名单中大量的是夏装,冬装显得被矮化。

In the end, woolly socks and sauna made it in. But the sauna design was tweaked. Instead of the pitched image of two naked characters sitting in a sauna, it was changed to a more general, heads-up view of a person with a towel wrapped around their hair and surrounded by steam. This was very deliberate – Davis and Burge say the consortium aims to make emoji as accessible as possible.

最后,羊毛袜子和桑拿浴成功入选。但是对桑拿浴的设计做了改进。不是提交的一对赤裸男女坐着享受桑拿浴的图像,而是改为更加普通的人像、头往上仰,头发上裹着毛巾,四周有蒸汽。这是特别有意为之——戴维斯和伯格说联盟致力于让表情符号尽可能易于理解。

There’s also an avoidance of any kind of redundancy. Finland, a mecca for heavy metal, pitched emoji of big-haired rockers but were told the “rock on” 🤘emoji already communicated that sentiment.

也要避免任何种类的重复。芬兰是重金属电子摇滚乐的圣地,提交了长发摇滚乐演奏者的表情符号,但得到告知称"摇滚吧"的表情符号 已经传达出那个意见。

Still, the woolly socks and adjusted sauna emoji were a victory. Finland was the first nation to lead a successful emoji campaign.

不过,羊毛袜子和经调整的桑拿浴表情符号对芬兰来说已是一场胜利。芬兰是第一个成功争取表情符号入选的国家。

“You really want to see yourself represented,” Theman says. “Emoji is such a big part of communication, [especially] for young people.”

瑟曼说,"你真的希望看到自己有代表权,表情符号是交流中如此重要的一部分,特别对于年轻人而言。"

It’s not just specific countries – it’s broader cultures, too.

这不仅是特定的国家——也是更广阔的文化。

Jennifer 8. Lee is a journalist who helps run a group called Emojination, which has the motto “emoji for the people, by the people”. After a two-year campaign, she helped get the dumpling emoji approved, and worked with a 15-year-old Muslim girl in Germany to get the hijab emoji approved. Lee is also a member of the consortium.

新闻记者詹妮弗 8.李(Jennifer 8. Lee)帮助管理一个叫作表情符号国的组织,其口号是"表情符号,民享民治"。为期两年的运动后,她促成饺子的表情符号通过审核,并与一位在德国的15岁穆斯林女孩合作,使穆斯林女子头巾的表情符号得到批准。李也是联盟的成员之一。

“Some people say you can just do stickers,” Lee says, which is the route the “Kimoji” took a couple years ago. But stickers are not the real deal: there’s something different about “a formal recognition into a system when it’s on basically all mobile devices and is recognised as text”.

李说,"有些人说你可以只做贴纸。"所谓贴纸,是指不被统一码联盟所承认的表情符,这是两三年前"Kimoji表情包"采取的路线。李说,贴纸不是货真价实的emoji,与"正式认可收入emoji系统的表情符"是不同的,后者"会出现在大致所有移动设备上,并作为正式字符"。

Lee points to items like Australian boomerangs that are tied to specific countries, but have transcended to become global symbols. She reiterates that many designs that get picked to be emoji are visually distinctive – like that maté cup. But sometimes, emoji that mean certain things to certain cultures get used in entirely different ways by people outside those cultures.

李提到像澳大利亚飞镖的这类器物,本与特定国家有关联,但已转变成为全球同类物的象征。她重申,很多得以选为表情符号的设计在视觉上是清晰可辨——如马黛茶杯。但是有时候,本代表某种文化中的某种事物的表情符号,却被此文化之外的人们以全然不同的方式所使用。

Morphing language

符号转变成语言

Though many of the Japan-centric emoji don’t meet current requirements – is the fish cake 🍥 really a visually distinctive global icon, for instance? – they remain because they got in early and at the right time. And despite a soft power boost as a social media mainstay, there’s no evidence to suggest that the sheer volume of Japan-focused emoji has brought geopolitical or fiscal benefits to the country.

尽管很多以日本为中心的表情符号未能达到现有的要求——例如,鱼糕 真的是在视觉上清晰明确的全球标志吗?这是因为这些表情符是最早入围,并恰逢其时。虽然emoji作为社交媒体的支柱而提升了日本文化的软实力,但没有根据显示大量以日本为核心的表情符号为该国带来地缘政治或财政的益处。

If anything, the fact that many of Japan’s emoji aren’t recognisable to the wider world has allowed people to use them in new ways (even if they are misusing them). The different interpretations aren’t limited to the more obscure Japanese emoji, either – we all know what the eggplant and peach emoji have come to symbolise. That might show that emoji really are being treated as language.

要说有什么不同,则是也有很多日本的表情符号对于更广泛的世界而言其实是看不出日本味,这一事实使得人们可以用全新的方式加以使用(即使是误用)。理解的差异也不局限于更为隐晦的日式表情符号——我们都知道茄子和桃子的表情符号用来作何象征。那可能表明,人们真的正在把表情符号当作语言对待。

And they can be malleable, like Finland’s tweaked “sauna” emoji: Mt Fuji can be used to represent any snow-capped peak. The winking emoji can mean flirtation in some cultures and not in others. And this swirly shooting star 💫 might be used by Westerners as a symbol of whimsy and fantasy, but it actually symbolises dizziness in Japan.

emoji还可能另作改造或理解,像芬兰改进后的"桑拿浴"表情符号,富士山可以用作表示任何山顶积雪的山峰。眨眨眼的表情符号在有些文化中可以指调情,在其它文化中则不是。西方人可能将这颗旋转的流星 用来象征稀奇古怪的行为和空想,但在日本其实是头晕的象征。

Plus, consider the technical roadblocks of trying to include an emoji for everyone: there are already a lot of emoji for us to scroll through. What might that look like on our phones as we swipe through hundreds of categories with hundreds of entries each?

再者,想想试图为每个人都收录一枚表情符号的技术关卡:已有许多表情符号供我们上下拖动。当我们在千百个类别中各有千百个收录项之间滑动,我们的手机显示可能是什么样?

“You could have thousands of more emoji if there were more intuitive ways to filter them,” says Jeremy Burge. “Maybe you could add a set that are only for your country if you want to see those.”

杰里米•伯格说,"如果有更多直觉的方式进行过滤,就可以有成千上万个更多的表情符号,如果你希望看到与你国家相关的表情符,也许你可以添加这样的设置。"

For now, the endless march toward total representation continues.

现在,emoji正在朝向包罗世间万物的无止境征程上前进。

“So far what we’re seeing is a cautious, maybe cherry-picking of the most obvious and most requested emoji first and every year adding more until we see what happens in 10 years,” says Burge.

伯格说,"到目前为止,我们看来,是先对最显而易见与要求最迫切的表情符号进行谨慎的、可能是最佳的挑选,然后每年都新增一些,直到我们瞧瞧10年后会发生什么。"

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