纽约时报官方译文 | 新的十年到底从哪天开始?

When Does the New Decade Begin: In a Month, or a Year From Now?
新的十年到底从哪天开始?

Oh, to revel in New Year’s Eve. Cheer with good friends! A glass of Champagne or two. And, this year, ringing in a new decade.
哦,新年之夜狂欢,来一两杯香槟,与好友一起欢呼!而且,今年开启了新的10年。

Oh, wait. Are we?
等一下,真是这样吗?

In recent years there has been debate about when a decade begins and ends. For some people, the next decade will begin on Jan. 1, 2020, and end on Dec. 31, 2029. For others, it won’t start until Jan. 1, 2021, concluding on Dec. 31, 2030. To the average person — well, many of us — it can be very confusing. But what is correct? Should we celebrate the beginning of a new decade now or wait until next year, when it seems a little passé?
近年来,关于一个10年从何时开始何时结束一直存在争议。在一些人看来,下一个10年开始于2020年1月1日,结束于2029年12月31日。在另一些人看来,它要从2021年1月1日才开始,到2030年12月31日结束。对于普通人——我们中的许多人来说,这可能让人犯晕。究竟哪一个才是正确的?我们应该现在就庆祝新10年的开始,还是等到明年,稍稍过时的时候?

We decided to break it down for readers. We talked to an expert at the United States Naval Observatory, which runs the nation’s master clock. We interviewed an editor at the Farmers’ Almanac. We even talked to a curator of astrophysics.
我们决定为读者找到答案。我们和美国海军天文台的专家进行了交谈,该天文台负责管理美国的主钟。我们对《农民年鉴》的一位编辑进行了采访。我们甚至问了一位天体物理学的策展人。

There is one thing almost everyone agreed on. “Talking about it is a great way to get into a bar fight,” said Geoff Chester, an astronomer and a public affairs officer at the observatory.
几乎所有人同意一件事。“讨论这事能打起来,”海军天文台的天文学家和公共事务官杰夫·切斯特(Geoff Chester)说。

Why is this a controversy?
为什么会引起争议?

First, a little history. In 1999, people got into a spat over when the new millennium began. At the center of the dispute was the Naval Observatory, whose calculations of time influence government satellites, your iPhone and more. The agency’s position was that the new millennium began on Jan. 1, 2001, Mr. Chester said. That’s because the observatory uses a modification of the Julian date to measure time. The modified system is used by astronomers and geodesists, who study the size of the Earth. (The original Julian date begins Jan. 1, 4713 B.C.)
首先介绍一点历史背景。1999年,新千年开始的时候,人们陷入了争吵。争议的中心是海军天文台,其时间的计算会影响政府卫星和你的iPhone等等。切斯特说,该机构的立场是新千年始于2001年1月1日。因为天文台使用了约简儒略日来计算时间。天文学家和大地测量学家使用这个约简系统来研究地球的大小。(最初的儒略历开始于公元前4713年1月1日。)

So that settled it, right?
这样就解决了,对吧?

Not so fast. In 525, a monk named Dionysius Exiguus wanted to pinpoint the date for Easter. So he devised a calendar system called anno Domini, which was based on when he believed Jesus was born. A.D., which is Latin for “the year of our Lord,” is commonly used today. One glitch: Because it identified the date of Jesus’ birth as Year 1, not Year 0, there is a time gap, Mr. Chester said. There is a lot of debate about this online, but timeanddate.com, which studies such things, has a good explanation.
且慢。525年,一位名叫狄奥尼修斯·伊希格斯(Dionysius Exiguus)的僧侣想明确复活节的日期。因此,他设计了一个日历系统,称为基督纪年(anno Domini),这是基于他认为耶稣出生的时间。A.D.,拉丁语中的“主的年份”,如今已普遍使用。但有一个小问题:因为它把耶稣的出生日期定为公元1年,而不是0年,这就有了一个时间间隔,切斯特说。网上对此有很多争论,但是研究此事的timeanddate.com有一个很好的解释。

Because of this, many people insisted the new millennium began on Jan. 1, 2000. It was widely debated and everyone had something to say. Mr. Chester, who was at the center of the kerfuffle back in 1999, sighed when asked to explain the different dates. “It’s one of those things where numbers don’t satisfy everybody,” he said.
许多人因此坚持认为新千年始于2000年1月1日。人们对此进行了广泛的辩论,每个人都有话要说。切斯特曾处于1999年混战的中心,当被问及解释不同的日期时,他叹了口气。他说:“数字不能使每个人满意,这就是其中之一。”

Did the debate make it easier to understand when a new decade begins?
辩论是否有助于人们理解新10年什么时候开始?

Yes and no. Unlike the definition of daylight saving time, the definition of a decade is not governed by legal guidelines. But the debate got people talking. Mordecai-Mark Mac Low, a curator in the department of astrophysics at the American Museum of Natural History, said, “There are two different ways to designate decades.”
是也不是。10年的定义不像夏令时那样受法律准则的约束。但是对此的争辩让人们议论纷纷。美国自然历史博物馆天体物理学部策展人莫迪凯-马克·麦克·劳(Mordecai-Mark Mac Low)说:“有两种不同的方法来对10年加以明确。”

First, there is the modified Julian date. But, he added, “people work with language more than numbers.” The second way is to designate decades by popular convention and usage. An example? Most people would say the 1950s went from 1950 to 1959.
首先是约简儒略日。但是,他又说,“人们使用语言多过数字。”第二种方法是以流行惯例和用法来指定10年。要举例吗?大多数人会说1950年代是从1950年到1959年。

“People want simple answers,” Dr. Mac Low said. “But the answer is not always simple.”
”人们想要简单的答案,”麦克·劳说。“但答案并不总是那么简单。”

Mr. Chester agreed. “There is no absolute,” he said.
切斯特表示同意。“没有绝对的,”他说。

So what is the answer?
所以答案是什么?

Using a modified Julian date, the 2020s will begin on Jan. 1, 2021, Dr. Mac Low said.
麦克·劳说,用约简儒略日,2020年代将从2021年1月1日开始。

But that is out of sync with common usage. According to Emily Brewster, a senior editor at Merriam-Webster, a decade in popular culture is not defined by scientific convention. Because of this, the 2020s will begin on Jan. 1, 2020, and end on Dec. 31, 2029, Ms. Brewster said.
但这不同于常规用法。韦氏出版公司(Merriam-Webster)的高级编辑艾米莉·布鲁斯特(Emily Brewster)表示,流行文化中的10年并没有被科学常规所定义。因此,布鲁斯特说,2020年代将从2020年1月1日开始,到2029年12月31日结束。

“It is interesting that there is this arbitrariness,” she said. “It’s unconventional, like language.”
“有趣的是这种任意性,”她说。“不依照常规,就像语言一样。”

So I can still throw an end-of-the-decade party in December, right?
所以我还是可以在12月举行一个庆祝10年结束的派对,对吗?

Most definitely. Indeed, people have already begun celebrating the end of the 2010s. “This could be a great controversy,” said Peter Geiger, editor of the Farmers’ Almanac. “Or maybe it’s really just a great diversion.”
当然。确实,人们已经开始庆祝2010年代的结束。“这可能会是一个极大的争议,”《农民年鉴》的主编彼得·盖格(Peter Geiger)说。“或许它其实只是一个很大的乐子。”