The sperm-donation business 捐精生意

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编者按: 经济学家杂志最新刊登了一篇关于精子捐赠的文章,讲述了目前捐精市场的状况。文章简明、分析有力度,短小精悍。特别对那些苦于无从下笔用英文写作的朋友们启发很大,故此,觉得很有必要一同分享。为了帮助大家理解,本人将全文翻译成了中文,以中英对照的形式加深大家的理解,以便从中获得启发。


The sperm-donation business 捐精生意

Why sperm banks are doing brisk trade为什么精子库交易活跃


Oct 27th 2017

by S.N.

ONCE a practice associated with students looking to make a quick buck, sperm donation has penetrated the ranks of big business. The AIDS epidemic that began in the 1980s ended the informality surrounding the business, and as the costs and risks around testing and handling donated sperm increased, medics opted out and entrepreneurs swiftly filled the gap. Today savvy sperm banks—particularly those that are able to export—can make a very decent income supplying a growing and changing market. How do businesses make money in the jizz biz?


Two things have provided entrepreneurs with fertile ground. First, a patchwork of regulatory intervention means that in certain countries the flow hasn’t kept up with demand. In several places, including Britain, anonymous donation has been outlawed. In other countries donors cannot be paid. Both reasons help explain why sperm banks in such places often struggle to recruit donors; the long waiting lists caused by low donor-count can lead to customers shopping abroad. Second, as acceptance of modern family structures grows, so too does demand for a key missing ingredient. Where the vast majority of customers were previously heterosexual couples who had trouble conceiving, today many if not most are either lesbian couples or single women. In some countries such women are forbidden from being treated with donated sperm, encouraging them to shop abroad. The smartest businesses have picked up on such gaps in the market and sell their stuff direct to sperm banks and clinics that struggle to recruit donors at home. A perhaps even bigger money-spinner is selling directly to end-users. Thanks to the internet, dry-ice and DHL, customers can now shop for sperm from more or less anywhere and have it delivered to their homes.



Some American banks boast that a donor can make up to $1,500 per month, which presumably requires near-abstention from personal pleasure. The normal rate for a single donation is around $100. One donation can usually be split into as many as five vials, which in turn sell for between $500 and $1,000 each. Most customers buy several. Despite the costs involved—notably to recruit donors, test and retest, store and marketing—the margins are engorged. Still, sperm banks have to work hard to compete for customers; some distinguish themselves by emphasising the safety and security of their “product”. Others focus on the “user experience” by modelling their websites on popular dating sites, where customers can filter candidates by particular features such as eye colour, education or hobbies. Some banks will charge extra for information ($25 for a childhood picture and so on) or sell premium subscriptions—giving extra information and early access to new donors—for hundreds of dollars more.

有些美国精子库吹嘘说一个捐精者每个月可以挣到$1500,估计是要求捐赠者几乎处于禁欲状态。正常付给一个捐精者大约是$100,通常把所捐的精液分别装入5个小瓶,而卖出每瓶价格在$500$1000美元不等。大多数用户要买好几瓶。尽管花费到捐精者、检验和反复检验、存放和市场推广上的费用相当可观,但利润还是令人叹舌的。诚然,精子库也不得不为了抢夺客户而玩儿命地展开竞争。有些甚至通过强调他们的所谓产品有多安全来凸显其特性。还有些卖家通过在大众约会地点塑造他们的网站来强调所谓使用者的体验。那里的用户可以根据一些特点比如肤色、教育以及爱好来筛选他们的候选人。有些精子库还会额外收取信息费(要捐精者小时候的照片$25 等等)或采用高价注册方式,给购买者提供额外的信息,让客户提早接触到捐精者的信息,为此,客户要花数百美元乃至更多。

Even the most radical free-market liberals struggle with the question of whether sex cells (and other bodily tissue) should be as easy to trade as any other product. In the interest of donor-conceived children there is a strong case for having basic regulation in place to ensure that all vials are tested for certain diseases before they can be sold. But morally driven policies about who can conceive using donated sperm are both discriminatory and, in the age of e-shopping, ineffective. More generally, overly restrictive policies, shortages and higher prices (they have roughly doubled over the past decade) seem to be driving customers to other sources of supply, including an international grey market that is distinctly dodgy. National regulators would do better to jump on the bandwagon rather than try standing in its way.



1. Brisk trade, 是指交易活跃,

2.opt out 表示退出的意思

3.jizz biz 是精子生意 在这里不是银行的意思,应该翻译成。。。库

5.outlaw 是非法的意思

6.key missing ingredient 不能从字面上理解,应该理解为家庭中重要的组成部分,那就意味着一对夫妻加上个宝贝,是指孩子。

7.这里的money spinner 愿意是会赚钱的人,不过,我在这里为了让译文更加符合中文的理解,故此把它译为“捞钱的人” 这样听起来很有中文的味道。

8.原文中的more or less,愿意是或多或少的,可在这里可以省略或只翻成“基本上”听起来很有中文的味道。

9.engorged  愿意是塞得满满的,可在这里要体现出那利润满的程度,自然达到了令人叹舌的程度。所以,翻译成中文不能只顾所谓原文的忠实性,同时,还要考虑到可读性。中文没人会说利润满满的,听起来有点儿怪,是西方式的中文,如果把它翻译成利润令人叹舌,会更符合中文的感觉。有个最突出的例子就是开头作者就用了一个buck 来表达钱, 那钱其实有很多表达比如money, dollar, grand, buck 等等,作者偏偏用了buck来表示钱,而就是这个buck 才会让人觉得原文的地道,而中国人在表达钱时大都使用的就是dollar, 有错吗?实话说没有,可在有些场合就不那么地道了。所以,无论哪种语言,在转换时,除了要忠实原文外,更重要的本人理解还是要翻译的地道,让人觉得作者在说另外一种地道的语言,而不是原文的中文。否则翻译就失去了光泽,也是去其真正传神的意义。

10.grey market, 的grey 往往让人们想到的是灰色地带,当然这么理解也没错,不过,应该直截了当地翻译成黑市,才更符合中国人的口语习惯,相信在中国没有人会说灰色市场,当然你非要这么说也无可非议,但的确没人这么说,一般人都会理解成“黑市”交易。