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[原创]印度办公室有多西化? | 双语阅读

FT每日英语  · 公众号  · 2018-12-05 17:19


When Gaurav Chopra set up IndiaLends, his Delhi-based financial services company, he was determined to import some of the relatively informal work culture he had encountered during the eight years he spent in the UK.

高拉夫•乔普拉(Gaurav Chopra)在英国呆了8年,领会了当地相对休闲的职场文化,当他在德里创办金融服务公司IndiaLends时,他决心引入英国职场文化中的一些元素。

Out went office cubicles and in came open-plan seating arrangements. Out went communicating with bosses only via their assistants and in came regular face-to-face meetings.


cubicle /'kjuːbɪk(ə)l/ n. 小卧室;小隔间

例句:After this setup, the boys were taken to a cubicle, one at a time. 在安排完之后,孩子们一个一个被单独带入一间小隔间。

That was three years ago. But no matter how hard he has tried to encourage colleagues to adopt a more relaxed, western-style of working, he has found some habits impossible to change.


Photo credit: Getty Images

“When I first started at the London School of Economics, I managed to offend some of my professors by calling them ‘Sir’,” he says. “It was a pleasant surprise to me at that time, and so when I started my company in India I asked my employees to call me by my first name.

“刚入读伦敦政治经济学院(London School of Economics)时,我尊称教授们‘先生’(Sir,是一种尊称,如中国称一些德高望重的女性为“先生”,与英语中Mr. XXX翻译过来的XXX先生不同——译者注),结果冒犯了其中一些人,”他说,“这让当时的我感到既惊且喜。所以,当我在印度创业时,我让员工直呼我的名字。”

But even now, some employees still address Mr Chopra as “Sir”, no matter how much he tries to stop them.



The deferential culture he describes is, in part, a legacy of colonial rule that ended in 1947. For nearly 100 years, the British imposed their hierarchical, Victorian-era civil service on the Indian system of government.


deferential /defə'renʃ(ə)l/ adj. 恭敬的;惯于顺从的

例句:Polls show that people today are less deferential to authority in organizations and politics. 民意测验显示今天的人们较少顺从组织和政治的权威。

In the decades after independence, that culture was copied by private companies. Not only were there strict hierarchies, but also those at the top were allowed to arrive late, leave early and take long lunch breaks — a habit that still exists in many Indian public sector organisations.



“Everyone knows that if a government office says it will open at a certain time, no one will be there by then,” says Mr Chopra. “And if it is due to close at 5pm, you can be sure no one will be in the office by 5.01pm.”


Photo credit: Getty Images

Since the country started to open its markets in the early 1990s, however, corporate office life has changed substantially, with office-based service jobs increasing particularly quickly. In 1991, the year liberalisation started, services accounted for just over 40 per cent of the country’s gross domestic product. Last year, that figure was about 55 per cent.


The arrival of multinational companies such as Nestlé, Microsoft and Citigroup, coupled with the sudden growth in the IT services sector, brought a new style of corporate workplace and a new way of working. Gone are the late starts and early finishes: a survey by Manpower Group in 2016 found young Indians work harder than anyone else in the world, clocking up an average of 52 hours a week.

雀巢(Nestle)、微软(Microsoft)和花旗集团(Citigroup)等跨国公司的到来,再加上IT服务业的迅猛发展,给企业工作场所带来新的风尚,也带来新的工作方式。晚到早退现象不见了:万宝盛华集团(Manpower Group)在2016年进行的一项调查发现,印度年轻人的工作努力程度超过全球任何地方的年轻人,他们平均每周工作52小时。

“Hard work is generally measured by the number of hours you put in at the office,” says Prakash Rao, chief experience officer at PeopleStrong, a human resources services company. “If you leave on time, your colleagues start to wonder whether you have enough work to do.”

“工作的努力程度通常用你在办公室呆的时间来衡量,”人力资源服务公司PeopleStrong的首席体验官普拉卡什•拉奥(Prakash Rao)说,“如果你按时下班,你的同事就会怀疑你的工作量是不是太少了。”

Photo credit: Getty Images

Amit Veer, vice-president of payments at Paytm, a financial technology start-up, says he works from 9.30am to 8pm. “But given my commute takes one hour 15 minutes in the morning and two hours in the evening, it is a very long day.”

金融科技初创企业Paytm负责支付业务的副总裁阿米特•威尔(Amit Veer)表示,他的工作时间是上午9点半至晚上8点。“但考虑到我早上到公司需要1小时15分钟,晚上回家需要2小时,这真是漫长的一天。”

commute /kə'mjuːt/ vi. (搭乘车、船等)通勤;代偿 vt. 减刑;交换;用……交换;使……变成 n. 通勤(口语)

例句:One of the most stressful parts of any job is the commute. 任何工作中的一个压力比较大的部分就是通勤问题。

Gone, too, are workspaces strictly segregated by seniority. India’s new breed of start-ups have pioneered flatter hierarchies and more informal ways of working.



Paytm, for example, has mimicked San Francisco’s culture by creating an open-plan office where Vijay Shekhar Sharma, the chief executive and billionaire company founder, sits among his colleagues at a desk indistinguishable from theirs.

例如,Paytm就模仿旧金山的工作文化,办公室是开放式的,公司首席执行官、身为亿万富翁的创始人维贾伊•谢卡尔•夏尔马(Vijay Shekhar Sharma)和同事们坐在一起,他的办公桌和别人的办公桌一模一样。

The Indian corporate workplace has now become so established it has been given the ultimate mark of recognition: its own spin-off of the BBC sitcom The Office, the UK programme format that became a hit in the US and eight other countries.

印度企业的工作场所已形成了如此成熟的风格,以至获得了终极的受认可标志:英国广播公司(BBC)情景喜剧《办公室风云》(The Office)有了印度版。该剧在美国等9个国家热播。


Instead of David Brent, regional manager of Wernham Hogg, Indian audiences will watch Jagdeep Chaddha and his colleagues at Wilkins Chawla, a company based in Faridabad, a town outside New Delhi.

印度观众看到的不是Wernham Hogg的地区经理戴维•布兰特(David Brent),而是新德里郊外小镇Faridabad一家公司Wilkins Chawla的加迪普•查哈(Jagdeep Chaddha)和他的同事们。

Even in the face of rapid technological and cultural change, however, certain elements of the traditional Indian office have remained. The lunch hour, for example, is still an hour. Even in the most dynamic start-ups, workers decamp en masse for their meal.



“Lunchtime is the one unmovable part of the day,” says one western worker in a New Delhi office. “It is where food, office gossip, and complaints about the bosses are all shared.”


Photo credit: Getty Images

Another common feature of the Indian workplace is that there is little, if any, respect for the separation between work and family life. Employees describe being called up at any time of the day and at weekends, and some are forced to come into the office on a Saturday if they are behind on deadlines.


Mr Rao says: “In my previous job, customers expected to be able to contact me at any time of day or night. There were times when I would get a call at two o’clock in the morning and would be expected to take it.”



Krishna Rathi, general manager of Paytm’s entertainment business, says he does not have a regular day off each week. “Our busiest days are Friday and Saturday, when most people go to the cinema, and I have to be on hand to respond to customers’ problems throughout the weekend.”

Paytm娱乐业务部总经理奎师那•拉蒂(Krishna Rathi)说,他每周都没有固定的休息日。“我们最忙的是周五和周六,因为这两天去电影院的人最多,整个周末我都得到场处理客户的问题。”

Photo credit: Getty Images

Some see a link between such demands and the habit of many senior people in Indian organisations of turning up very late for meetings or not attending at all. “There is no sense of respecting other people’s time,” Kishore Jayaraman, president of Rolls-Royce in India and south Asia, told the FT this year.

一些人认为,这种要求与印度机构中许多高层人士开会迟到或根本不出席的习惯有联系。“他们没有尊重别人时间的概念,”罗尔斯-罗伊斯(Rolls-Royce)印度和南亚地区总裁基肖尔•贾雅拉曼(Kishore Jayaraman)今年曾对英国《金融时报》说。

Many Indian start-ups have tried to do away with the idea of scheduled meetings altogether. “It is quite an unstructured office,” says Neha Agarwal, general manager of investments at Paytm. “If you want to work with someone, you just walk up to their desk and ask them. And if they are not there, our mobile numbers are all printed above our workstations.”

许多印度初创企业试图抛弃安排会议那一套。“我们的办公室相当没有组织性,”Paytm负责投资业务的总经理尼哈•阿加瓦尔(Neha Agarwal)说,“如果你想找某个人合作,你直接走到他们的办公桌前,问他们的意见就可以了。如果他们不在座位上,我们的手机号码都贴在工作台上方。”

But the changes being brought about by new companies are also causing their own problems for those who are used to more traditional ways of doing business.



“One of the big problems we have is recruiting senior people,” says Mr Chopra. “It takes time for them to understand the workplace we are trying to create.”


recruit /rɪ'kruːt/ n. 招聘;新兵;新成员 vt. 补充;聘用;征募;使…恢复健康 vi. 复原;征募新兵;得到补充;恢复健康

例句:How do you recruit an army? 你如何征募一个部队?

Photo credit: Getty Images

Candidates, he adds, are often perplexed when they ask which office they will be allocated, and he has to explain “there are none”.


perplex /pə'plekst/ adj. 困惑的;不知所措的

例句:A moment later the perplexed clerk walked around the car to her. 过了一会,困惑的伙计绕过车子走到她面前。


account for 


例句:Can you account for his strange behaviour? 你能解释他的古怪行为吗?

例句:Added together, the factors account for about 50% of the risk. 这三大因素加在一起占了50%左右的风险。

gross domestic product 


例句:Agriculture is the backbone of Rwanda’s economy, accounting for about 39% of gross domestic product (GDP) and 90% of the country’s food needs. 农业是卢旺达经济的支柱,占卢旺达国内生产总值的比重约为39%,并且可满足全国90%的粮食需求。

例句:Until now, our lives have been ruled by one measure: Gross domestic product, or GDP. 到现在,我们的生活都是通过一个指标,即国内生产总值,或GDP来衡量。


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