2007年3月中级口译真题阅读理解及解析(2)

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  Questions 11~15

  In the information technology industry, it is widely acknowledged that how well IT departments of the future can fulfil their business goals will depend not on the regular updating of technology, which is essential for them to do, but on how well they can hold on to the people skilled at manipulating the newest technology. This is becoming more difficult. Best estimates of the current shortfall in IT staff in the UK are between 30,000 and 50,000, and growing.

  And there is no end to the problem in sight. A severe industry-wide lack of investment in training means the long-term skills base is both ageing and shrinking. Employers are chasing experienced staff in ever-decreasing circles, and, according to a recent government report, 250,000 new IT jobs will be created over the next decade.

  Most employers are confining themselves to dealing with the immediate problems. There is little evidence, for example, that they are stepping up their intake of raw recruits for in-house training, or retraining existing staff from other functions. This is the course of action recommended by the Computer Software Services Association, but research shows its members are adopting the short-term measure of bringing in more and more consultants on a contract basis.

  With IT professionals increasingly attracted to the financial rewards and flexibility of consultancy work, average staff turnover rates are estimated to be around 15%. While many companies in the financial services sector are managing to contain their losses by offering skilled IT staff "golden handcuffs"—deferred loyalty bonuses that tie them in until a certain date—other organisations, like local governments, are unable to match the competitive salaries and perks on offer in the private sector and contractor market, and are suffering turnover rates of up to 60% a year.

  But while loyalty bonuses have grabbed the headlines, there are other means of holding on to staff. Some companies are doing additional IT pay reviews in the year and paying market premiums. But such measures can create serious employee relations problems among those excluded, both within and outside IT departments. Many industry experts advise employers to link bonuses to performance wherever possible. However, employers are realising that bonuses will only succeed if they are accompanied by other incentives such as attractive career prospects, training, and challenging work that meets the individual's long-term ambitions.

  11. According to the passage, the success of IT departments will depend on ______.

  (A) their success at retaining their skilled staff

  (B) the extent to which they invest in new technology

  (C) their attempts to recruit staff with the necessary skills

  (D) the ability of employees to keep up with the latest developments

  12. The problem referred to in the second paragraph is that ______.

  (A) the government needs to create thousands of new IT posts

  (B) the pool of skilled IT people will get even smaller in the future

  (C) company budgets for IT training have been decreasing steadily

  (D) older IT professionals have no adequate training

  13. What is the possible solution to the long-term problems in the IT industry?

  (A) To offer top rates to attract the best specialist consultants.

  (B) To expand company training programs for new and old employees.

  (C) To conduct more research into the reasons for staff leaving.

  (D) To ensure that permanent staff earn the same as contract staff.

  14. In some businesses in the financial services sector, the IT staffing problem has led to _____.

  (A) additional benefits for skilled staff after a specified period of time

  (B) more employees seeking alternative employment in the public sector

  (C) the loss of customers to rival organizations

  (D) more flexible conditions of work for their staff

  15. Employers accept that IT professionals are more likely to stay in their present post if they ______.

  (A) are set more realistic performance targets

  (B) have a good working relationship with staff in other departments

  (C) are provided with opportunities for professional development

  (D) receive a remuneration package at top market rates

  Questions 16~20

  Declan Mayes, President of the Music Buyers Association, is furious at a recent announcement by the recording industry regarding people downloading MP3 music files from the Internet as actual criminals.

  A few parallels may be instructive. If someone copies an audio music cassette for their own private use, they are, strictly speaking, breaking the law. But recording companies have usually turned a blind eye to this practice because prosecuting the few people involved would be difficult, and the financial loss to the company itself is not considered significant. Now the Music Recording Association has announced that it regards individuals downloading music from the Internet as pirates, claiming that they damage the industry in just the same way. "The industry is completely overreacting; it'll be a laughing stock," says Mayes. "They're going to arrest some teenager downloading files in his bedroom—and sue him for thousands of dollars! This isn't going to frighten anyone into buying CDs".

  Mayes may have a point. There is a general consensus that CD pirates should be subjected to the full wrath of the law, but few would see an individual downloading music for his or her own pleasure in the same light. However, downloading music files illegally is not as innocuous as making private copies of audio cassettes. The scratchy, distorted cassette copy is a poor version of the original recording, whereas an MP3 file is of high quality and can be stored—on a CD, for example. It is this that makes the practice a powerful temptation for music fans, given the high cost of CDs.

  What does Mayes think about claims that music companies could be forced out of business by people downloading music illegally? That's nonsense. Music companies are always whining about high costs, but that doesn't prevent them from recording hundreds of CDs by completely unknown artists, many of whom are "packaged" by marketing departments to appeal to young consumers. The companies are simply hoping that one of these new bands or signers will be a hit, and although it can be expensive to promote new artists, the cost of manufacturing the CDs is actually very low.

  This last point would appear to be the focus of resentment against music companies: a CD is far cheaper to produce than its price in the shops would indicate, and profit margins for the music companies are huge. An adult with a reasonable income may not object to paying £15 for a CD of classical music, but a teenager buying a CD by the latest pop sensation may find that price rather steep—especially since the latest pop sensation is almost certain to be forgotten within a few months. And while the recording industry can't be held responsible for the evanescent nature of fame, given the teenage appetite for anything novel, it could lower the prices it charges—especially since technology is making CDs even cheaper to produce.

  This is what Mayes hopes will happen. If the music industry stops exploiting the music-buying public, it can survive. Everyone would rather buy a CD, with an attractive jacket and booklet, than mess around downloading files, but the price has to be reasonable. The problem isn't going to vanish if the industry carries on trying to make a quick profit. Technology has caught up with the music companies, and trying to fight it by taking people to court will only earn money for the lawyers.

  16. Mayes thinks that the recording industry's recent announcement ______.

  (A) fails to take into account the difficulties of prosecuting offenders

  (B) makes the industry appear ridiculous

  (C) will deter consumers from buying CDs

  (D) will encourage resentment of CD piracy

  17. Why does the writer feel that MP3 files are unlike copies of audio cassettes?

  (A) Downloaded MP3 files are generally not for private use.

  (B) The financial losses to the music industry are greater.

  (C) The price of MP3s is higher than that of audio cassettes.

  (D) There is a significant difference in quality.

  18. According to the passage, Mayes implies that music companies ______.

  (A) could cut costs by making cheaper CDs

  (B) should not promote artists who are unknown

  (C) are speculating when they promote new artists

  (D) should use different manufacturing processes

  19. The author points out that the music industry cannot be blamed for ______.

  (A) the fact that fewer teenagers are buying classical music CDs

  (B) the fact that fashions change quickly

  (C) the poor quality of modern music

  (D) the prices that are charged for CDs in shops

  20. What does Mayes think is at the root of the survival problem facing the music industry?

  (A) The unprecedented speed of technological development.

  (B) Unrealistic legal advice and practice.

  (C) Its failure to adopt an appropriate pricing strategy.

  (D) The rapidly changing nature of contemporary music.

 

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