PARIS—With their trendy haircuts, magazine good looks and superstar swagger they could be a boy band. And indeed Xu Xin, Zhang Jike, Wang Hao and Ma Long are bona fide A-listers, their names and faces known to hundreds of millions. They can't walk down the street without being mobbed by fans.
许昕、张继科、王皓和马龙这几个人留着时尚的发型,有着杂志封面照片人物那样的俊朗外表以及超级明星般的趾高气扬,说他们像个男声演唱组合也不为过。事实上,这几个人真的是一线明星,他们的名字和面孔为数亿人所知晓。他们如果在大街上行走肯定会被热情的粉丝所包围。

But their skills aren't in singing and dancing. They put on their shows with devastating flicks, lobs, chop-blocks and loop-drives. These four were the core of the table-tennis team representing China at the World Table Tennis Championships that concluded here on Monday, with Zhang defeating Wang to retain the title he won in Rotterdam two years ago and repeat his performance in the Olympic final.
但这几个人的技艺并非唱歌和跳舞。他们表演的是推挡、挑高球、打旋转球和弧线球。在周一于巴黎结束的世界乒乓球锦标赛上,这四人是中国乒乓球队的核心球员。在决赛中张继科战胜王皓,继两年前的鹿特丹世乒赛后再度成为世界乒乓球锦标赛的男子单打冠军,而他此次也再度上演了2012年伦敦奥运会乒乓球男单决赛中战胜王皓的那一幕。

Even though many in the West are utterly unaware of their existence, they are some of the biggest names in world sport.
虽然许多西方人根本不知道这几个人的存在,但他们却是世界体育界的一些最大牌人物。

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The 25-year-old Zhang is the current megastar of table tennis. He was the first person to hold the Olympic, World Cup and World Championship titles at the same time, which made him a household name in China, and landed him gigs advertising Kia cars and a Coca-Cola KO -0.09% television ad campaign.
今年25岁的张继科是乒乓球界目前的超级巨星。他是乒乓球运动史上首位集奥运会、世界杯和世锦赛男单冠军头衔于一身的运动员,这使他成为中国家喻户晓的人物,并在电视广告中为起亚(Kia)汽车和可口可乐(Coca-Cola)代言。

It's unclear how much he earns, with rumors putting him comfortably in seven figures, but the Maserati he drives to training suggests he is doing just fine. And being a double world champion can only help.
人们不清楚他的收入是多少,有传言说他的收入达到七位数绰绰有余,但从他开着前往训练场的玛莎拉蒂(Maserati)跑车看,他的收入肯定很不错。而蝉联世乒赛冠军只会使他的收入更上一层楼。

With red tints in his hair, and a habit of tearing off his shirt to reveal a muscular torso and a tattoo of wings across his back with the word "Perseverance" beneath—something which shocks many people in China, where tattoos are rare—Zhang has something of a bad-boy image. His romantic life is gossiped about, and he has 4.1 million followers on Weibo, China's answer to Twitter. ( Rafael Nadal has 4.2 million on Twitter.)
张继科将头发染成了红色,他还有在比赛中扯开运动衫以展示身上肌肉的习惯,他的后背有一个鹰状纹身,这一图案下还纹着Perseverance(坚持不懈)这个英文词。张继科的这些装扮和做派使许多中国人感到震惊,中国很少有人纹身,这使得张继科有了某种程度的坏男孩形象。他的浪漫故事被喜欢传八卦的人津津乐道,他在微博上有410万粉丝。(网球明星纳达尔(Rafael Nadal)在推特(Twitter)上有420万粉丝。)

"The top players are like Messi or Ronaldo are in Europe or the Americas," said Vladimir Samsonov, the Belarussian table-tennis player who has been at the top of the sport for 20 years and used to play in China regularly. "In the street, you always see posters of them advertising the big companies. They're huge stars.
白俄罗斯乒乓球运动员萨姆索诺夫(Vladimir Samsonov)说,顶级乒乓球运动员在中国的地位就像梅西(Messi)和罗纳尔多(Ronaldo)在欧洲和美洲的地位一样。萨姆索诺夫20年来一直跻身世界最优秀的乒乓球运动员之列,他过去经常定期在中国打球。他说,在中国,人们总是能看到知名乒乓球运动员为大公司做广告的海报,他们是巨星。

"And even me, too," he said, laughing. "When I arrived in the airport you could sense that people thought something was happening."
萨姆索诺夫说,甚至我在中国也是巨星。他大笑着说,当我抵达机场时,你能感觉到人们认为某个大人物出现了

Samsonov's career peaked at a time when the world's best players were European, but now that the Chinese have regained the ascendancy the game is more popular and, paradoxically, top Europeans are even bigger stars in China. Timo Boll, the fifth-seeded German who is the world's top non-Chinese player, has profited from this.
萨姆索诺夫在自己职业生涯最高峰时,世界最优秀的乒乓球运动员是欧洲人,但由于中国现在已经在乒乓球运动中重新占据了优势地位,这项运动在中国更受欢迎了,然而吊诡的是,欧洲的顶级乒乓球运动员在中国的名气却更大了。在此次巴黎世乒赛上被列为第五号种子选手的德国人波尔(Timo Boll)便从中得到了好处。波尔是世界排名最高的非中国籍男子乒乓球运动员。

Boll has 5,000 Twitter followers, but 1.1 million on Weibo. His endorsement list doesn't end with a deal from Butterfly, the Japanese equipment company. He is the face in China of mining giant RAG and heating systems firm Viessman, appearing on billboards and print ads.
他在推特上有5,000名粉丝,但在微博上却有110万粉丝。波尔的赞助商可不仅有日本的乒乓用品生产商蝴蝶公司(Butterfly),他还是矿业巨头RAG以及加热系统生产商菲斯曼公司(Viessman)在中国的代言人,波尔的形象经常出现在广告牌和平面广告上。

"I can be a normal person in Germany, I get recognized, but you can't compare it to China, where nearly everyone knows my name," he said. "If one person recognizes you in a restaurant they tell another and you hear your name going round like a fire."
他说,在德国我就是个普通人,虽然有人能认出我,但和在中国没法比,在中国几乎人人都知道我的名字;如果有人在餐馆认出了你,然后再告诉他旁边的人,就会听到周围所有的人都在叫出你的名字。

And the perks aren't only financial. There are also ping-pong groupies. "Yes, they wait in hotels and in front of the venues," Boll said.
好处不仅体现在金钱上。还有乒乓球迷。波尔说,是的,他们会在酒店和比赛场馆门口等着你。

With great fame comes great pressure, though. Players from Kazakhstan, Costa Rica, Namibia and Nepal were clearly happy enough to have simply qualified for the tournament last week.
不过,名气越大,压力也越大。哈萨克斯坦、哥斯达黎加、纳米比亚和尼泊尔的运动员只是因为有资格参加上周的比赛,看起来就已经非常开心了。

But it wasn't fun for everyone. China's Ma Long, the former world No. 1 who was dropped from the Olympic team for his tendency to crumble under pressure, trained with the look of a man walking down the aisle to a shotgun wedding, which continued throughout a bad loss in the semi to Wang. Zhang, meanwhile, wore an expression of physical pain.
但并不是人人都开心。曾经排名世界第一的中国选手马龙曾经因为容易受压力影响而未能参加奥运会男单比赛。他的表情看起来就像走在红毯上的不情愿的新郎,直到在半决赛中惨败给王皓。而张继科的表情就像是身体上哪个部位正承受疼痛似的。

The reason for their nerves, perhaps, was the presence of their 23-year-old teammate Xu Xin, the freewheeling young gun who has leapfrogged them both to become world No. 1 and started as the tournament's top seed. His flamboyant shots have made him the new face of Stiga, the Swedish manufacturer.
他们紧张的原因可能在于他们23岁的队友许昕。这个无拘无束的年轻人已经超过了马龙和张继科,成为了世界排名第一的选手,也是这次比赛的头号种子选手。他凭借华丽的击球成为瑞典制造商斯蒂卡(Stiga)的新代言人。

During practice Xu wore a big smile and a T-shirt emblazoned with the devastating slogan "The King of Table Tennis". It didn't seem to be helping Ma or Zhang's moods. (Though maybe it helped Zhang's determination: he thrashed Xu 4-0 in the semifinal.)
在训练中,许昕满脸笑容,穿着一件T恤衫,上面印着醒目的几个霸气的字:乒乓之王。这似乎无益于马龙或张继科的心情。(不过可能助长了张继科赢得比赛的决心:他在半决赛以四比零的比分横扫了许昕。)

Talking to Xu, it's clear that he is not quite a superstar yet. He doesn't have any non-table tennis sponsorships and only has 1.3 million Weibo followers—a number well outside the league of his superstar compatriots. He said just one magazine has interviewed him about his private life.
与许昕交谈过了就知道,他还不能算是一个超级明星。他没有任何非乒乓球的代言活动,只有130万微博粉丝,和中国的许多超级明星根本没法比。他说,只有一家杂志采访过他的个人生活。

Did it ask about girls? "I'm not interested in girls," Xu said. Cars then? "I'm very interested in cars," he said, adding that his dream ride would be a BMW BMW.XE -0.26% 3 series.
那家杂志是不是问了你和女孩子的事?许昕说,我现在对女孩子还不感兴趣。我喜欢汽车。他补充说,他梦想中的座驾是一辆宝马3系。

Managing their turbocharged egos is the men's team coach, Liu Guoliang. He was famous during his playing days for epic battles with Swedish great Jan-Ove Waldner, the first table-tennis millionaire who at one point owned a chain of bars in China. A veteran of TV talk-shows, Liu has as many social media followers as David Beckham.
负责管理他们汹涌澎湃的自我的,是男子乒乓球队的主教练刘国梁。他在还是运动员时因为与瑞典名将瓦尔德内尔(Jan-Ove Waldner)的史诗般的战役而成名。瓦尔德内尔是乒球界的第一位百万富翁,曾经在中国开过一个酒吧连锁。刘国梁是电视脱口秀节目的常客,在社交媒体上的关注者和贝克汉姆(David Beckham)的一样多。

In a break from a training session during which he was firing balls at his charges with alarming speed, Liu admitted his fame comes with boatloads of pressure.
训练过程中,刘国梁总是以惊人的速度示范发球。刘国梁在训练间隙承认,名气也给他带来了许多压力。

"Sometimes I feel like this, but I am recognized as part of the team, not as a person. I am not influenced by media and fans," he said. "Table tennis has become bigger, there is more stress"
他说,有时我感觉,别人把我当做乒乓球队的一部分,而不是一个人;我没有受到媒体和粉丝的影响,乒乓球变大了,压力也大了。

"But," Liu added with a steely look, "that makes the players more motivated."
刘国梁表情刚毅地补充说,这让运动员更有动力。

That, along with the promise of sponsorship, devoted followers and that BMW.
没错,不过谈到动力,还得加上未来成为代言人的机会、忠诚的粉丝和宝马车。