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Off topic: Whistle while you work
Thread poster: xxxIanW
Local time: 13:35
German to English
+ ...
Sep 22, 2003

(As a way of rounding off a long and frustrating day, I thought I would take the time to start a completely frivolous thread which is of no value to anyone whatsoever ...)

A while ago, I had an animated discussion with a colleague on the subject of music at work: some people can listen to music while working, some can’t and some – my father for one – can’t work without it.

Unless I’m proof-reading or am grappling with a very complicated text, I usually have music on my headphones. However, I’ve always wondered whether there are any other translators besides myself who deliberately select music to go with the translation they’re working on.

For instance, on the rare occasions when I get to translate from Italian, I invariably dig out a lovely Etta Scollo CD to get me in the right frame of mind – and Jacques Brel often helps to clear the air of all German before embarking on a French translation. Similarly, I often listen to Leonard Cohen when my texts need a more poetic edge, and to Tori Amos when I need to make an “artistic” text as deliciously unfathomable as the original. And it helps!

How about the rest of you? Any secret musical tips to share with the rest of us? One of my office partners, for instance, has a Robbie Williams CD she keeps for certain occasions – whenever she wants the office to herself ...

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Anil Goyal  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:05
English to Hindi
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Yes, it helps Sep 22, 2003

To me, a CD of Lata Mangeshkar's all time hit, helps in concentrating on the translation.

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Martine Etienne  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
Robbie Williams for the moment Sep 23, 2003

I listen to escapology during hours and hours when I translate from english into french. And I can listen to this same CD 25 times/day/night. I like the guy, his voice, the songs. When something is really difficult, I keep "Angel" turning on.
Why this guy... I am too old to be a fan.. The CD belongs to my daughter.
The funniest is that she has bought me a poster to put in my room, so I can listen to him while looking at him. My husband is really pleased....

I also listen to a dutch group named CLouseau and especcially one single "Domino".

Music is a great part of my life ad without music, i could not work. Strange...

[Edited at 2003-09-23 00:09]

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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
English to Polish
+ ...
Hmmm... Sep 23, 2003

My problem is that I cannot have music playing without actually _listening_ to it, so it usually distracts me, but, as usual, there are exceptions...
Sometimes I play music (classical) on the stereo in the living room, which is as far away from my computer as it can be in our apartment. There are also times (especially late at night) when I play ambient music on the computer CD player. This is "classic" ambient, mind you (Brian Eno, Steve Roach, Robert Fripp's soundscapes). The rule, however, is that I play it at the threshold of hearing. It then mixes with other night sounds to create a specific aural meal that helps me get those last 4 pages done.
I do the spell checking and proofreading next morning.

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Alison Schwitzgebel
Local time: 13:35
Member (2002)
German to English
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No words.... Sep 23, 2003

I almost always have music on while I'm working - Peatbog Fairies' "Welcome to Dun Vegas" and Saltfishforty's "Goose Music" are favorites right now, but whatever I listen to I have one golden rule. NO WORDS. I find that having other words flying around just distracts me from the my translation. I've tried it a few times and have found odd words from the songs appearing in my work. Good job I proof them before sending them off

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Valentina Pecchiar  Identity Verified
English to Italian
+ ...
Jerry Fish and the Mudbug Club... Sep 23, 2003

Though I belong to PAS's and Alison's share:

"My problem is that I cannot have music playing without actually _listening_ to it, so it usually distracts me, but, as usual, there are exceptions..."

while I'm caught in file management tasks or storm the Internet (e.g. when I am not actually writing out) Jerry has been my favorite in the last few months: love, friendship, sharing and all that jazz but no butter whatsoever. The guy's really cool (

Cubanismo's Reencarnation has been a great choice for more DTP'ish tasks.

My 2 cents (and artists)

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vladex  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
+ ...
golden rule Sep 23, 2003

Alison Riddell-Kachur wrote:

I have one golden rule. NO WORDS. I find that having other words flying around just distracts me from the my translation. I've tried it a few times and have found odd words from the songs appearing in my work.

Yeah, it is a golden rule for me too. No words (at least no words in language I know). I has been my rule since I found words from songs in my paper (in a secondary school.)

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Jerzy Czopik  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:35
Member (2003)
Polish to German
+ ...
Music accompanies me the whole time I work Sep 23, 2003

And I work sometimes up to 20 hrs a day...
Never without music in the backround, daytimes even louder, it depends on how complicated things to translate are. Even in the night I listen to music, via headphone or not too loud via loudspeaker.
The music I listen to varies very much from pop to classical, but this does not depend on what I have to translate, but just on the mood of a particular moment.
I don´t actually listen to the music, but it helps me to disconnet from other noises, so I don´t hear people speaking in the background, sometimes I even don´t react on questions asked by my wife...
Work without music in the background is very hard, as I am disconcentrated by the noises from my environment.

So, I belong to the "not able to work without music in the background" class.

Kind regards

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invguy  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
English to Bulgarian
Well, I seem to be an isolated case :( Sep 23, 2003

I can work with any kind of noise around - no problem for me to "switch out" - but NOT with music sounding in my ears. IMO music requires you to dedicate a certain part of your attention to it... for me this is definitely distracting when I do anything that needs in-depth thinking - I just like to concentrate 100%.

OTOH the radio in my car is always on when I'm driving, and I have special tape selections for long journeys. Same when I do technical work like fixing something in my basement mini-workshop or doing repairs around the house.

BTW this may have to do with my tastes: mostly classic pieces - however 'classic' taken in the broad meaning - like Uriah Heep, Led Zeppelin, Elvis, Stan Getz, Aretha Franklin, Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake and Palmer, J.-M. Jarre, ... Creedence Clearwater Revival (yep, one of my all-time favourites ) and some new ones like Tatu, under the influence of my daughter Not mentioning Bulgarian names here because they would mean nothing to most of you guys.

No rap, and no techno, anyway...

Conservative, yes?...

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