Off topic: Reading on screen versus reading on paper
Thread poster: Laura Gentili

Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:57
Member (2003)
English to Italian
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Nov 25, 2003

Dear all,
I am trying to find some info about the possible eyesight damages caused by reading on screen versus reading on paper. I am checking this on behalf of a friend of mine who is a consultant for a publishing house and is supposed to read approx. 1,000 pages of drafts a week. She can either read the manuscripts on screen or print them out and read them on paper.
Thank you in advance.
Laura
P.S. She does not edit the manuscripts, she has to read them in order to decide whether they are suitable for an Italian edition or not. In other words, she just reads them.

[Edited at 2003-11-25 14:18]


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Wenke Geddert  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:57
Member (2004)
English to German
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VDU Regulations Nov 25, 2003

Unfortunately, I am not familiar with the Italian legislation on the topic. In the UK however, there are Health & Safety Executive regulations, covering "working with VDUs". The attached link should provide some useful information.

www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/indg36.pdf


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Attila Piróth  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 22:57
Member
English to Hungarian
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I would opt for paper Nov 25, 2003

Laura Gentili wrote:
I am checking this on behalf of a friend of mine who is a consultant for a publishing house and is supposed to read approx. 1,000 pages of drafts a week. She can either read the manuscripts on screen or print them out and read them on paper.


Light coming from the screen (as a light source) tires the eyes more than natural light reflected from the paper. You watch the screen differently: it is a more intense stimulus, so you blink less often.
Recently, I translated an 800-page book, with lots of mathematical formulae. When it came to checking, I preferred printing it, and reading it on paper. I probably got tired more quickly - but not because of my eyes. Probably because the stimulus was lighter. So, without realising it too much, you may tire your eyes quite a lot, if you try to read and correct 200 pages on screen. I also think that a proof-reader/editor will make more errors if (s)he checks the material only on the screen, and not on paper.
1000 pages per week is a lot. So, the best choice should be made. Perhaps she should compare: read and correct 50 pages on screen, and then print out and re-check on paper, and vice versa.


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PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
English to Polish
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Eyes and comfort Nov 25, 2003

In the era of 24" LCD screens, the issue of eye strain is secondary to the issue of reading comfort as such. A good 19" screen (tube) or 17" (LCD) will not cause serious eye strain. This is due both to reduced radiation (non-existent in the case of LCD) and image size.
The issue is, whether you can do the job better with a mouse and keyboard or paper and red pen. Some people, including me, prefer to have a printed copy of the text beside them, even though they are essentially overwriting the source file during translation. Yes, I know you're asking about proofreading, but I would believe the process is similar.
I tend to miss some things on the computer screen that I see on paper, but then again, I am an old geezer by today's post-modernist standards and I belong to the paperback, not the e-book generation.

Cheers,
Pawel Skalinski


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Catherine Harrison  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:57
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
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I agree, Pawel Nov 25, 2003

I agree, Pawel; when you're reading that many pages a week I think comfort is absolutely essential; eyestrain is going to happen no matter what form your material is in. I know when translating, reading from the screen I miss less; but if you're speaking of editing, then I would think that a printed copy would be much easier on the eyes, and the body can get into a more comfortable position, thus avoiding problems with the neck, back, bum, etc., etc.

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Narasimhan Raghavan  Identity Verified
Local time: 02:27
English to Tamil
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Printed copy is better any day Nov 25, 2003

You have said that just reading is involved. For this the printed copy is the best solution for the following reasons:
1. You can read anywhere. No need to depend on the computer. You are not tied down to a place. You can sit on the terrace, in the verandah, lying down in a hammock etc.
2. Reading on screen is more fatiguing for the eyes. And you tend to miss something.

Do you want more?

Regards,

N.Raghavan


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Vicky Shelton  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
Italian to English
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other things to think about Nov 25, 2003

Your friend might want to consider that if she has a printed version she can move around, i.e. if she wants to lounge on the couch and read she can. I am recovering from back surgery due to a problem most likely caused from sitting (albeit incorrectly) for too many hours in front of a PC so my perspective is a bit different.

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NancyLynn
Canada
Local time: 16:57
Member (2002)
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MODERATOR
aches & pains Nov 25, 2003

In addition to back problems, as mentioned above, there is carpel tunnel syndrome associated with repetitive mouse movements when scrolling.
N.


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:57
Member (2003)
German to English
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screen settings Nov 25, 2003

are extremely important. I do quite a bit of on-screen copy editing in Word and have problems with eyestrain. The key is to make the font size small enough so that it can be easily read and that the WIDTH of the document is not too big. I found eyestrain developed from my eyes flicking back to the lefthand side of the document and that it was aggrevated when I wore contact lenses - all that extra weight!!

The font is also very important - personally, I prefer fonts without strong serifs (e.g. Times New Roman, which is horrible to read) and usually use Verdana or even Courier New as it is not proportional although it has light serifs. I find Word documents in Courier New, 12 point, 80% zoom are the best most of the time.

The other important factor is a good screen - I find LCDs much sharper than CRTs.

Some people prefer to work with a hardcopy, but in my case it is too much work if I don't edit as I'm going along.


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Laura Gentili  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 22:57
Member (2003)
English to Italian
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TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much! Nov 25, 2003

Thank you so much for your input. I must add that I am extremely concerned about my friend's eyes (she had problems in the past). I also agree about the other issues, i.e. preventing back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, etc.
Thanks again,
Laura


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lien
Netherlands
Local time: 22:57
English to French
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Funny Nov 26, 2003

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

I find Word documents in Courier New, 12 point, 80% zoom are the best most of the time.


you said that, because I am nearly the same, the best for me to read is Century Gothic 12 at 82%.


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vladex  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:57
Polish
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paper, paper, paper Nov 26, 2003

Gillian Scheibelein wrote:

and usually use Verdana .

So do I

Unless one has to edit, find exact frase or sth like that, its much better to read on paper.
This saves your eyes (unless the text is printed on an extremely shining paper ), saves your hand (mouse), and saves electricity to)))
There are no perfectly quite computers - continuous noise is not good for your health too (it's much better to go to a seaside beach and listen to noise of waves, than noise of a computer )


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Alexandru Pojoga
Romania
Local time: 23:57
Japanese to English
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Paper paper paper! Nov 26, 2003

I was just thinking of it today -- that I *always* catch some extra mistakes on the printout, even after carefully reading on screen.

So paper is standard procedure for me.


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Gillian Scheibelein  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 22:57
Member (2003)
German to English
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Watch width even when printing out Nov 29, 2003

Just another thought: if your friend does decide to print the document out on paper, then I'd avoid printing across a full page as the width is too wide.It would be better to print in 2 columns or with wide margins (heavy on paper). When I print out stuff for reading I print 2 pages per page. The typesetting is of course much smaller, but it is still sufficiently legible and the width is OK. After all, newspapers, magazines etc. are written with several columns.

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