Off topic: Do you 'mime' when you translate?
Thread poster: Claudia Alvis

Claudia Alvis  Identity Verified
Peru
Local time: 17:48
Partial member
Spanish
+ ...
Aug 4, 2006

I tend to move my hands when I talk, a lot. And I hadn't noticed until somebody pointed it out , but I also move hands when I translate. Not to type, but to mime what I'm translating.

When I'm translating, usually my hands are on the keyboard, then they move towards my mouse or to a dictionary and then back to the keyboard. But sometimes I run across one of those terms I know the meaning of, but I can't come up with THE perfect word for the particular context.

For example, I'm translating a transmitter manual and I read "embedded antenna", I know what that means, I know what it looks like, and I know I may have translated that term before. But I also know that it's gonna take me more than 2 seconds to find the right word for 'embedded', so before resorting to the thesaurus, I move my hands away from the keyboard and I start miming whan an embedded antenna looks like. So my left hand becomes the transmitter and right hand's index finger is the antenna and there I am doing these funny (funny weird, and a little ha ha) gestures, my index finger--or the antenna, frenetically pointing towards the floor and my left fist desperately trying to look like a transmitter, and then ... BAM!!!! I've got the word. It took me less time "miming out" the word than opening the elmundo.es thesaurus website (which by the way, is only one-click away in my browser).

But this time I found myself very aware of my funny (weird) and frequent habit and I am so glad that no one's around to see me working. So I was wondering, do you also mime when you translate? or am I the only wacko around?

[Edited at 2006-08-04 01:37]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 16:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Interpreting Aug 4, 2006

I do it when I'm interpreting, but when translating all the funny stuff is happening in my brain so there are no exterior symptoms.

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Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 17:48
French to Spanish
+ ...
You're a wacko! Aug 4, 2006

I'm lefty... they say we have two brains... I "talk" a lot with my hands, and my body, indeed, can't help it, and I have no Italian ancestors, as far as I know, no offense.
I'm quite good telling jokes too... with a lot of mimes... that makes it funnier, don't it?
But when it comes to translate, no way! I need silence, a lot, no movement, no distraction, not a leave falling, no music at all, please, scraching lightly my hair, two brains working a hundred milles per hour, flashing back. And then, bang!, as you say... that's the word, that's the sentence!
No, you're no wacko... just different ways to get there.
Regards.



[Editado a las 2006-08-04 02:51]


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 18:48
English to French
+ ...
I guess you're visual Aug 4, 2006

That may be the reason behind your funny mimicking.

I am not as much visual but my brain relies a lot on audio. So, while I don't do the funny gestures you do - I agree, it must be one hell of a pretty sight! - I have conversations. Yes, yes, conversations with myself! Call it multiple personality disorder if you want... I pretend to be several persons having a chat about the subject of my translation. We (I?) have a conversation in the target language and pretend to be just in the situation where the word I'm looking for would come up - and bang! There it is!

I guess I sound just about as funny as you look while working.

Could it be that freelancing is tough on the brain in the long term and that, in time, we develop some mental disorders? Hmmm...


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Andrea Ali  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 19:48
Member (2003)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Good to hear I am not the only one! Aug 4, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

... I have conversations. Yes, yes, conversations with myself! Call it multiple personality disorder if you want... I pretend to be several persons having a chat about the subject of my translation. We (I?) have a conversation in the target language and pretend to be just in the situation where the word I'm looking for would come up - and bang! There it is!

I guess I sound just about as funny as you look while working.

Could it be that freelancing is tough on the brain in the long term and that, in time, we develop some mental disorders? Hmmm...


I always speak while translating! From time to time my son asks me, "What did you say, mum?" And my daughter replies, "Forget her. She is talking to herself again..."

No shrinks around I hope


Cheers,
Andrea


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Lorenzo Lilli  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:48
German to Italian
+ ...
my trick Aug 4, 2006

Juan Jacob wrote:

I "talk" a lot with my hands, and my body, indeed, can't help it, and I have no Italian ancestors, as far as I know, no offense.



I don't, even though I'm 100% Italian I have another trick when I just can't find the perfect word. I skype a colleague and explain him the whole thing. He basically does nothing, he just listens (or pretends to ), but in most cases the perfect word comes out naturally while I'm speaking. And it usually works the other way round, too, whenever my colleague asks for help.


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Marion Schimmelpfennig  Identity Verified
Local time: 00:48
Member (2003)
English to German
I ask my monolingual husband Aug 4, 2006

Very funny!!!!

I tend to ask my husband, who speaks only German and thus isn't really equipped to help me translate, but when he's around and I 'search' for the right word in my strained brain, it may go like this:

Honey, tell me quick: What's this odd long device called that is mounted under your car and expels those stinky fumes?

He may answer: You mean an exhaust pipe?

Me: Yeah, that's it!

He: Oh my, and you want to be a translator?


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Ford Prefect  Identity Verified
Burkina Faso
Local time: 22:48
German to English
+ ...
... Aug 4, 2006

I have to move my lips as I read the words, and I follow the line with a finger too.

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ICL  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
What a relief! Aug 4, 2006

Andrea Ali wrote:

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

... I have conversations. Yes, yes, conversations with myself! Call it multiple personality disorder if you want... I pretend to be several persons having a chat about the subject of my translation. We (I?) have a conversation in the target language and pretend to be just in the situation where the word I'm looking for would come up - and bang! There it is!

I guess I sound just about as funny as you look while working.

Could it be that freelancing is tough on the brain in the long term and that, in time, we develop some mental disorders? Hmmm...


I always speak while translating! From time to time my son asks me, "What did you say, mum?" And my daughter replies, "Forget her. She is talking to herself again..."

No shrinks around I hope

Cheers,
Andrea


I am so glad I am not the only one who "speaks" while working!!! Phew!!

In my case, though, I just read the translated phrases out loud to be able to decide if they "sound" correctly translated (like when you read a poem).

And yes, maybe freelancing is tough on the brain....



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Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 00:48
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Just wanted to share Aug 4, 2006

When I was green at this job (oh, well, the Parrot still is), I was working in-house as an translator-interpreter trainee at an international convention center.

The center complex included several theatres, apart from the convention venue. Sometimes, in fact, our assignments involved international film festivals.

One day, I opened a theatre door and there was Japanese prima ballerina Yoko Morishita rehearsing "the Dying Swan" with an orchestra that didn't seem to hit the right beat. At that point, the conductor rapped the lectern. The music died down, very gradually, the way live orchestra music does when it's interrupted. Yoko Morishita danced to each imperfect note, "dying down" with the music. And suddenly I thought, "that's the way my profession should play it!"


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Dina Abdo  Identity Verified
Palestine
Local time: 01:48
Member (2005)
Arabic
+ ...
No you're not the only one :) Aug 4, 2006

I don't even just "mime" ... I even start talking to "ME", or shouting at "ME" or hitting "MY" head. Especially when I know that I KNOW THAT WORD but I find it no where in my brain archive.

It's not as silly as you may think. Even more, it may be helpful some times :

When I'm working with my 4-years-old son around. He can't help but to keep saying "MAMA" ... you know how kids are when you're spending time on things other but them. Those mimes and self-talks pays his attention, and he even sits by my side sometimes just to watch me doing that and laugh at me.

The good thing is: he stops talking and shouting "mama" and starts listening to me instead And trust me, that saves me a lot of time when I need it


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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 15:48
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Me too! Aug 4, 2006

I can't say I "mime" a lot, but when I just can't get to the word I sometimes move my hands and try to mimic the action. But I'd say it only happens on a last-resort basis...

When I get stuck I try to take a five-minute break and go get myself something to drink, or pick up the mail, or do the dishes. Sometimes I try asking my husband, but while I'm in the process of explaining to him what is the word I need he ends up saying, "There you go, you just explained it to me!" Sometimes it's really hard to get the one specific word out of him, but I guess his being monolingual is an advantage when I'm caught up in that situation.


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Sara Noss  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 23:48
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
conversation and gesticulation Aug 4, 2006

I do both. It helps the thought processes. I even argue with myself...mainly when I have driven everybody else mad!

It is the best way to give birth to new ideas or appropriate solutions.

Caution: you may be the recipient of a few 'funny looks' and this is best avoided on public transport.

Sara.



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juvera  Identity Verified
Local time: 23:48
English to Hungarian
+ ...
I don't know... Aug 8, 2006

Viktoria Gimbe wrote:

I guess, you're visual

That may be the reason behind your funny mimicking.

I am not as much visual but my brain relies a lot on audio. So, while I don't do the funny gestures you do - I agree, it must be one hell of a pretty sight! - I have conversations. Yes, yes, conversations with myself! Call it multiple personality disorder if you want... I pretend to be several persons having a chat about the subject of my translation. We (I?) have a conversation in the target language and pretend to be just in the situation where the word I'm looking for would come up - and bang! There it is!
Hmmm...


I am VERY visual, and still.... I have to mutter and talk, argue with myself or "read aloud" when I am translating, particularly when I get stuck. The final question is: does it sound right?

Word are words, after all, they are associated with sounds.
(I think)


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