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Off topic: Concentration when translating - to what degree?
Thread poster: Veronika Hansova

Veronika Hansova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
Nov 22, 2005

Hello everybody in the translators' tribe!

I wonder how much you need to concentrate and how much and what kind of distraction you can stand when translating?
For instance I cannot listen to the radio or any kind of music (which is quite strange since I spent my university studies while listening to all kinds of music while learning), noone is allowed to speak to me and I can hardly stand any other person in my workroom (i.e. when my partner comes back from work and goes on working on his computer beside me). I need to have a view of somethin peaceful outside from my window ... It looks like I am quite unsociable and pampered but only under those conditions I can do my best with 100% concentration.
On the contrary my sister who translates in three languages (compared to mehas her wrking table and computer in their living room and she can work while her husband watches TV, kids are hunting each other and their parrot is constantly shrieking.
So how difficult it is for you to concentrate? And what you can/cannot do when translating?
Thanks for any reply...
V.


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Orla Ryan  Identity Verified
Ireland
Local time: 21:59
... Nov 22, 2005

I can usually work with the radio on in the morning. If it is a very intense text, then I won't have the radio/music player on.

I find it very hard to work in the afternoon, but at nighttime, I'm alert and bright again. So for me, it is a question of timing and not noise.

I live near Dublin city centre, so I'm immune to the traffic outside, but if a car alarm goes off, I can't concentrate at all!I grew up with a sister with an awful taste in playing music that for some reason could only be played at MAXIMUM VOLUME. My mom used to mind kids after school.... so try studying for your final school exams with Garth Brooks yodelling and screeching kids running all over the house!!
My noise tolerance built up pretty quickly !

O.


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slabejka
Local time: 22:59
Slovak to English
interferences don't bother me Nov 22, 2005

Veronika, you say that you need absolute peace while translating. I'm just glad that I don't have that issue because I live in a 1-room flat with a partner and I wouldn't be able to work at all! My only distraction is music, I can't listen to music while translating because I find myself paying more attention to the music and singing along rather than paying attention to my text. But for some reason I need some background noise, so I usually have the television on all day (weird, I know). Although, it does distract me if my partner decides to watch football or some other sport (especially Formula 1), because I am sure that he is partially deaf and he cranks the volume to the point that I'm sure even the neighbors enjoy (or not) the programme. Other than that, he can talk to me and ask me questions, it doesn't seem to affect my concentration. I hope you can find some techniques to help you with this!

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Burrell  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:59
Member (2004)
English to Latvian
+ ...
No parrot Nov 22, 2005

But otherwise I have the same situation like your sister. Unfortunately I am not happy with it but not much else I can do. I have a few hours peace when kids are at school but I am not a morning person at all, my brain just seems frozen. When kids arrive from school the peace is gone and I have to resort to yelling at them for fighting and shouting in the dining room where I have set up my office.
I would like to have peace and quiet (or as my kids say - a peace of quiet) when I work, but life is not about what you want, it is about what you can get.
I suppose I can be really grateful that I do not have the parrot thought.


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Raffaella Cornacchini  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
English to Italian
+ ...
phone ringing... brrrr! Nov 22, 2005

I can manage background noise and multiple tasks, music is welcome but constant telephone interruptions drive me mad (I work in an office, you know)!
raffa1


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Elías Sauza  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 15:59
Member (2002)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Can't work without music or some noise Nov 22, 2005

It is interesting to read all your different cases. I´d only say that I can't work without music. It is the first thing I do when turn my computer on. My office is a quiet room separated from the house living areas, on a street side. I can see and hear the heavy traffic all day, but just hear it. It doesn't bother me. At times my wife and kids come in to ask me something and they constantly complain that I ignore them. It is that, after all, I cannot do more than one thing at a time: translating.

Best,

Elías


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Martine Etienne  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
English to French
+ ...
it depends on ... the type of translation and... the deadline Nov 22, 2005

In case of short deadline, I prefer standing alone in my room with noone talking to me and non music or TV. On the other side, it happens to me very often to work in the living room while the other members of the family are doing their own activities : tv, radio, homework... It is rather a question of difficulty.

Being alone all day, I also like working in the familial atmosphere in the evening.

Well, noone is the same...:)


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Jörgen Slet  Identity Verified
Estonia
Local time: 23:59
English to Estonian
+ ...
I like some noise Nov 22, 2005

When I have enough time I prefer people and everyday noise around me. I can talk to others, although I don't catch everything.

When I'm in a great hurry I prefer a quieter setting, no music, I ignore everything around me and I work at a crazy speed. Lately it is harder to switch into this mode and I can't maintain it for long. When I was writing my bachelor thesis, I stayed in this mode continuously for a week or more.

If the setting is *too* quiet and peaceful, my mind easily drifts away from work into random thoughts and I have difficulty doing any work at all.


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Veronika Hansova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Am I the only one? :-) Nov 23, 2005

Dear all,
am I really the only one who needa absolute peace and quite when working on a text? I can't have radio on since I rather listen to what they say (when just playing some music - well, I could stand it for some time). If music, then I prefer Classical or instrumental (no words please!!!)).
I always say that perfect translation requires 100% concentration (which I am able to produce only when nobody is jumping around) and in the evenings I often feel like a beaten dog, like if I wear shoveling coal over all the day long!
But I am happy with my solitude:-)
Thanks for all your answers so far.


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samnunns
Local time: 04:59
English to Chinese
+ ...
My husband Nov 23, 2005

I can't concentrate whenever he comes in and says, " You are working again... I'm bored."

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Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Silence except for my own voice Nov 23, 2005

I like to speak out the words as I write them down. I also like to read the source text out loud. Other than that, the radio or T.V. will just distract me. The reason you turn those things on in the first place is to be entertained.

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Veronika Hansova  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 22:59
Member (2006)
English to Czech
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Talking to myself... oh, man! Nov 23, 2005

Edward Potter wrote:
I like to speak out the words as I write them down. I also like to read the source text out loud.

Oh, yeah, I'am doing that, too! Sometimes - in order to get in the text properly - I try to say that severtimes but always with a different tone, different breath stops etc. Just making sure I achieve the exact meaning and nuances. Sometimes I feel like a loony, talking to myself when counting the characters or just reading the text in different styles;-)


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xxxAWa
Local time: 22:59
English to German
+ ...
With me concentration depends... Nov 23, 2005

.. on the "distraction".

In the the company I worked for as an in-house translator office doors were left open all day. My office was rather close to the office entrance, so people walked by quite frequently or stopped in the hall to chat. Under these conditions, I could concentrate on the translation and ignore everything around me so well, that I literally jumped when suddenly someone stood beside my desk and talked to me. I never noticed them come into my office.

Now, working from home, with my elderly parents and a 15 year old dog living downstairs, I tend to be more alert to "environment sounds" - just in case....

As for listening to music or having the TV-set on - no way. Not just because it would distract me. I simply think hearing music or TV-sound in the background would give a very bad impression to customers who phone. They might think that I have no work to do (and wonder why that's so) or that I might not be fully concentrated on the job at hand (which is not a recommendation either).


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Catherine Bolton  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:59
Member (2002)
Italian to English
+ ...
Silence for me too! Nov 23, 2005

I'm like you! I need total silence. Luckily, we had room to convert a bedroom into my office so I come in and shut the door. If the door's open and my daughter wants to turn on the TV or listen to music, she always walks by to say "I'm shutting your door, Mom"!
I have a windows with a decent view. The only problem is that in the summer I can hear the old guy in the next building playing the organ... same piece over and over and over. Drives me mad!
Catherine


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xxxtazdog
Spain
Local time: 22:59
Spanish to English
+ ...
background noise Nov 23, 2005

I don't need total silence (good thing, too, because I live on a very noisy street), and the TV at a normal volume or people talking in the background don't usually bother me. Music tends to distract me, though.

Note for Catherine: I think I would trade your old guy playing the organ for the woman selling lottery tickets who hangs out in front of the market across the street from my building. She chants "el gordo para hoy, el premio para hoy, el gordo para hoy, el número bonito para hoy" in an endless loop every weekday from about 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sounds like a cat yowling with all the windows closed and gets in your skull like a drill.


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