How paperless is your office
Thread poster: Anil Gidwani

Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:24
German to English
+ ...
Sep 12, 2008

It's been a corporate dream for over a decade now: a paperless office.

Translation would appear to be one of the first professions in the world to have the potential to break through the barrier and become truly paperless.

Pretty much everything we do is paperless. From the delivery of raw materials (the source document, TMs etc.), shipment of the finished product (the translated document) through to invoicing and payment, no paper documents need be handled. Even bank statements have turned digital and can be downloaded off a bank's website. The only other industry that might come close is IT.

About the only places where I find the need for paper is when signing terms and conditions/agreement to be faxed to outsourcers (and even this need will go down once electronic signatures get more widely accepted), and when I have to attach any statements to my tax returns. As far as proofreading off paper documents, while some people seem to prefer it, I tend to proofread my translations inline without the use of a printout.

How paperless is your office?


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Nicole Y. Adams, M.A.  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 19:54
Member (2006)
German to English
+ ...
95% Sep 12, 2008

Hi Anil,

I would say mine is 95% paperless. I only need to print out the occasional invoice for a German client who insists on receiving invoices per post, and occasionally an NDA needs to be signed and scanned. And of course certified translations which need a stamp and need to be sent as hard copies. Other than that, fully paperless (thank goodness)!

Nicole

[Edited at 2008-09-12 18:10]


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
Paper Documents Sep 12, 2008

Paper documents are my bread and butter. I have to provide the translations certified for court purposes so I'm still generating a bunch of paper.

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Jack Doughty  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 10:54
Member (2000)
Russian to English
+ ...
Choc-a-bloc Sep 12, 2008

"How paperful is your office?" would have been a better question for me.

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LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I print everything Sep 12, 2008

I print out all my documents (both source and final translation). I recently did a 250-page job that was a .pdf file and I cannot imagine not having a paper copy to work from. I do one full edit on screen and then print out the document for a final editing - there are always lots of things I miss if I do not print it out. I then enter all the corrections and print it out again for a final read. This is an indispensable step for me. Of course, I do not use CAT tools, so I do not need to stop typing after every sentence, so more time may be needed for editing. Needless to say, I keep my shredder quite busy.



[Edited at 2008-09-12 20:45]


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RieM  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 05:54
English to Japanese
+ ...
It depends... Sep 12, 2008

...on what I'm translating. If the assignment is a book, an essay, several chapters, an academic paper, documents with lots of illustrations/graphics, then I prefer to print out.

I seldom print out invoices and NDAs (I use a digital signature if allowed). I think it comes down to people's preference for the most part (except for Henry's case), but I don't think we go totally paperless.

Regards,
Rie


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Marianela Melleda  Identity Verified
Chile
Local time: 06:54
English to Spanish
+ ...
I mostly receive paper originals Sep 12, 2008

I receive a lot of printed material from my local customers.

I also used to print source texts I received by e-mail, so when I was translating on top of the original, if I skipped a word or phrase by overwritting it, I had the printed original to check, but since I have a notebook with a wider screeen, I keep both pages in parallel and forget about printing.

I do my own proofreading, twice, directly on the screen.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 06:54
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Pretty paperless here Sep 12, 2008

I never use paper in conjunction with my translation work. Everything is via e-mail and/or on the screen, one way or another.

I avoid using paper in general. I have had all my paper bills converted to "e-bills" and when I do occasionally have to use paper, I use one side and then cut it up in pieces to use as scrap paper. I'm appalled at how much junk paper comes in the mail that I have to throw out.


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ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 05:54
English to French
+ ...
I only print accounting paperwork Sep 13, 2008

Once in a blue moon, when I have a tight deadline, I print work that needs to be proofread if I know that I have to be some place where I don't have access to a computer. Even at that, I print two pages per page, double-sided (four pages per sheet), not out of financial concern (a penny or two will not boost my finances) but rather because I feel it's a luxury to consume trees for things that don't absolutely need to be printed.

Otherwise, I print out all my invoices (I work mostly on large projects, so I consume maybe two dozen sheets per year for this) and I scan and print out all the cheques I get and I print my PayPal payments. Of course, I print out all my contracts as well. All in all, this amounts to roughly a hundred sheets per year, not even.

I don't buy the paper - I can get all my news online. I have a sticker on my door that says "no flyers please", so I hardly ever get any printed advertizement. I wonder if most large cities in the world have a law like the one in Montreal that forbids companies to drop their advertizement in the mailbox if there is a sticker on the door...

I'd say my office is about 98% paperless. I love paper (books, posters, maps, origami, dictionaries, scrapbooks, etc.), so I always keep everything that is made of paper. If something made out of paper is not worth keeping, I make sure I don't bring it home in the first place.


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 11:54
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
A box of 2.500 sheets of paper a year... Sep 13, 2008

...for a team of 3 people and approximately 10.000 pages translated every year. So pretty paperless I reckon. We use paper mostly for administrative matters and for official accounting documents (invoices, etc.).

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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 11:54
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
You must compare it to something Sep 13, 2008

Anil Gidwani wrote:
It's been a corporate dream for over a decade now: a paperless office.


I suspect the reason for that was that paper has some disadvantages, and if you have lots of paper, you have lots of the disadvantage. But paper also has advantages -- for example, a single sheet of paper it is far more portable than a computer (even a handheld computer).

Translation would appear to be one of the first professions in the world to have the potential to break through the barrier and become truly paperless.


I think the opposite is true, unless you're one of those translators who can review/edit your files on-screen. We essentially work in the print industry, therefore sooner or later the process of our work will involve something printed. It may be that you're only involved in the initial steps, and then you don't print as much. Or, you may be involved in more of the steps, and then you'd also have more printwork.

The only other industry that might come close is IT.


Yet even in the IT industry they recognise the value of paper:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_prototyping

How paperless is your office?


I think you must compare it not to what your office looked like ten years ago, but to what offices like yours would have looked 20 or 30 years ago.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:54
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Unfashionably papery Sep 13, 2008

I fear my office is still somewhat papery.
I prefer to print out the source document, but usually do my proofreading and editing on screen, because that's what I'm used to after all these years, and I prefer to have a paper invoice for my own records and in case the tax man comes to call, even if I send it to the client by email.
Similarly, I prefer to have paper copies of bank statements, utility bills and so on for my tax records.
However, I always re-use my print-outs by printing another source document on the reverse after a few months in an attempt to save paper.

Regards,
Jenny


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FarkasAndras
Local time: 11:54
English to Hungarian
+ ...
fully Sep 13, 2008

I don't really print anything. Actually my printer broke half a year ago so all I use is a notepad for the odd hand written note and of course I occasionally get printed source material to translate.

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Anil Gidwani  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 15:24
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
On-screen or off-screen editing Sep 13, 2008

Samuel Murray wrote:

Translation would appear to be one of the first professions in the world to have the potential to break through the barrier and become truly paperless.


I think the opposite is true, unless you're one of those translators who can review/edit your files on-screen.


I'd be interested in switching to paper if there are any compelling advantages to reviewing/editing files on paper. I concede there may be some, although I am not aware of them. On the other hand, while some of the disadvantages of reviewing/editing on-screen are well-known, such as the very real and serious lack of screen real estate, the advantages of on-screen reviewing/editing are too numerous to recount.

We essentially work in the print industry, therefore sooner or later the process of our work will involve something printed. It may be that you're only involved in the initial steps, and then you don't print as much. Or, you may be involved in more of the steps, and then you'd also have more printwork.


Not really. Not all of our output is destined for the print media. It may be true of reports, financial statements, product manuals etc. but much of what we produce may never get printed and simply viewed on-screen, such as legal correspondence, for instance. In any case, except for Henry's case with court translations, "our part" of the supply chain, namely translation, rarely gets involved with print.



Yet even in the IT industry they recognise the value of paper:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_prototyping



Now there's an unusual but practical instance of the use of paper. I'd never have guessed it, seeing that I've not been actively involved in software development for quite a few years now.



[Edited at 2008-09-13 11:12]


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Rimma Kehr
Germany
Local time: 11:54
German to English
+ ...
My office is paperless Sep 13, 2008

Hello Anil,

my home office is paperless, I create everything using my PC, in Word, Excel, Access, FrameMaker and other software.
In case I have to send somebody a letter, I use my E-Mail, I use Online banking too.
My customers send me source files for translations using E-Mail, they attach files in Word or they scan source files and send me as *.jpg. They receive translated target files as PDF files.
Only in case my customers need a signed translation, I ask them to send me the source by the post office, and I have to send them my translations back with the source documents.
As usual, all important papers (bills, bank documents, etc.) should be saved in paper form, and I do it, but I scan them and save in *.jpg or in *.pdf format in accordance to their subdirectories.
I print colour documents used for DTP and graphic design, to check their quality before they will be sent to my customers.

Best regards

Rimma Kehr


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