Off topic: What do you have available while working?
Thread poster: Harvey Beasley

Harvey Beasley
Local time: 03:17
Japanese to English
Mar 12, 2007

Hello everyone!

Just curious, what do the translators here have turned on or available to them while working on a project?

I do Japanese to English, and usually have the Space ALC web dictionary, as well as Jim Breen\'s web dictionary, along with my electronic dictionary at hand.

I don\'t use any CAT tools yet, so I usually just have a word processor, and the word list I am maintaining in Excel for myself.

Of course, I\'m usually listening to music as well.

What habits do the rest of you have?

Thanks for sharing!

- Harvey


Els Spin  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nothing special really Mar 12, 2007

Hi Harvey

To get my work going, I need both my electronic dictionaries and my complete library of old-fashioned, lovely smelling books.

I use two CAT tools: an electronic version as well as a live one sleeping in my rather hairy laptop bag.

Oh, and utter silence - but only if I am tired and find it hard to concentrate.
Like nowicon_smile.gif

Have fun!


Nicole Martin
Local time: 13:17
German to English
Too much! Mar 12, 2007

I usually have Outlook, Translator's Workbench (Trados), MultiTerm (Trados) and TagEditor (Trados), a PDF of the original German repair manual I'm translating, an online dictionary and the company's online list of special tools open. So that makes it 7 things minimum. I'll also usually have a couple e-mails open and an Excel file and maybe another Internet Explorer window or two. I'm surprised my computer doesn't just give up and take a nap some days.


Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 10:17
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Interesting question Mar 12, 2007

To tell you the truth, Harvey, if I don't have my screen set up the way I like it, I don't feel comfortable while working... Call me methodic freak if you'd like!icon_smile.gif

I use Linux running a virtual Windows in the background, so I have the advantage of using two different desktops. I've assigned hotkeys to each of them, so it's almost as if I had two monitors (except one is always hidden.)

On Linux I leave my email client (Mozilla Thunderbird) always open with an alert feature turned on to let me know exactly when I receive a new message (the picture of a monkey appears on the lower right corner to warn me someone may have just sent me a new job.) I also leave my web browser open (Mozilla Firefox) with several tabs ready to help me out during research (Google in English, Google in Portuguese, Google in Spanish,, a couple of web dictionaries...). I like listening to the radio or my CDs while working, so I also have a media player (VLC) open on my Linux desktop as well.

My Windows desktop is where I actually work on translations right now, since I use SDL-Trados (I'm playing around with Omega-T, so the day may come when I'll be using Linux exclusively...) I have a wide screen monitor, so the left half of it is reserved for my text editor (MS Word or Trados TagEditor) and the right half is horizontally divided in three areas: Trados Workbench on the upper right corner, Trados Multiterm in the middle, and Babylon glossary on the lower right corner. This way, I don't have to navigate among screens and everything is always visible, right there staring at me.

Apart from the computer, I have my filing cabinet and bookshelf right next to my desk, so all I have to do is turn around and get a hold of any paperwork or paper dictionary I may need. Besides these professional tools, I always have some water, juice or tea with me to keep me hydrated and cereal bars for the occasional snack in the afternoon. I have a very comfortable chair, but sometimes I feel like sitting on a huge exercise ball to work on my balance and strengthen my legs. Under my desk I also have a little step (like those kids use to be able to see themselves in the mirror while brushing their teeth) so I can rest my legs once in a while.

Well, that's the set up I've been working with for a couple of years now. I've realized that it allows me to work faster and more comfortably, minimizing my mouse usage, and keeping everything at hand.

Hope this gives you some good ideas!icon_wink.gif


PAS  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
English to Polish
+ ...
Open stuff Mar 12, 2007

1. source document
2. target document
3. web browser with probably about 30 tabs open (just kidding, but I may have up to 10 different tabs open)
4. electronic technical dictionary
5. "regular" electronic dictionary
6. Copernic Desktop Search to look for stuff in files on my computer
7. jellyfish backgammon - a dirty, cheating bastard of a program!!!

That's the basic setup. I didn't list things like Outlook or explorer because they're not really part of my work. If I'm really busy I don't even open Outlook so I'm not bothered by incoming emails.
I may have more documents open if there are different versions etc.
I listen to music sometimes. Not if I'm really busy, more often when I am checking and proofreading my translation (like nowicon_smile.gif ).
I usually pick an ambient web stream, such as drone zone in, sleepbot or cryosleep.

Pawel Skalinski

[Edited at 2007-03-12 20:36]


Harvey Beasley
Local time: 03:17
Japanese to English
Exercise ball, great idea! Mar 12, 2007

Rafa, the exercise ball is a great idea! Never thought of that!
I need to get started with Omega-T as well, I downloaded it, but haven't taken the time to really figure it out yet. Consider it on my "things to do list".

Those with the powerful monitors make me jealous. I do all my work on a 12" Powerbook. I love the Powerbook for sure, and it suits me well as I live in Japan and am out of my tiny apartment in cafe's working quite often. However the screen real estate on my Powerbook reminds me of my apartment sometimes!


When I mentioned music, I usually listen to classical, ambient stuff ( stuff is great PAS!), or something else without lyrics that will slip into the background to keep me going, while not distracting me.

I can't wait to get settled down and get a giant monitor...

Thanks for sharing everyone this is interesting!



Marc Glinert
Local time: 19:17
English to French
+ ...
Thanks Rafa Mar 13, 2007

Rafa Lombardino wrote:

What a fascinating post. Thanks for sharing that with us, Rafa.

The only thing I'd like to add is that I always have a named and specific Word document (which I in fact call Spellcheck, as this is its main function) open. I use it as a notepad, recording telephone messages, "to do" things, anything really which needs to be written down.

There again, I am in a corporate environment (I am an in-house translator) so perhaps these things arise more frequently than they do for home-based freelancers.


Local time: 19:17
French to Dutch
+ ...
And my list Mar 14, 2007

1. source document saved with another name as the target document
2. Wordfast, the right TM and sometimes the right glossary (if I don't have a glossary, I constantly use the context function Ctrl + Alt + C)
3. IE with Altavista open
4. "regular" electronic dictionary
5. Copernic Desktop Search
6. printer on, always (I am my own proofreader and I need to see the printed source and target text)
7. sometimes, especially in case of huge Powerpoint files or PDF documents, a second, old computer with the source document (another monitor would do the trick, but I don't have one)
8. coffee machine on, kids at school or in bed and everything quiet!


Danae Ferri  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
Norwegian to Greek
+ ...
something to eat Mar 14, 2007

Apart from the necessary (my laptop, electronic and traditional dictionaries etc) I prefer to work in a silent environment (or when I listen to music it must be instrumental) and to be alone (if possible). I also need something to drink (a lot of water and tea) and something to eat while thinking..


ViktoriaG  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:17
English to French
+ ...
The usual stuff Mar 15, 2007

NEO (e-mail interface)
SlimBrowser (tabbed browser, duh! - with 45 thumbnails open...)
Source PDF
a Word file wherein I jot down problematic things to do with the document I'm working on
ExplorerXP (WinXplorer replacement to keep track of files)
XBench (neat TM browser so I have access to infinite TMs, not just the two Trados allows)
...and my favorite, FileSphere, a document management program that has a really neat version management feature and also lets me attach all kinds of information to my files, and it lets me find things even if I don't remember where I put them (keeps things organized for me), and, and....

This is the usual stuff. I also sometimes use a program called QuickKey that lets me insert special characters, like French quotation marks, into TagEditor. I sometimes have some electronic dictionaries open, but right now, everyhting is fine and dandy without them. To think that I have a 17" monitor and I still complain...icon_biggrin.gif

There's lots more, depending on the project, but the above is the routine setup.


Christiane Focking  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:17
French to German
+ ...
Dilo and chocolate May 20, 2007

Using an Apple computer, I can't do without Dilo anymore:
It needs two keystrokes in OmegaT to look up words on Leo.
And chocolate keeps me going...


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