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Off topic: Do translators read a lot and faster?
Thread poster: Christine Ghafoor

Christine Ghafoor
United States
Local time: 03:02
Member
English to French
Dec 23, 2010

Hi,

Do you read a lot? How many books do you read per year? And how many pages do you read per hour, in your native language?

Christine


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Paul Tyminski
Poland
Local time: 09:02
English to Polish
+ ...
Not nearly enough. Dec 23, 2010

About 50-70 books a year, give or take. The reading speed depends on the complexity of the text...about 120 pages per hour.

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Anja Weggel  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:02
Member (2007)
English to German
Same here Dec 24, 2010

I grew up being a huge bookworm. Today, I probably still read more than the average human being but since I read all day on my computer, I don't read as many books in addition to my work. However, I indeed notice that I read faster. Again, in comparison to other people. I guess, it is the routine you gain when you are reading pages over pages for many years.

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michelelemieux  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 03:02
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Amazed! Dec 24, 2010

Wow! You guys amaze me! Where do you find the time?

Do you read to learn new words or do you read for the pleasure of it?

I would love to read more, but between work, cooking, the house, the family in 2 countries I run out of time to read books! Magazines, though, oh yes!

Michèle


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Daniel Weston  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:02
French to English
+ ...
Can't read enough! Dec 24, 2010

As others have commented, although I love to read I can't seem to do it when I finally finish my work - my eyes are too tired! If I have periods of down time, I sometimes read but it depends on how tired I am and how much my batteries need recharging. I certainly don't read as much as I did during the days before I became a tanslator.

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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
About 15-20 books a year Dec 24, 2010

But I agree with the colleague. Where do you find the time to read 70 books a year? I can barely read a chapter a day after the many hours of work and helping with the family and the pets.

As for the question, I am not sure translators read faster and better as a rule. We might even read slower than other people when we read in our source languages, since I am sure we often find interesting words or expressions and make the mental exercise of translating them, which slows the reading process.


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Eyob Fitwi  Identity Verified
Ethiopia
Local time: 10:02
Member (2013)
English to Amharic
+ ...
I like reading, though I'm picky Dec 24, 2010

I like reading and look forward to read about stuff, but I'm pretty picky; I make hard reasearches about a book before acquiring it and I have a limit about the number of first pages I read before I'm impressed that its a book worth my time. This is because I'm a bit tight on available time and I have other interests as well. But I'm active in searching for books or other publications that may interest me.

120 pages an hour?! I'm impressed. I don't think I can read that fast. I think that one of the reasons is that I want to take in and understand as much detail as possible. I think at best I read a two dozen books a year.

I agree on Tomas on the speed of reading. If any, the necessary attention for detail during translation might make us take our time with reading text


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Heinrich Pesch  Identity Verified
Finland
Local time: 10:02
Member (2003)
Finnish to German
+ ...
Rarely in my native language Dec 24, 2010

The last time I read German books were some by Herta Müller, last year's nobelist. Usually I read in English or Finnish, because those are easier to get by. But I don't read regularly, only if I find an interesting subject. Last year's summer I read those 2500 pages of Stieg Larsson's Millenium in Swedish, mostly on the beach. At the moment I'm at Victor Kravchenko and the history of the Soviet Union, got Trotsky's Stalin-biography and some books from the 1930's.
But I'm a slow reader, I read a few pages or a chapter and then close the book and think it over.


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Samuel Murray  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:02
Member (2006)
English to Afrikaans
+ ...
1 or 2 books a year Dec 24, 2010

Ghafoor wrote:
Do you read a lot? How many books do you read per year? And how many pages do you read per hour, in your native language?


I read equally fast in Dutch (3rd language), English (2nd language) and Afrikaans (first language). The speed at which I read depends on how boring the page is -- more boring means more skipping. I rarely read stuff in my native language (very expensive). I read a lot in English, though. Some times I go through periods where I read a book a week, but sometimes months go by without any book reading.


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Laureana Pavon  Identity Verified
Uruguay
Local time: 04:02
Member (2007)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Curious Dec 24, 2010

Paul Tyminski wrote:
The reading speed depends on the complexity of the text...about 120 pages per hour.


I'm curious to know whether anyone else can read about 120 pages per hour. I consider myself to be a fast reader, but I could never read 120 pages in one hour, let alone do it on a regular basis.


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Suzan Hamer  Identity Verified
Netherlands
Local time: 09:02
English
+ ...
I read about a book a week. Dec 24, 2010

Cuts into my sleeping time though. As much as I like to sleep, I guess I like to read more. Too bad we can't attach an Amazon Reading List (or something similar) to our ProZ.com profiles the way you can to a LinkedIn profile. You can show what book you're currently reading or have read or wish to read. (You can see what it looks like here: http://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=37944195&authType=name&authToken=0k9c&locale=en_US&pvs=pp&pohelp=&trk=ppro_viewmore .)

[Edited at 2010-12-24 14:49 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-24 14:50 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-24 14:52 GMT]

[Edited at 2010-12-24 14:52 GMT]


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 09:02
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
How fast can you eat? Dec 24, 2010

Can you swallow a 500-gram steak in 3 minutes? Wow, that is impressive. Did you enjoy it at that speed?

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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 03:02
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I read a lot, and slower. Dec 24, 2010

Tomás Cano Binder, CT wrote:

Can you swallow a 500-gram steak in 3 minutes? Wow, that is impressive. Did you enjoy it at that speed?

Exactly what I was thinking, Tomás. I love to read for relaxation, and when I'm not researching a translation, most of my reading is fiction. I'm probably a faster-than-average reader, but becoming a translator has slowed me down. I savor words more--and get more distracted by thinking, "How would I translate that?"

Jane

[Edited at 2010-12-24 16:59 GMT]


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Paul Tyminski
Poland
Local time: 09:02
English to Polish
+ ...
Heh.... Dec 24, 2010

Laureana Pavon wrote:

Paul Tyminski wrote:
The reading speed depends on the complexity of the text...about 120 pages per hour.


I'm curious to know whether anyone else can read about 120 pages per hour. I consider myself to be a fast reader, but I could never read 120 pages in one hour, let alone do it on a regular basis.



Well, I come from a whole family of fast readers, maybe it's in the genetics:)

And as far as the amount of books goes. I'm not a bookworm - I'm a book Maniac. When I find one in my hands, then it's all over - no sleep, no eating (and sometimes no work...). Yup, it's an addiction.

I try to control myself lately though. Too much work on my hands and not enough time.


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Germaine  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 03:02
Member (2005)
English to French
+ ...
Read a lot, at variable speed Dec 24, 2010

I usually read 350-400 words/minute, 700 when I search for a particular information. I read a lot for work so, for relaxation, I turn to television. Nevertheless, there is always a pile of books (usually fantasy or novels) waiting for the summer and winter holidays.
A client of mines probably beats Paul's 120 pages/hr: after scrolling down full pages of text over my shoulder in seconds, he turns on the television and starts indicating typos and dictate revisions while watching basketball...


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