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Poll: On average, how many hours of straight translation can you put in?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 12:17
SITE STAFF
Apr 8, 2010

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "On average, how many hours of straight translation can you put in?".

This poll was originally submitted by Nikeeta Kulkarni. View the poll results »



 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member
German to English
+ ...
On average, 4-8 Apr 8, 2010

But my time is normally constrained by external factors, specifically school runs and childcare.

With the children away, as today, I can do 12 hours on the trot (assuming normal toilet breaks, lunch, etc.). But I couldn't do that every day.


 

Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:17
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
What does "can" mean? Apr 8, 2010

My powers of concentration are good. However, there are plenty of reasons why a straight run is not possible. Other clients coming along, wanting a quote for a complex set of files, for example?

Currently, I believe that long straight runs are not even the ideal way to either run a business or organise your time as a whole.


 

Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:17
Member (2006)
German to English
Other - depends Apr 8, 2010

on what condition I am in, how busy, etc. etc. etc.
I have managed 14 hours and did not notice it, but usually 6 hours in one go is not unusual, then I have to take an hours break to carry on afterwards


 

Tatty  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Under pressure Apr 8, 2010

I thought all translators would be able to do a straight 14 hour day +, given the usual food, drink and toilet breaks, for at least several days on the trot. Not that this is ideal of course.

Or does the survey mean without any breaks at all? In which case, I'm not really sure, but I'm sure I could do about 4 hours.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 8, 2010

Non sequitur.

 

Simon Bruni  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:17
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Quality and fatigue Apr 8, 2010

Translation is a complex activity requiring a considerable cognitive effort on various different levels. In my experience the best results are obtained when the brain is 'firing on all cylinders', and this just isn't sustainable over a long period of time.

Obviously it's impossible to never work with a tired mind, but fortunately the effects can be mitigated (breaks, proof-reading after rest/sleep, coffee, sugar...)


 
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Joanna Hald  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 21:17
Danish to Polish
+ ...
Can. But do I want it? Apr 8, 2010

If needed I can work many hours, but do I like it? No!

 

Parrot  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:17
Member
Spanish to English
+ ...
Less than 4 Apr 8, 2010

as I define "straight translation" (absolutely no breaks).

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 20:17
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
The same here... Apr 8, 2010

Maximum 4 hours, with no breaks...

 

Gwenydd Jones  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:17
Member (2009)
Spanish to English
Health and safety Apr 8, 2010

To avoid eye strain/back and neck injuries, I tend to take a 5 minute tea or stretch break about every hour or so, unless I'm working to a very tight deadline.

 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:17
Spanish to English
+ ...
Habit Apr 8, 2010

In my past life as a teacher I was working in spurts of 60 minutes, 90 minutes and 120 minutes, and I find that I still seem to keep to that kind of rhythm, finding that my concentration level starts dipping fast if I don't have a brief break, even if it's just a case of getting up and having a walk out to the patio and back.

That is, of course, if I am not interrupted anyway.


 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:17
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
about two hours Apr 8, 2010

Parrot wrote:

Less than 4)

as I define "straight translation" (absolutely no breaks).


... Then the need for a cup of coffee is overwhelming!

But frequent short breaks do wonders for concentration. Little ideas for improvement come up to the surface and I am sure quality soars.

I actually get far more done in a day if I take proper breaks, and if I look at the result a month or so later, (for instance when the same client sends another job,) the overall quality is far better if I have time to take breaks and do even small jobs in several passes.

Not only do marathons usually end in migraine attacks, but I find myself making silly spelling mistakes and allowing source language interference, translating far too literally and generally not delivering up to standard.


 

Marinus Vesseur  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 12:17
English to Dutch
+ ...
Short spurts Apr 8, 2010

Same here. I do my best quality work under some pressure, but not too much. If the subject is boring or stupid I tend to take more breaks. In that case I have to switch off the Internet to not get distracted too much.

- Rien


Gwen Jones wrote:

To avoid eye strain/back and neck injuries, I tend to take a 5 minute tea or stretch break about every hour or so, unless I'm working to a very tight deadline.


 
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