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Poll: Can you multitask?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:20
SITE STAFF
Sep 13, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Can you multitask?".

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xxxInterlangue
Angola
Local time: 15:20
English to French
+ ...
Used... Sep 13, 2011

... to be much better at that when I was younger
I can still do it but have recently become more reluctant to include some tasks.


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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:20
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'd like to think so, but not really Sep 13, 2011

I can only focus on one thing at a time.

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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:20
Italian to English
+ ...
have to Sep 13, 2011

All Mums have to, even when the kids are grown ...

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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:20
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 13, 2011

Not when I'm translating...
Or reading.

But of course there are some tasks that can be done together.


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Chiara Cherubini  Identity Verified
Germany
Member (2010)
German to Italian
+ ...
Interpreting Sep 13, 2011

Well, I guess while interpreting you have to multitask

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patriciacharnet  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:20
English to French
+ ...
sometimes Sep 13, 2011

Chiara Cherubini wrote:

Well, I guess while interpreting you have to multitask



+1

I still prefer not to multitask when translating though!


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Noni Gilbert
Spain
Local time: 15:20
Member (2007)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I'm doing it right now! Sep 13, 2011

But, like Interlangue, my degree of efficiency is dwindling, and I am trying to get out of the habit. More recently everything ends up only half finished, and things occur like eventually finding the keys in the ice compartment of the fridge....

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Lucia Maria Grella  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:20
Italian to Dutch
+ ...
Agree Sep 13, 2011

Alexandra Speirs wrote:

All Mums have to, even when the kids are grown ...


Always multitasking!


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Philippe Etienne  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:20
Member
English to French
No Sep 13, 2011

I believe multitasking is mostly a female trait.
I am always amazed at what women can do at the same time. Men tend to fraction tasks in smaller bits and deal with them one after the other (serial behaviour), whereas women run tasks in parallel.

I just googled a few terms and my impression seems confirmed:
http://www.tinbergen.nl/discussionpapers/11044.pdf
http://www.theglasshammer.com/news/2011/06/16/women-and-complexity-strategic-multitaskers/
http://www.tulenko.com/SuccessTips/X-01.html

I feel better now, it's not just me then.

Philippe


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neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:20
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 13, 2011

I depends on the nature and multiplicity of the tasks.

This morning for example I found I couldn't simultaneously concentrate on replying to a blog post while monitoring my friend's English pronunciation to see if she was pronouncing the "g" (as in judge) correctly.

In general I agree with Philippe - I think women are usually better at it...


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xxxjacana54  Identity Verified
Uruguay
English to Spanish
+ ...
@ Phillippe Sep 13, 2011

Thanks for saying that and you're probably right. I sometimes get annoyed when men say that they cannot do two things at the same time... I tend to think they're not really trying!

I voted "other" because, as Christine says, some tasks can be accumulated but not others.


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Isabelle F. BRUCHER  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 15:20
English to French
+ ...
It all depends on the degree of concentration you need, probably. Sep 13, 2011

From what I learned it all depends on the degree of concentration you need for the different tasks. We always do several things at a time, like we breathe and translate at the same time, but we breathe without having to concentrate on how to perform this task. You can knit and read a book at the same time, probably: knitting does not require contration, reading does. And so on.

But I really admire simultaneous interpreters, who perform several high-concentration tasks at the same time, or maybe they need to practice a lot, so that some of the tasks become automatic reflexes, routine and they only concentrate on one task mainly, which is probably understanding the message (but I might be wrong), while translating it and saying it (two different tasks according to me: thinking and talking are two differents tasks) become a habit with a lot of practice. Also if interpreters know about the news or the subject, they almost know in advance what the speaker will talk about, or at least they understand the subject immediately. Most of them ask for the written conference in advance so that they can research the vocabulary. So even they try to concentrate on one high-concentration task at a time, it seems.


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Emin Arı  Identity Verified
Turkey
Local time: 16:20
Member
English to Turkish
+ ...
multitasking is (unfortunately) a must in modern life Sep 13, 2011

Not even in your proffesion, you have to be multitasking at almost every moment of your daily life, while driving, eating and even bathing. This crazy pace forces you to do so.

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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:20
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes. Sep 13, 2011

Those 15 years as Chief Customer Service taught me to multitask. I simply had no choice but to answer phone calls while checking work orders prior to approving them, and giving an impatient customer an encouraging "you-are-very-important-to-me" kind of smile while the boss is foot-tapping to get his report, of course, immediately...which he usually did.

Although this time is over now, has been for a while, the multitasking mechanism is still functioning, which is, at times, not exactly to my liking.


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