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Poll: Have you ever used a typewriter to work on your translation(s)?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 01:41
SITE STAFF
Sep 23, 2011

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Have you ever used a typewriter to work on your translation(s)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Ikram Mahyuddin. View the poll results »



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Susanna Martoni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 10:41
Member (2009)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Not now Sep 23, 2011

My old typewriter is in my cellar (there is no room here) and I used it to write my translations in the Nineties.
At the moment I use only my PC.

And I've noticed that even the Carabinieri and the Police use a PC instead of the old typewriter to work on their (and our) documents.

A step forward?


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Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:41
Member
German to English
+ ...
No Sep 23, 2011

I started out working on a computer and still do. In the modern era of electronic files and translation memory, the old-fashioned methods are sadly obsolete.

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Gilla Evans  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:41
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes Sep 23, 2011

But not for a long, long time. When I started transating in the late 70s/early 80s I used to write my first draft by hand, then type it up (very carefully!!) and put it in the post. Then came the fax machine, then early computers (which were a bit of a nightmare and always going wrong), then modem to modem transmission (!), then the internet. I lived the history in one short life... (though I don't quite go back as far as the quill pen).

[Edited at 2011-09-23 08:38 GMT]


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Alexandra Speirs  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:41
Italian to English
+ ...
me too Sep 23, 2011

Gilla Evans wrote:

But not for a long, long time. When I started transating in the late 70s/early 80s I used to write my first draft by hand, then type it up (very carefully!!) and put it in the post. Then came the fax machine, then early computers (which were a bit of a nightmare and always going wrong), then modem to modem transmission (!), then the internet. I lived the history in one short life... (though I don't quite go back as far as the quill pen).

[Edited at 2011-09-23 08:38 GMT]



That sounds VERY familiar ...
First the manual typewriter: I bought it with my 21st birthday money when still at Uni, before I had any idea I'd end up a translator.
Then the electric model which even had the possibility of erasing the last 2 or 3 letters in case of typos.
Then computers arrived, but not the modem yet, so I still had to "visit" clients with my big floppy disks.... apart from one in Venice, I used to send his disks by bus and he collected them on arrival.

Being a translator today is much more relaxing.... or is it?


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Alexander Kondorsky  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 12:41
English to Russian
+ ...
Yes Sep 23, 2011

When I started back in 1982 I did not even have a typewriter: I wrote my translations by hand and then took them to a typist bureau where I paid approx. 50% of what I was paid later for the final product. I was happy to buy my first (and only) typewriter in 1984 and I used it until when I bought my first PC in 1997. The typewriter was still good by then, and I kept it for several years, but at last, shedding a couple of tears, I took it to the nearest trash can. After all, it became totally useless but occupied some precious space in my small apartment.

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 09:41
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
It sounds quite familiar... Sep 23, 2011

Gilla Evans wrote:

But not for a long, long time. When I started transating in the late 70s/early 80s I used to write my first draft by hand, then type it up (very carefully!!) and put it in the post. Then came the fax machine, then early computers (which were a bit of a nightmare and always going wrong), then modem to modem transmission (!), then the internet. I lived the history in one short life... (though I don't quite go back as far as the quill pen).

[Edited at 2011-09-23 08:38 GMT]


I do remember those days when correcting the slightest mistake seemed like an almost insuperable task: re-typing all over again (before the age of the correction tape and the correcting fluid)!!

[Edited at 2011-09-23 09:38 GMT]


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Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:41
English to German
+ ...
Yes. Sep 23, 2011

In the 80s.
Sometimes typing took longer than the translation itself.
I remember that.


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Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 10:41
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Having voted no... Sep 23, 2011

I think I mean no!

Possibly some of my very early translations, before I started professionally, were typed.

I suspect some of them, recipes and short texts, or abstracts from German when I was still able to do that kind of thing... were carefully written in longhand! I was - and still am - a hopeless typist. But I am quite proud of my fast, legible handwriting.

I did have a typewriter, and struggled with it for years when carbon copies were needed (and photocopies were still pale, mauve and often unobtainable).
But oh, the nightmare of typing with two fingers, and fiddling about with Tippex if I made mistakes...

The delete key on a computer is simply a godsend to people with hopeless coordination like me, and I use it more than any other, except the backspace, of course...



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Claire Cox
United Kingdom
Local time: 09:41
French to English
+ ...
Showing our age.... Sep 23, 2011

Oh yes, back in the 80's when I started out, you had no choice. Whilst I did use a typewriter at home to do a few freelance translations, I mainly dictated at work and the translations were typed up by a typing pool. I can still remember the outrage when it was proposed in the mid-80's that we should all get our own IBM Displaywrite computers at work and would have to type out own translations - shock, horror! We were duly sent on a course and the learning curve began again. When I subsequently left work on maternity leave, I bought myself an early Amstrad, which was great as far as I can remember - still no e-mail and I didn't get a fax until 1995!

I attended one of the early ASLIB conferences on translating and the computer in the late 80's where the possibility of developments like OCR and e-mail were mooted and I can remember now how unlikely it all seemed - yet here we are now with all sorts of things we'd never dreamed of. Like Gilla, I can remember modem-to-modem transmission in the mid 90's, which was such a novelty - and a boon for me in those early days of working for clients abroad. For one large job I did for a major UK company, it took so long to download the glossary they'd asked me to use, I even had to ask them to pay my telephone bill (which they did, without a murmur) - it would definitely have been cheaper (if not quicker!) to have sent it by courier.

And here we are now with CAT tools, instant messaging, pdf conversion, huge files transferring in a matter of seconds - and so much more is expected of us as a result.

I don't think I'd go back though......


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Patricia Prevost  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 10:41
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes Sep 23, 2011

I graduated in 1985, no one had a PC at home yet. And it was a nightmare!

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Caroline Lakey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 10:41
French to English
Showing my age too... Sep 23, 2011

I had a toy typewriter when I was about eight years old, but apart from that I've never used one at all!

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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:41
Member (2006)
German to English
Nope Sep 23, 2011

never had to and I don´t have one lying around in case.
A couple of Laptops yes, but mechanical stuff, nope.

I got straight into the DTP / CAD stuff in my studies in 1989 and been electronic since


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Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 10:41
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Yes, in the past millennium Sep 23, 2011

Back then when computers were still unknown, and carbon paper and Tipp-Ex were mandatory tools. But this is the 21st century, so no need to miss what has done its duty.

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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 01:41
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, of course Sep 23, 2011

That was the only tool of the trade when I started translating professionally in the 1960s. I had about 15 years on the typewriter before (Wang) word processing came along in 1979, and then I switched to the PC in 1989.

I have to say that my productivity was about the same as it is today. I remember once producing 1,000 words in an hour on a manual typewriter (with a carbon copy, no less), and my steady output averaged between 2,500 and 3,000 words a day. I translated an 800-page manuscript on a typewriter. The big difference was that it was physically tiring, especially the manual typewriter, and corrections were a pain. Quality suffered because one couldn't go back and make changes easily. I used white tape and typed on top of it.

I would say that for translators the main advantages of word processing are easy corrections, consistency of terminology, and reduced physical strain.

IMO, by far the biggest advantage of the computer for translation is access to the Internet. We could survive with typewriters if we had to, but I doubt we could survive without the Internet.


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