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Poll: Could you have completed your latest project with nothing but pen and paper?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:38
SITE STAFF
May 3, 2013

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Could you have completed your latest project with nothing but pen and paper?".

This poll was originally submitted by Damien Poussier. View the poll results »



 

Mary Worby  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Member
German to English
+ ...
No May 3, 2013

It's a pretty laughable question really. No, documents are sent in electronic format via e-mail and translated using complex translation tools.

Even assuming it was a simple document that somebody had posted to me, I would still need to write it up in a word-processed format. Nobody would accept a translation in my hand-writing, I'd have been out of business before I even started.


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:38
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
No way May 3, 2013

I'd dread the thought of translating a 500-page manual and then doing global changes. And, what about the spellcheck! icon_eek.gif Besides, I'm the only one who can read my handwriting, apparently.

If we were to go back to the Dark Ages, I think I'd invest in lead pencils and carrier pigeons.

P.S.
My take on "with nothing but pen and paper" is "without the aid of a computer."

Small edit, and added P.S.

[Edited at 2013-05-03 09:05 GMT]

[Edited at 2013-05-03 11:42 GMT]


 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yes May 3, 2013

I think the point of the question is whether you could have done the job without Google and dictionaries

The nature of my work means that I rarely need a dictionary but normally need to check a few names on Google and sometimes have to spend an age researching a term


 

Diana Coada  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:38
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Legal translation? May 3, 2013

No way. There are always new terms to research!

 
Post removed: This post was hidden by a moderator or staff member for the following reason: Empty post

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:38
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
I could May 3, 2013

but it would have taken for ages...

 

Jennifer Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:38
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Yes, but ... May 3, 2013

Yes, I could, but it would, of course, take much longer writing it by hand and (presumably) sending it by post. I'm assuming I'd be allowed to use dictionaries because they are ink and paper.
Yes, a silly question, but it makes one think.


 

Gianluca Marras  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:38
Member (2008)
English to Italian
NO May 3, 2013

a lot of terms needed to be found on documents available on the Internet, and it is not a matter of dictionary... comparing several documents to see what a term refers to cannot be done without the Internet.

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 15:38
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
I voted yes May 3, 2013

I assumed I would be allowed to check terminology one way or another.
A trip to the university library would be necessary, as it was a medical trial protocol.

In theory I could still use the drug registrations and other reference tomes if they still exist in hard copy at libraries, as I was trained to do before there was any Internet, but it would take me a month of Sundays!!!
I haven't tried doing that kind of thing offline for decades, but in principle it should be possible.

Writing the text would not be so bad, once I had decided what to write, but again, it would take time. Studio 2011 and AutoSugest do actually save typing time. There were practically no repetitions.
I can still boast about my neat handwriting - and it often goes more smoothly than typing. I can still take fairly copious lecture notes at webinars and the like...

But five thousand words plus figures and tables... It would take time!


 

Tim Drayton  Identity Verified
Cyprus
Local time: 16:38
Turkish to English
+ ...
Of course May 3, 2013

This is exactly how I did the translation sections of the Scottish Certificate of Education Ordinary and Higher grade exams in French, German and Latin that I sat in the 1970's, how I did the translation sections of my exams when I took a Postgraduate Diploma Course in Russian language in the 1980's and also how I took entry translation exams in the attempt to enter the employment of the GCHQ and the Ministry of Defence in the 1980's.
Of course it is possible to do a translation with nothing but pen and paper, although quality will almost certainly suffer and it will undoubtedly take longer, especially if you want to correct and edit what you have already written.


 

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:38
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Exams are given in this format May 3, 2013

Anyone giving a pencil-and-paper exam these days is living in the stone age. Such an exam does not accurately assess a translator's ability to produce quality work.

I see this as a problem in our profession given that so many reputable organizations are still giving these types of exams. I believe that if they do not update their testing methods they will be vulnerable to other organizations offering modern assessment methods.


 

Gudrun Wolfrath  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:38
English to German
+ ...
No May 3, 2013

Quite often the reference material is online. So how could I do the job without using the Internet?

 

Balasubramaniam L.  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 19:08
English to Hindi
+ ...
No way May 3, 2013

I gave up pen and paper long ago. I use a pen now only to sign on cheques, that too when I am not using online banking.

Even simple things such as shopping lists, I do on my mobile notepad.


 

Mario Chavez  Identity Verified
Local time: 09:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
Ah, the Stone Age. Good times. May 3, 2013

Edward Potter wrote:

Anyone giving a pencil-and-paper exam these days is living in the stone age. Such an exam does not accurately assess a translator's ability to produce quality work.

I see this as a problem in our profession given that so many reputable organizations are still giving these types of exams. I believe that if they do not update their testing methods they will be vulnerable to other organizations offering modern assessment methods.


Don't you miss the smell of pencil shavings and the horror of having forgotten to bring your sharpener to class?

The dumbest tests are the multiple choice ones. In my opinion, no brain functions are required to pick A, B, C or D. Still, I once worked for a software company that had (or still has) one of the most devious multiple-choice tests ever invented. Not devious because of the originality of the questions, but because some of them are unfair. How?

Ordinarily, a multiple-choice question requires one, and only one, correct answer. Well, the technical exam this software company administered internally had several questions with multiple multiple-choice answers, i.e. A, C and E. So you kind of knew that choosing 3 out of the 6 or 7 options was the correct amount...but which ones? So, it was unfair.

Back to the topic, the poll's question is deceptively simplistic. I couldn't have done my last project with pen and paper, not because of Google or search engines or online glossaries (which DID play a part), but because it was in a DTP format (Quark Xpress 9). It would have been impossible for me to do it with just pen and paper.


 
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