Poll: On average, how long do you translate before taking a break?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 06:06
SITE STAFF
Sep 16, 2014

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "On average, how long do you translate before taking a break?".

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Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 14:06
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Sep 16, 2014

It depends on a lot of factors, mainly how pressing the deadline is, but in general when I feel like a coffee or a snack, when I want to stretch my legs or catch hold of my drifting concentration, when I have to take the dog out, when the doorbell or the phone rings… It can be 15 minutes or 2 hours… The best thing about being a freelancer? There are no rules!

 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:06
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 16, 2014

I have no idea because I lose track of time when I'm translating. Once when I had a staff job I worked until long after everyone had gone home and I still thought it was early afternoon.

My reasons for taking a break:
1. I run into difficult text and feel burned out;
2. My dogs remind me that it's time for a walk or dinner; or
3. I reach a quota--sometimes on a long job I divide my day into short quotas.


 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Sep 16, 2014

It varies. Like Muriel, I tent to lose track of time once I'm "in the zone". For example, this morning I started translating about 9 am and I stopped about 10.30 to shave and put some coffee on (I'll shower a bit later). I've just checked my inbox and there are no more jobs in yet (thank goodness, as I've got 3 other texts waiting to be translated once I finish the job in hand), so I'm having a quick blether here, on proz before going back to the delights of Excel...

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Depends Sep 16, 2014

Boring jobs in 10 minute bursts
Engrossing jobs in 3 hour bursts


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 22:06
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Other Sep 16, 2014

Depends on how pressing the deadline is and the amount of adrenalin rushing through me.

 

Alberto Montpellier  Identity Verified
Member (2014)
English to Spanish
+ ...

MODERATOR
Depends Sep 16, 2014

Julian Holmes wrote:

Depends on how pressing the deadline is and the amount of adrenalin rushing through me.


Same for me. For jobs having the usual pressure (there's always pressure of some sort) I take small breaks every one or two hours. I get up and stretch a little, have some water from the fridge, etc. but very small breaks. Sometimes I sit here and practically don't get up in 3 o 4 hours. Depends also on how interesting the job is. If it's a "cigar" (as we call burdensome jobs around here) I take more frequent breaks.
I'm doing one now which is a loooong cigar and took a small break to write this, now I stretch a little and... back to the hole.


 

Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:06
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Strict rules for me Sep 16, 2014

60 minute bursts then a break.
Recently upped it from 45 minutes.
I recently found out the method I use is known as the Pomodoro Technique. I'm fairly militant about it and find it really helpful. 45 minutes is probably a better-sized chunk but recently I've found myself running over and translating during my break ("for fun") so I changed the boundaries.


 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:06
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
No set rule Sep 16, 2014

It depends on too many factors to just say every 1, 2, 3... hours it's time for a break.

I really don't "track" my working time at all. When a project's translation flows well, I may not take (or even even think about) a break for several hours.

If I encounter difficulties, then I'd rather take a break even if I had just had one instead of trying to solve the problem. Stepping outside into the sun, even for just a minute or two, can really remove "the log" and clear th
... See more
It depends on too many factors to just say every 1, 2, 3... hours it's time for a break.

I really don't "track" my working time at all. When a project's translation flows well, I may not take (or even even think about) a break for several hours.

If I encounter difficulties, then I'd rather take a break even if I had just had one instead of trying to solve the problem. Stepping outside into the sun, even for just a minute or two, can really remove "the log" and clear the mind.

The intervals between breaks also depend on the project's dealine, on how many have lined up at that time and their deadlines, and also whether there has been a real night (sleep) between this morning and yesterday's.

In short, the rule regarding the frequency of breaks is quite simply: there is none.
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Michael Harris  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 15:06
Member (2006)
German to English
Depends Sep 16, 2014

Same here- When I am having a good run with well written texts, I can go through 8 hours without a break. On other days, I take a break every couple of hours.

 

Oliver Lawrence  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:06
Italian to English
+ ...
Sitting for an hour or more without a break is not good for your health Sep 17, 2014

Lots of articles recently have pointed to the health risks of excessive sitting. We need to get up, stretch our legs, and get some exercise. A client of mine has suffered health problems for precisely this reason, and she can't be more than about 30 years old.

 

Giovanna Alessandra Meloni  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 15:06
Member (2012)
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Other Sep 17, 2014

It depends on many factors, but I think Teresa has hit it on the nail

Teresa Borges wrote:
… It can be 15 minutes or 2 hours… The best thing about being a freelancer? There are no rules!


 

Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 15:06
Spanish to English
+ ...
Pomodoro Technique Sep 22, 2014

I use the Pomodoro Technique and translate for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat 4 times until a longer break of 15 minutes is due.

I actually work with a "grid" so I can track how much work I do in each 25 minute block. This helps me keep on target for deadlines and also helps me to give more realistic deadlines to clients.

25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 15 minute break.
... See more
I use the Pomodoro Technique and translate for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat 4 times until a longer break of 15 minutes is due.

I actually work with a "grid" so I can track how much work I do in each 25 minute block. This helps me keep on target for deadlines and also helps me to give more realistic deadlines to clients.

25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 15 minute break.

The important thing is not to be sitting at the computer for more than 25 minutes.

Of course you do have to be a bit flexible sometimes... You don't just stand bolt upright when the buzzer rings regardless of what you are doing. I generally finish segments or paragraphs and then take my breaks.

The 15 minute break usually turns into 20 or 25 minutes, making a coffee, having a sandwich, putting on a washing machine, jumping in the pool to cool down... But this works for me and makes me very very productive.

Anyway, you can read all about it here: http://pomodorotechnique.com/
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Georgie Scott  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:06
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
Sounds like a successful technique Dec 17, 2014

Samuel Sebastian Holden Bramah wrote:

I use the Pomodoro Technique and translate for 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break and repeat 4 times until a longer break of 15 minutes is due.

I actually work with a "grid" so I can track how much work I do in each 25 minute block. This helps me keep on target for deadlines and also helps me to give more realistic deadlines to clients.

25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 5 minute break.
25 minutes 15 minute break.

The important thing is not to be sitting at the computer for more than 25 minutes.

Of course you do have to be a bit flexible sometimes... You don't just stand bolt upright when the buzzer rings regardless of what you are doing. I generally finish segments or paragraphs and then take my breaks.

The 15 minute break usually turns into 20 or 25 minutes, making a coffee, having a sandwich, putting on a washing machine, jumping in the pool to cool down... But this works for me and makes me very very productive.

Anyway, you can read all about it here: http://pomodorotechnique.com/


Did you just casually mention "jumping in the pool to cool down"?

Poolside properties are so hard to find in central London and Bordeaux


 


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