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Poll: Can you touch type?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 08:21
SITE STAFF
Oct 14, 2015

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

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Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Unsure Oct 14, 2015

I don't look at the keyboard but I only use two fingers on each hand. Does that count?

 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 16:21
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
No! Oct 14, 2015

I never learned to type "properly", but I type about 80-100 wpm. I learned to type the hard way, by myself, on an old-fashioned, heavy, slow and very noisy typewriter in the 1960s. I don't use all my fingers to type. My speed came purely from having to type every day. From time to time, I find myself not looking at the keyboard, but I can’t say that I touch type…

 

Natalie Soper  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 16:21
French to English
+ ...
It seems so Oct 14, 2015

Apparently touch typing is typing without looking at the keys, although I'm not sure how many fingers need to be involved. I'm surprised at how many people have said no so far (44%) - this seems really high, but then maybe I'm just an ignorant millennial (yuck!).

 

Chris S  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Swedish to English
+ ...
Yuck indeed Oct 14, 2015

Natalie Soper wrote:

but then maybe I'm just an ignorant millennial (yuck!).


Actually, wouldn't Generation X translators be more likely to touch type given that we pre-date speech recognition technology?


 

Helen Hagon  Identity Verified
Local time: 16:21
Member (2011)
Russian to English
+ ...
Yes Oct 14, 2015

Of all the many courses I have done over the years, an intensive course in touch typing and basic computer literacy was probably the most useful. Not having to keep looking down at my fingers saves a lot of time and helps to keep my concentration going. Unfortunately, though, I can't touch-type in Russian. Typing in Cyrillic is a frustratingly slow and laborious process and I feel like I have taken a step backwards. If anyone knows of a good Russian touch-typing programme, please let me know!

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
V E R Y S L O W L Y Oct 14, 2015

... but in practice no. It's not for lack of trying.

I too was taught to use a heavy typewriter way back in the '60s, I think. In the meantime I have gone over to a Danish keyboard, which has three extra letters just where my weakest of weak fingers kan stumble over them... and I hit æ insteaf of l, å instead of p and ø when I can't find any other errors to make icon_wink.gif (That was touch-typed with only 3 errors...)

My hands simply do not coordinate at speed, and the resuo lokd loike thios or worse if 'i trhhy ro toueo fastr! I sue hte delete keiu more than anyu other!
Practice does NOT help appreciably, or I would have been a really, really good typist twenty years ago.

However, I can type as fast as I can translate - more or less - with about three fingers of each hand and frequent glances at what I am doing. (And preferably AutoCorrect to deal iwth hte most frequent typos...)


 

Noni Gilbert  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 17:21
Spanish to English
+ ...
Thanks for the chuckles Christine Oct 14, 2015

I do touch type, and fast - self taught in my teens. It seemed a useful thing to be able to do, and I certainly don't regret it. I wish that all kids were taught keyboard skills at school along with IT nowadays - here in Spain they are expected to learn that outside school hours.

One problem though is if you start off without checking where you placed your fingers - this despite the fact that the f and j keys are clearly marked - og upi fpm¡y upi ,su gomf upi `tpfivr yrcy ñolr yjod. Work that one out!


 

Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 08:21
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Yes, for over 65 years Oct 14, 2015

I taught myself to touch-type when I was very young by covering up the keys with adhesive tape. Then I took a regular class when I was 18, which confirmed that I had been doing it right. The following year, to please my mother, I took a year off from my education to train as a bilingual stenographer (she wanted to be sure I could always take care of myself). So I also learned shorthand in Spanish and English.

I'm very fast, which helps a lot in translation. Touch-typing enables me to look at a sentence and then close my eyes and concentrate while I type. I find that I never make typos when my eyes are closed. I don't like CAT tools because they slow me down and force me to look at the screen.

Now more than ever, I believe everyone should learn. I once knew a father of seven sons who insisted that they all learn to touch-type. Nowadays everyone has to type, even the corporate CEO.

To maximize speed, touch typists should use mechanical keyboards, which are now expensive and hard to find.

(I typed this entire post with my eyes closed.)


 

Julian Holmes  Identity Verified
Japan
Local time: 00:21
Member (2011)
Japanese to English
Yes Oct 14, 2015

Even though I cannot use three fingers on my right hand because of a severed tendon (seriously).

All things considered, I'm very fast but I could touch type at lightning speed before the accident.

Incidentally, I taught myself to type on a manual typewriter in the (not) good old days. Thank god, Brother came out with a low-priced electric typewriter. icon_smile.gif


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:21
French to English
Yes-ish Oct 14, 2015

I find that concentrating on my screen means that there are fewer breaks in my lines of thought, ideas flow more freely and I'm generally faster. If you look at what your hands are doing, then the post-typing editing is longer. Maybe 12 years of piano lessons and exams helped, as when you play the piano, the left and right hand doing different things, you have to look at the music at the same time. Once I know the piece and play from memory, thenI tend to look more at my hands, or think I do.

 

Thayenga  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:21
Member (2009)
English to German
+ ...
Partially Oct 14, 2015

I taught myself how to type and always looked at the keys. Old habits are hard to break, true, but it turned out that I'm faster (and making fewer mistakes) doing it my way than to truly touch type. Uncountable typed words (including lengthy novels and screenplays) seem to confirm my way of typing.icon_wink.gif

 

Michael Wetzel  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 17:21
German to English
but slowly Oct 14, 2015

I learned to type in high school in the US in the early nineties. My understanding was that at that time, basically anyone intending to go to college (where they would be writing papers) was expected to take this course.

However, I think I only type at about 50-60 wpm even in a test situation (copying a text onscreen for a minute or several minutes). Maybe it's slowing me down and I should forget how to do it, if Teresa can do 80-100 wpm without knowing how to type.


 

tilak raj  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 20:51
Member (2012)
English to Panjabi
+ ...
NO Oct 14, 2015

NO

 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 17:21
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Find a rhythm that suits you Oct 14, 2015

Michael Wetzel wrote:

I learned to type in high school in the US in the early nineties. My understanding was that at that time, basically anyone intending to go to college (where they would be writing papers) was expected to take this course.

However, I think I only type at about 50-60 wpm even in a test situation (copying a text onscreen for a minute or several minutes). Maybe it's slowing me down and I should forget how to do it, if Teresa can do 80-100 wpm without knowing how to type.


You are probably right! Just find a rhythm where you hit the right letters cleanly with the nearest finger, and you will get on far better.

Back in the days when every typing error meant faffing around with Tippex or that white nail varnish that Danes call 'Idiot ink' ... touch-typing really was quite an important skill.

In the 70s I was told I could get away with being a librarian, because index cards were so small that either I could type them slowly - most of the time went on getting them aligned in the typewriter anyway... Or I could get someone else to do the real typing!!

Now that we all use computers with delete and back-space keys, the situation is entirely different, and we two and three-finger typists can get away with almost anything.

While it is undoubtedly an advantage for those who really CAN touch type, not being able to do so is not nearly the handicap it used to be.

BTW since I started using Trados Studio, where to move to the next segment you press CTRL + ENTER, instead of ALT and the + on the number keypad, my typing has actually become less abysmal. Moving the right hand back and forth across the keyboard must be designed to upset even the most skilled typists...

But then the story goes that the whole idea of the QWERTY arrangement of the letters was to slow down the fastest typists - the mechanics of the early typewriters simply could not hit the paper and fall back into place fast enough, so the keys jammed!

A Danish inventor, Rasmus Malling Hansen, invented a writing ball, which at least partly solved this problem, but it was never as widely used as the model we know today.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hansen_Writing_Ball

Maybe someone should try to revive it and see if it gives fewer repeated strain injuries than modern keyboards.


 
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