Poll: Do you use pen/pencil and paper for work anymore?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 09:01
May 20, 2017

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you use pen/pencil and paper for work anymore?".

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neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:01
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other May 20, 2017

Not often for work per se, but for taking notes. I have a little earthenware jar in front of me which contains two yellow marker pens, one indelible black marker pen used for marking CDs back in the day, one red pen, one black pen, one souvenir Obama pencil onto which I never got round to sharpening a point, a little brush which may be for cleaning in between keys on the keyboard, and a little stress ball, the latter unused for at least a couple years now.
On rare occasions I may print something out, for example if I have hospital or dental appointment, the waiting times can sometimes run into hours, so I usually print up an article for revision/proofing and read it through in the waiting room, marking the errors and parts that need tweaking. It helps pass the time constructively, because especially if I have a backlog of work piled up, I usually start to get antsy if I have to hang around for more than five or ten minutes at a time without actually doing something useful… Although nowadays I might just take a laptop along and make the corrections in situ.


Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 09:01
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No May 20, 2017

I rarely write anything by hand. I've totally lost my handwriting fluency. It's a struggle. If I have a card to send to someone, I will draft my message on the computer and take great pains to copy it out by hand.

I've been using word processing almost exclusively since 1980, when it was introduced in my office--that's 37 years! At first I stayed late at the office and used it for school papers, etc. Then I bought my first at-home Wang system in 1982, when I started writing my thesis.

[Edited at 2017-05-20 08:51 GMT]


Teresa Borges
Local time: 17:01
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes May 20, 2017

I always proof-read on paper (my work and other people’s work). It’s more time-consuming for sure but as far as I’m concerned it’s a far better job than on screen. I try to save paper in other ways…

P.S. I also have a small notebook where I record by hand words, phrases or expressions picked out from newspapers, magazines or books that I might use later on…

[Edited at 2017-05-20 11:08 GMT]


Ana Vozone  Identity Verified
Local time: 17:01
Member (2010)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes May 20, 2017

I have a notebook where I write the jobs I am busy with but where I also write "nice solutions" that I have come up with for certain terms and, most importantly, where I write words that I need to check / recheck on my translation when I do the final proofreading. (I also have a simple Excel spreadsheet to keep track of invoices sent and paid.)

I often translate the first occurrence of a term in a certain manner, but then change my mind, and I always prefer to write these (terms) down instead of going back in the text and changing them immediately. I like to see how the text evolves and therefore only do any changes at the end.

I also do a lot of work on clients' platforms and therefore, when I finish the translation, I need to copy/paste those platform texts on to a Word file, do the spellcheck and enter any changes/corrections afterwards on the platform. I write down any typos I find or changes I want to do on my "sacred" notebook.

The notebook is also very useful to keep track of what I've done should my computer die suddenly.

As for printing the jobs I am working on, I usually only print the very large files of prospectuses for investment funds as those really need to be checked side by side. I have these 400+ page documents printed at the Staples place.

So, yes, I use pen/pencil and paper for work. (I really liked Neil's description of the contents in his jar... my own includes a SuperMario and a Gonzo (from the Muppets show) pencil...icon_wink.gif


Elizabeth Tamblin  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 17:01
Member (2012)
French to English
Yes May 20, 2017

I have a stationery fetish, so any excuse to crack open a lovely notebook.


Mario Freitas  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:01
Member (2014)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Ambiguous question... May 20, 2017

I use a pen all the time to take notes, write down terms that have to be reviewed, stats, etc. and I consider that part of my work. But the question may refer to using a pen for writing/translating in itself, in which case the answer would be 'no', of course.


Elif Baykara Narbay  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:01
German to Turkish
+ ...
Same here :) May 20, 2017

Elizabeth Tamblin wrote:

I have a stationery fetish, so any excuse to crack open a lovely notebook.

It is both fun and practical to use pencil and notebook for taking notes and so.

Plus, I cannot buy new stationary until I use some of those already at hand icon_smile.gif


Marlene Blanshay  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:01
Member (2009)
French to English
+ ...
occasionally May 20, 2017

I had a contract doing proofreading for a publisher, which was on hard copy with proofreading marks and had to be done in pencil. And I also do QC editing, so I proofread the copy and mark with pencil before editing.


John Fossey  Identity Verified
Local time: 10:01
Member (2008)
French to English
For proofreading May 20, 2017

While all my translation work is done by screen & keyboard, I always print a paper version and proofread it with a red pen. This is after spellchecking and running QA (why check for mistakes the computer can find). I always find something to correct with pen and paper that I missed on screen - an awkward way of putting something, a spelling mistake that results in another real word, so the spellchecker didn't pick it up, a punctuation mistake.

When the day comes that after reviewing on screen I find no errors with a pen and paper check, that will be the day I stop proofreading with pen and paper. It hasn't come yet.

It might seem like a lot of extra work, but the process has resulted in a product quality that clients come back for and are willing to pay for.

The question was "Do you use pen/pencil and paper for work anymore?" so my answer is Yes, but I rarely write anything out, rather just jottings.


Luiz Barucke
Local time: 13:01
Member (2013)
Spanish to Portuguese
+ ...
Yes, I use them, but... May 20, 2017

If question means working directly on paper, then my answer is no.

But yes, I use paper and pen, specially for proofreading jobs, to take notes and write some terms to search and replace, for example. But the work itself is completely done in digital format (computer files).


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Poll: Do you use pen/pencil and paper for work anymore?

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