Poll: How long do you usually work on a translation before taking at least a short break?
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff
ProZ.com Staff
Local time: 05:35
SITE STAFF
Aug 26, 2006

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "How long do you usually work on a translation before taking at least a short break?".

This poll was originally submitted by Tanja Sahler & Ulrike MacKay

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see: http://proz.com/topic/33629


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:35
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
I set a timer and live by it! Aug 27, 2006

I used to work for hours at a sitting but it was not good for my health. Now I set a timer, usually for 50 minutes. I really focus for those 50 minutes, then when the timer goes off I finish the sentence or thought and get up and walk around. My timer starts counting upwards when I turn it off, which helps me keep from "finishing the thought" for another half hour!

If I'm under pressure to finish a job I'll increase to 60 or 70 minutes; my ABSOLUTE maximum is 90 minutes. Even if all I do is go to the bathroom, I consider those breaks to be very important.


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casey
United States
Local time: 08:35
Member
Japanese to English
Depends.... Aug 27, 2006

Usually 2 hours, but if the subject matter is extremely boring I might even take a break every 10 minutes.

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Julio Torres
Mexico
English to Spanish
+ ...
Exactly! Aug 27, 2006

JaneTranslates wrote:

Now I set a timer, usually for 50 minutes. I really focus for those 50 minutes, then when the timer goes off I finish the sentence or thought and get up and walk around.


That's exactly the advice experts in health care give to those who work with computers: 50:10 work:rest

I'll copy your idea Jane, because I'm ever keeping an eye on the computer's clock, but I think a timer would allow me to be more concentrated in the work...

Anyway, sometimes my children give me a compulsory break =).

[Editado a las 2006-08-28 00:14]


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kpi  Identity Verified
Local time: 14:35
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
Sounds like great advice! Aug 27, 2006

I plan to go out and buy a timer also - or use the one on my cell phone - thanks for the idea. My intentions are good but I still find myself sitting for way too long - and feel quite stiff when I do finally get up - time seems to fly when I'm working on a translation!

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Ma. Fernanda Blesa  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:35
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
you can download a free timer Aug 27, 2006

just go to www.download.com and search for "freewatch". The direct link is http://www.download.com/3120-20_4-0.html?tg=dl-20&qt=freewatch&tag=srch in case it works.

It's a very simple timer that I've been using for quite a while and it works perfectly for me.

I find that I am more productive if I use the timer than if I don't, and the same as Jane, I try to take a break after working 50-60 minutes at the most, it makes it easier to really concentrate when I'm working.


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Reed James
Chile
Local time: 09:35
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
Schedule Wizard Aug 27, 2006

I use Schedule Wizard. It does a lot more than just play an alarm. I have it play music at a scheduled time so I can get up and take a break.

It also does things like send e-mail and run applications automatically.

Reed


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xxxBrandis
Local time: 14:35
English to German
+ ...
I chose 4 hours Aug 28, 2006

Hi!
Usually it takes some time and multiple readings till the text takes effect and finish some satisfactory percentile of translation and then I take a break. Some feeling of accomplishment is necessary. I use timer too. Best Brandis


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Leandro Prada  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 09:35
English to Spanish
+ ...
Who on God's green earth can work 8 hours? Aug 28, 2006

casey wrote:

Usually 2 hours, but if the subject matter is extremely boring I might even take a break every 10 minutes.


I tend to agree more with Casey. When it's highly dense, boring stuff, I can't keep my butt on the chair for more than 10 minutes.
Then again when it's something I like, I can be there for hours, (NOT EIGHT of Course, because that would mean skipping a meal or two!!!) until my wife or baby bring me back with the living.

Cheers, Leandro


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Ulrike MacKay  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:35
Member (2006)
English to German
+ ...
Glad to hear... Aug 28, 2006

Hi!

It's me who suggested this question for a poll - and I'm so glad to see the results!

Of course, you're right, it does make a difference if the text you're working on interests and grips you, or if it's just an alternative to a sleeping pill - but it the tendency of the answers given is becoming pretty obvious.

Just recently I was working on a "Durable Power of Attorney" with attached "Last Will & Testament" - and I just couldn't stay at it for much longer than about 2 hours, then I felt I HAVE TO get away from this text and my screen! Doing so in time, I felt okay and ready to continue again after about 10 minutes. But sometimes I literally forced myself to work on and on for 3 to 4 hours or even longer - just to find I then needed a break of at least an hour...

So, I was beginning to wonder if it's "just me", or if other translators feel the same way!?

With many of my former employers, I often worked straight through without allowing for any breakfast or lunch breaks - skipping meals was a daily routine. Therefore, one aspect I must admit I never really considered since working from home is the health factor - ironically, this should be the most important one... What did concern me was the concentration bit, as I realized it simply doesn't do me any good if I just keep going - and, to be honest, it doesn't contribute to the quality of my work either.

Well, now I feel somewhat relieved to see that I'm "not the only one" and that there's no need to feel guilty about taking a short break every so often for a "Reset of Mind", as I like to call it...

Thanks to everybody having taken / taking part in this poll!

Ulrike


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JaneTranslates  Identity Verified
Puerto Rico
Local time: 08:35
Member (2005)
Spanish to English
+ ...
On the contrary... Aug 28, 2006

Tanja Sahler & Ulrike MacKay wrote:


Well, now I feel somewhat relieved to see that I'm "not the only one" and that there's no need to feel guilty about taking a short break every so often for a "Reset of Mind", as I like to call it...

Ulrike



On the contrary, I'd say you should feel guilty if you *don't* take "a short break every so often"! Exactly how often will vary from person to person and (as several have mentioned) in accordance with the task at hand. But I'm sure I'm a better translator when I take care of my health (physical, mental, emotional, and especially spiritual).


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