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Poll: Do you touch-type (not looking at the keys)?
Thread poster: Staff Staff
Local time: 10:26
Oct 16, 2007

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "Do you touch-type (not looking at the keys)?".

This poll was originally submitted by Heike Behl, Ph.D.

View the poll here

A forum topic will appear each time a new poll is run. For more information, see:


Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Flawlessly? Oct 16, 2007

Well, if "flawlessly" means with a low number of typos...icon_wink.gif


Sonja Tomaskovic (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
English to German
+ ...
Missing answer Oct 16, 2007

"Yes, more or less flawlessy" would apply to me. I used to work as a transcriptionist... I think that nobody really does it flawlessly.



Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Sort of Oct 16, 2007

I never was a great touch-typist - and in the days when you had to correct errors with Tippex that exempted me from all talk of secretarial courses!!!

It also forced me to learn to proof readicon_biggrin.gif
-- And practise, practise, practise. I was reasonably good at typing when I started with a computer and could just hit the delete key if I made mistakes.

But I have a theory that my touch typing has deteriorated hopelessly since I started using CATs - first Deja Vu, then a client's own, then Trados. Hopping back and forth from the short cuts means you don't keep your fingers near the base keys, and the chances of hitting the wrong key increase a hundredfold.

If I just type, without Trados, I can sometimes get into a rhythm and reduce the number of typos, but I seem to have got into a lot of bad habits that are hard to get rid of.

Anyone else feel the same way?


Anthony Baldwin  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 13:26
Portuguese to English
+ ...
not flawless, but not ¨many typos¨, either Oct 16, 2007

I can type around 80 wpm in either EN or HTML.
For my other languages, accent marks, ç é, ü ê ã, etc., slow me down a bit sometimes, but I am still pretty quick.

My error rate depends on various factors, but, I would be lying if I denied that I make errors, of course.
Certain letter combinatinos (like ¨ion¨) always give me hiccoughs while typing.

I keep my eyes on the monitor while typing, not the keyboard, in general,
unless I am searching for a F-Key or something.

There are plenty of things that I can´t do well, in this life, but typing is not one of them. After all, I type, type, type, day in and day out.


Emmanuelle Hingant  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:26
English to French
Thanks to the uni Oct 16, 2007

Every first-year and second-year students had to take (compulsory) typing classes at my university in France.

Even though we felt like we were wasting our time on very old and obsolete machines, it is very useful now and it's something I don't have to worry about when I translate.

And when I have to use someone else's computer, hence change keyboards (the French keyboard's different from the Spanish or English ones for instance), the positioning all comes naturally after a couple of hours.

Happy typing then.



Marie-Hélène Hayles  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Italian to English
+ ...
Kind of Oct 16, 2007

I'm a self-taught typist, so my touch typing certainly isn't by the book, but I've been using a computer long enough that I don't need to look at the keys that often and unless I'm tired or I've had a couple, my mistakes are generally consistent (such as always typing altohugh instead of although).


neilmac  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Not at all Oct 16, 2007

I have never had a proper typing lesson. I began typing as a kid with the index fingers of each hand and really more or less still work that way, maybe using 2 or 3 on each hand.

I often translate texts using the find and replace function a lot, or the (now obsolete) Systran program (and a lot of careful revision). I can do about 30-40 words a minute, though with very few mistakes. I recently started using Wordfast, so am typing more now and working from the top down, but so far it doesn't seem to be much help.

Funnily enough, despite this apparent lack of ability, I have a reputation for speed and on-time delivery.


Juan Jacob  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:26
French to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks, Mom! Oct 16, 2007

She learned to type with some kind of method... I took it, and I learned... with blood in my fingers... it was on an old Olivetti typewriter (remember?). I'm glad of that, very usefull. I don't quite understand people nowadays typing with 2 fingers and always eyes on the keyboard.


mediamatrix (X)
Local time: 15:26
Spanish to English
+ ...
Two fingers are enough ... Oct 16, 2007

I've been earning a good living with just two fingers for the past several dozen years, as a translator, writer, occasional computer programmer, web-site builder and ... a number of other things where keyboard literacy is often regarded as highly desirable - if not a 'key' asset.

If I thought I could earn five times more using all ten digits then maybe I'd make the effort to learn touch-typing. The fact is, however, that I am already typing as fast as my brain can churn out the correct words (at least 8,000 words a day on topics I'm familiar with), so the two-finger approach is good enough for me.



Clare Barnes  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:26
Swedish to English
+ ...
Sort of! Oct 16, 2007

Only when I don't think about it... as soon as I start to think about where to put my fingers it all deteriotes inti a horribke mess...

[Edited at 2007-10-16 18:34]


Pamela Peralta  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
Thanks to my mom too Oct 16, 2007

I learned to type during my summer vacations when I was 12 and 13. At the time I hated it because it was February, carnaval time, and other kids would throw water ballons at me!
But now I'm glad she forced me, it helped me in highschool, university and now, of courseicon_biggrin.gif


Heike Behl, Ph.D.  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 10:26
Member (2003)
English to German
+ ...
Almost flawlessly Oct 16, 2007

I agree, there should be an "almost flawlessly", but I don't even remember my original answers and got an e-mail with suggested changes this mornging when my brain was not working at full speed yet...

But I guess that a lot of people choosing "flawlessly" are rather "almost flawlessly"... (That's what I did, at least, I confess)

What I'm also interested in is whether touch-typing or any other more "menial" skills that are very important for a translator are part of the curriculum for a degree in translation.

I usually never look at the keyboard when I type. But this "blind approach" can be pretty annoying in Trados when I mistakenly hit FN+CTRL+"." instead of the adjacent FN+CTRL+"+" on my laptop - erasing the translation. icon_razz.gif
(I recently downloaded AutoHotkey, finally!)

It's hard for me to imagine how to work when I couldn't keep my eyes on the actual text on the screen while I work.

I know one degreed translator (not working as translator, but in another job requiring lots of typing), who's been pecking away at the keyboard with only few fingers and always has to look down at the keys, then back at the screen, back at the keyboard - just watching her drives me nuts!

On the other hand, it's amazing how fast and well some people can type that way.

I'm also self-taught with the help of a little booklet, but I learned it a long time ago, in the good ol' days of typewriters. I just loved to type when I was in highschool and I would just type for the sake of typing - copying chapters of novels, for instance. Maybe playing the piano helped with the ability to use all 10 fingers independently and in a coordinated way, who knows! icon_wink.gif


M. Anna Kańduła  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 18:26
English to Polish
Yes Oct 16, 2007

... but making a typo once in a while.

Curious that I type not looking at keyboard while translating, but when I type something else (eg. post on a forum or work on my novel) I usually look at the keyboard. Maybe requirement of reading source makes me keeping eyes on the screenicon_wink.gif



Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:26
English to Spanish
+ ...
No, but I just get by Oct 16, 2007

Why is there a selection for : "No, but I just get by fine", when I'm there are many of us who "just get by", period.

I just get by with my typing; I never learned how to type the "right" way so I just do it the wrong way and "get by". Now as far as translation is concerned, that is a different story.

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