getting to the end of your translation tether
Thread poster: David Hollywood

David Hollywood  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:28
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Mar 21, 2011

when you've been working all day on a text that has involved constant searching (for whatever reason) and you've reached your limit (in terms of energy or deadline) how is the best way to cope with it?

I'm asking as somenone who has been there and done that and would love to hear how people think on thisicon_smile.gif

[Modifié le 2011-03-21 03:11 GMT]


Roy OConnor (X)
Local time: 12:28
German to English
I relax... Mar 21, 2011 playing one of my didgeridoos. The concentration of breathing and its gentle sound works wonders in resetting the mind to normality.

I can recommend having a didgeridoo or maybe a similar musical instrument on hand.



Lennart Luhtaru  Identity Verified
United States
English to Estonian
+ ...
Get a wii Mar 21, 2011

I used to play one tennis match on my wii after every hour or so. It's great because you don't have to really go away from the job, but can get "away" for 5 minutes and restart your brain.


Arianne Farah  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:28
Member (2008)
English to French
Same Mar 21, 2011

I have a piano - I play several times a day though rarely more than 15 minutes - it just clears my mind.

Alternatively Guitar Hero on the Xbox is a fun break too.

If it's the end of the day I just call up some friends and go out. Often when I have a particularly difficult or boring/tiresome text I'll purposefully organize a night out with friends so I can have something to look forward to - ie. if I don't procrastinate and work diligently until 8pm I'll be have enough time to grab a bite to eat and get ready and meet my friends at 9h30 - if I procrastinate I'll be a starving, disheveled messicon_wink.gif vanity is a powerful motivatoricon_biggrin.gif

If you live somewhere where the weather allows it, a brisk walk can help get the blood pumping and clear the mind.

.... or go on Proz and read the latest forum posts and answer a few before getting back to work *cough* *cough*icon_wink.gif


Jan Willem van Dormolen  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
English to Dutch
+ ...
In general... Mar 21, 2011

relax, indeed.
Stop translating and do something else for as long as it takes to get a fresh head again. If it takes a good night's sleep - take a good night's sleep.
I often found that if I continue working after I've reached my limit, the next day it takes me just as many hours to repair the damage as I've put in hours after my limit was reached (mistakes, typos, outright mistranslations or even parts overlooked). It just doesn't work, working when you're too tired to work.


David Wright  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
German to English
+ ...
The old British sport Mar 21, 2011

of cat-swinging was actually devised for this purpose. Hence the expression - no room to swing a cat was originally meant to imply one was under so much work pressure that there wasn't even time to take off a moment to swing the cat.


Catherine Brix
Local time: 12:28
Swedish to English
+ ...
Orientering Mar 21, 2011

When I've pushed as hard as I can and feel mentally drained, orientering helps me to recharge. The combination of fresh air, exercise and brainwork is extremely relaxing, refreshing and brightens my mood. I guess having to focus on something completely different - reading a map and navigating so as to not get lost while watching where I put my feet and running in different terrain - forces my brain in a different direction. There's no room for problems, only the here and now. I discovered this a few years ago after having to accept that my fear of heights is a definite impediment to rock climbing, which also demands total concentration. Orientering has the added benefit of being more easily accessible, cheaper and while getting lost or a sprain is a definite possibility, the price I pay for lack of concentration is not quite as severe as with climbing.

Agree with Jan Willem - working when you're too tired just doesn't work. Do hope you find something that works for you - the relief and pleasure it brings is priceless.


B D Finch  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Exercise Mar 21, 2011

Because translating is necessarily sedentary, I find that it is necessary to take a break from time to time for physical activity. When the weather is good, this can mean doing some gardening or going out for a walk; when it is not, I have a half-hour session on my elliptical trainer, followed by floor exercises and/or weights and watch a video or TV while doing it. However, if it is already late, it is better to go to bed and restart the translation in the morning. Unfortunately, I do find it very difficult to break away from a nearly finished translation.


[Edited at 2011-03-21 10:19 GMT]


Giovanni Guarnieri MITI, MIL  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:28
Member (2004)
English to Italian
Most relaxing thing... Mar 21, 2011

I take my dog for a walk... I do live in the countryside, though, so that helps too!


LegalTransform  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 06:28
Member (2002)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Research Mar 21, 2011

For me, I generally do all of my research before I actually start translating. I write down my research on the printed document. There is still more research needed as you type the translation, but most of it is already done and this speeds up the process.

Other ways to get back into the groove of working are: work 15 minutes, browse the net 15 minutes, work 15 minutes, etc. or watch your favorite TV show/news and work during the commercials or tell yourself that you will do a given activity (take the dog for a walk, go get an ice cream, jump in the pool, etc.) after you finish 1,000 - 2,000 words.

[Edited at 2011-03-21 13:24 GMT]


Holly Nathan (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:28
Italian to English
Get a what? Mar 21, 2011

Lennart Luhtaru wrote:

I used to play one tennis match on my wii after every hour or so. It's great because you don't have to really go away from the job, but can get "away" for 5 minutes and restart your brain.

When I first saw Lennart's post I thought it said "get a will"......................rather sinister advice!

Cooking a good curry and then sitting down to eat it - that takes my mind off work.


Gyula Erdész
Local time: 12:28
Member (2005)
English to Hungarian
+ ...
Jogging Mar 22, 2011

I do not think that after several hours of translation the most relaxing thing is to stare another screen (playing video game, surfing on the internet, watching TV). In this case your brain and your eyes do quite the same as during translation. But of course, we are not the same.

For me the most relaxing thing is to go out for a 30 minute long jog in the middle of my workday. This is something that only a freelancer can allow himself/herself.



Stanislav Pokorny  Identity Verified
Czech Republic
Local time: 12:28
English to Czech
+ ...
Two G's in my case Mar 22, 2011

And they are guitar and golf. Love them both...


Local time: 12:28
English to German
+ ...
a totally different kind of work Mar 22, 2011

Everytime when I have got a lot of things to do - e.g. translating, doing some cleaning, shopping, cooking lunch / dinner etc. I alternate between different tasks. Maybe you even have another translation job waiting.
So If you might feel that playing a video game or taking a walk could be a waste of time you might want to simply switch to another task. Cleaning might involve just as much exercise as taking a walk.
And, in addition, you might find the solution to your translation problem while you're doing something else. Just don't think too hard about it and it might just pop upicon_smile.gif


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