Talking while you translate
Thread poster: Edward Potter

Edward Potter  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
Aug 9, 2007

We all have heard of whistling while you work, but talking?

I have always known that I like to say what I am writing as I translate, but I just noticed something strange (if it weren't already strange enough).

Lately I find myself speaking my target language (English in my case) with a strange accent as I type. It is grammatically perfect, but with a source language accent, more or less.

In any case, when I'm really hot, churning out the target text, and everything is flowing, I invariably find myself saying the words I am typing. So I see it as a good thing. I'm not so sure about an outside observer.

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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Sounds perfectly healthy if it relates to the content Aug 9, 2007

What I am more likely to do while I am translating under pressure is mutter under my breath, "If you don't pay me for the last job, you *****s, by the time I send you this translation, I'll......"

A less desirable way to talk while translating, perhaps.


[Edited at 2007-08-09 14:42]

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Lawyer-Linguist  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:15
Dutch to English
+ ...
Nearly always am ... Aug 9, 2007

... but that's only because I'm doing the majority of jobs these days using speech-recognition software

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Local time: 02:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Second opinion Aug 9, 2007


I understand your concern and if I showed the symptoms you describe I know I'd be worried, too.

I think you would be well-advised to get a second opinion.

There's no need to rush off to a shrink and cough up a fortune for this. You can diagnose your condition yourself by answering one simple question:

How long are the hairs on the palm of your hand?


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MariusV  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:15
English to Lithuanian
+ ...
saying it aloud/not aloud Aug 9, 2007

Scientists say that when you read or type, or even hear a radio, your organs of articulation work the same way when you talk aloud (they "repeat" what you see, type, or hear).

The only difference between typing and talking aloud is that your words are not heard when you type as the articulation organs work under less intensity then, BUT your tongue, your jaws, your lips do move! So, when you type, you actually "pronounce" what you type (like primary school kids who read aloud or pronounce the words they spell), just the volume and intensity lower in your case I have noticed the same - I start to mumble the words I type when I work under a big pressure or urgency...It is like you start to speak louder or shout when you get nervous

And the source language shall also have an impact to your "accent" of the native language as you read (silently aloud) both langs. Also notice what happens to you in a foregn country when you do not understand the local language. It is very interesting that you want (unintentiously) to talk to myself in my mind saying similar non-existing words and sound combinations that heard from the locals (just like being a parrot. At least it happens to me when I stay abroad for several days or more...

So, I see no reasons to worry. I think you simply work a lot (maybe too much) and this is kind of a non-harmful side effect.

[Edited at 2007-08-09 22:27]

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matteo brambilla  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:15
English to Italian
+ ...
do you think I am insane.....? Aug 11, 2007

well..I know it sounds a bit weird..but when I am translating I do say the words out loud..but sometimes I also find myself giving them a sort of musical intonation...

in other words....
.....I often happen to sing the text I am translating...

Someone call an ambulance,please!!!

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Jessie LN  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 06:15
Spanish to English
+ ...
Bridges a gap Aug 14, 2007

It's as if you're verbally bridging the gap between the two languages, in a way I used to have a Spanish teacher who would read us something in Spanish, then immediately after, something in English, but it'd come out in a Spanish accent. 'Twas very amusing.

Maybe this isn't quite as rare, but if I'm translating dialogue, I like to read it aloud as if it were a script... I suppose I can tell if it's natural-sounding or not if I do that...

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