Software & hardware for optimizing workflow as a translator
Thread poster: K. Isaac

K. Isaac  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Member (2017)
German to English
+ ...
Oct 29

Hi all,

I've been working on tweaking and optimizing my workplace in order to make translating more efficient and fun, and though it would be helpful for our community to share some of these solutions.

Some of my hardware choices:
- Large external 4K monitor above my working laptop (extended desktop)
- Super ergonomic MX master mouse
- Studio monitor headphones and speakers with external DAC...
See more
Hi all,

I've been working on tweaking and optimizing my workplace in order to make translating more efficient and fun, and though it would be helpful for our community to share some of these solutions.

Some of my hardware choices:
- Large external 4K monitor above my working laptop (extended desktop)
- Super ergonomic MX master mouse
- Studio monitor headphones and speakers with external DAC
- Very comfortable office chair

Some of my software choices:
- Trados studio 2019
- AutoHotkey (automating lots of repetitive tasks)
- Chrome tabs with a bunch of online dictionaries etc.
- Foobar and Audirvana for high quality music!

Would be nice to see what kind of setup you guys work with
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Mohammed Arif
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Music Oct 29

I can't understand how some people can work and also listen to music. I assume they're only *hearing* the music; not *listening* to it and that the music is not in any way challenging.

My own setup is very simple and effective. No techno-bling. My best working tool is my own brain. So keeping healthy, mentally alert, and in a serene, enthusiastic frame of mind is important.

A hard office chair with a low back (lumbar support), armrests, and castors, with the height-adju
... See more
I can't understand how some people can work and also listen to music. I assume they're only *hearing* the music; not *listening* to it and that the music is not in any way challenging.

My own setup is very simple and effective. No techno-bling. My best working tool is my own brain. So keeping healthy, mentally alert, and in a serene, enthusiastic frame of mind is important.

A hard office chair with a low back (lumbar support), armrests, and castors, with the height-adjustable seat fixed in a position where my eyes are in line with the top of my screen. The screen is the best (and funnily enough, the cheapest) I've ever had.

https://tinyurl.com/ztfaldt

I have an adjustable task light right over my keyboard when I need it, and I can turn my head to look out of the window at the trees and the sky. This is very good for the eyesight.

My computer: an old MacMini that I upgraded with an SSD. It does the job perfectly and has never given me any problems. My internet connection: as cheap as they come. Never lets me down. as fast as I need it to be. It checks my emails every minute, and routes them into dedicated folders, one for each client. Each client's incoming mail makes a particular sound. I reply to emails immediately.

[Edited at 2019-10-29 08:22 GMT]
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Dan Lucas
Teresa Borges
 

K. Isaac  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Member (2017)
German to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Listening to music Oct 29

Tom in London wrote:

I can't understand how some people can work and also listen to music. I assume they're only *hearing* the music; not *listening* to it.


For me, relaxing classical music without vocals improves concentration and productivity


Mr.Q
Paula McMullan
 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
mmmmmmmm Oct 29

K. Isaac wrote:

For me, relaxing classical music without vocals improves concentration and productivity


So not Messaiaen then But you would probably like Philip Glass...

https://youtu.be/qwPid_NAjoA

[Edited at 2019-10-29 08:24 GMT]


 

Andrzej Mierzejewski  Identity Verified
Poland
Local time: 02:24
Polish to English
+ ...
...my own brain. Oct 29

Tom in London wrote:
My best working tool is my own brain.


This is the basis for remaining a human translator, not a human-brain-assisted translating combination of software and hardware.

Amendment: I meant to write: "not a human-brain-assisted addition to a combination of software and hardware."

AM

[Zmieniono 2019-10-29 10:58 GMT]


Tom in London
 

Dan Lucas  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:24
Member (2014)
Japanese to English
Excellent point Oct 29

Tom in London wrote:
I can't understand how some people can work and also listen to music. I assume they're only *hearing* the music; not *listening* to it and that the music is not in any way challenging.

Exactly so. If you're splitting your attention to listen to the music, how can you focus fully on the work?

If you're focusing fully on the work, why listen to any music, other than something that is acting as white or pink noise?

(I used pink noise, back when I worked in an office, to block out distracting sounds from others - but then you don't *listen* to pink noise.)


Tom in London
Teresa Borges
Emanuele Vacca
 

Emanuele Vacca
Italy
Local time: 02:24
English to Italian
+ ...
Translation and music Nov 5

Dan Lucas wrote:
If you're splitting your attention to listen to the music, how can you focus fully on the work?

I think this sentence makes it clear that human attention is not a "block" that can only be directed towards a single activity, but something that can be split. My personal experience is that not every document (or portion of a document) that I translate requires 100% of my attention. Some translations are just easier than others, e.g. because they require less terminology research or less thinking in order to come up with sentences with a natural and pleasant syntax. What I noticed is that when I work on these "easier" translations I actually *need* to listen to some music, in order to keep busy the portion of my attention that is not needed for the translation. Luckily, I spend just a few hours a week performing these easier works. And when I work on more challenging stuff I am not really able to focus on anything else apart from the translation.


 

Maxi Schwarz  Identity Verified
Local time: 19:24
German to English
+ ...
hardware mostly; re: music Nov 5

A well functioning computer, two large monitors, and a two-part desk that can fold out to any angle so that everything is easy to see and reach. I replaced one monitor with a Dell that is designed specifically for people working with words, rather than gaming. It is much easier on the eyes. Ergonomic keyboard that looks like it belongs in a Dali painting. Saddle chair. Ergonomics in terms of height. Bookshelf behind me for the few books I still use, and things like my certification stamp,... See more
A well functioning computer, two large monitors, and a two-part desk that can fold out to any angle so that everything is easy to see and reach. I replaced one monitor with a Dell that is designed specifically for people working with words, rather than gaming. It is much easier on the eyes. Ergonomic keyboard that looks like it belongs in a Dali painting. Saddle chair. Ergonomics in terms of height. Bookshelf behind me for the few books I still use, and things like my certification stamp, paper clips etc. .......... A rebounder so I can leave the desk and boinga-boinga muscles back into relaxation. Apparently it drains toxins from the lymph glands, they say. (?)

Music: I study music: I practice music. If I had music "in the background" it would capture my attention and move to the foreground. In no time I might find myself at the piano working something out, or scribbling hieroglyphic chord symbols. Even in a conversation, if they've got music on and something intriguing just happened, I've lost the conversation - I'm gone. Newly discovered Jacob Collier would be especially distracting. (Btw, he has some interesting things to say about the effect of one's language on music.)

Back on topic. I've been fall-cleaning. My old once-expensive Termium went in the bin. Nowadays it's on-line, and free.

Fast internet. Gotta have that.

Time use. Stop before you're tired. Be aware that you're tired.
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Paula McMullan  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:24
Member (2006)
French to English
Horses for courses Nov 13

I used to revise for exams listening to music, but now I find it too distracting. I wonder if this is a factor of age?!

It's worth remembering that the 60bpm of Bach and other such composers helps the brain settle into alpha wave patterns which enhance our cognitive function.

It surely doesn't matter whether someone likes to listen to music or not. The important thing is the quality of their output.


 

Tom in London
United Kingdom
Local time: 01:24
Member (2008)
Italian to English
Bach Nov 13

Paula McMullan wrote:

It's worth remembering that the 60bpm of Bach .... helps the brain settle into alpha wave patterns which enhance our cognitive function.


I'm sure that wasn't what Bach had in mind when he was composing. Although I have heard that he wrote the Brandenburg Concertos as relaxing after-dinner music for the Prince of Brandenburg...

[Edited at 2019-11-13 15:47 GMT]


 


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