Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Tedious Technical Translation Jobs

Here's the challenge. A large technical job. Technical so only someone with the right expertise can understand it, but not hard enough for experts to need to give it much though. It's probably not the most professional thing to consider, but with those long long dull jobs. What's the best way to stay focused and not lose quality or concentration. As long sentence melds into similar long sentence, with a pressing time line and many hours in front of the computer it can be really hard to stay motivated. My own experience with this has been very much a changing experience. Firstly, back in the days when I first started, I was so excited about the thought that I was finally getting paid to translate, that I basically got through even the most dull jobs with a kind of energy. After a couple of years, those jobs become a stable part of my income and with a reasonable time table I would find myself allocating 2 or 3 hours a day on those jobs in between other more interesting stuff. That's the basis of my current strategy, which is to take frequent breaks and make sure I actually use the breaks to get away from my laptop. Work for an hour, a quick walk to the shop, a walk round the block and back for another hour. Then a tea break and play the guitar for ten minutes. Back to the job. Work until I feel I really want to move around. Go to the gym. Work until I get really hungry. Take twenty minutes to have a quick meal... That's how my days can look when I'm working on a really big job. There are also a couple of other things that help me. One is to play music I don't know very well, so I don't find myself singing along or typing the lyrics. A colleague of mine used to always listen to music in languages she didn't understand for the same reasons. (A good excuse for Sigor Ros, if you ever need one). I tend to avoid radio and just go through a long album. An album length is about the length of one of my sessions so it's about right. Another thing is to keep concentrating. If I find I'm looking out the window/thinking about eating/remembering a concentration, I give myself a mental slap and get back on task. Focus, focus. It's hard to focus, but it makes life a lot better. Another thing is to play tricks on myself. It's only 4% I need to do and then I'll only have another 6% to get to today's target. Just need to reach 4%. Somehow telling myself to focus on things like that seems to help me keep my concentration. Weirdly, I was watching a documentary about the great philosopher Slavoj Zizek, and he said he does the same thing. So great minds kind of think alike. Those are a couple of my tips. I haven't found a magical solution, or really good method, but these do help me. What do you do????

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