Translators – The Importance of Investing in Equipment
This post was originally published on the FAZT Blog. It is reposted with permission.
As professional translators, we often discuss the significant investment required in our field. This includes expenses on training, software, work equipment, association fees, and time spent on day-to-day business management, such as paying taxes, managing social media, and meetings.
📚 However, the misconception that a translator is just a walking dictionary 😅 is far from the truth. Investing in equipment is crucial for our profession, especially since we spend much time sitting down and typing, leading to problems in the spine, hands, and wrists.
🍀 I was fortunate enough to have good mentors who emphasized the importance of investing in equipment. For instance, my post-graduation colleague Liliana Pereira stressed the importance of wrist rests when I injured the base of my thumb while subtitling a TV show.
⏳ In our profession, the objective is to make as little effort as possible with our fingers and hands to avoid injuries and optimize time.
At the Translation Summit 2022, Nora Díaz highlighted this issue, noting that professionals in our field cannot purchase equipment randomly. All purchases must be thoughtful and intentional. It was fascinating to learn that gaming equipment is suitable for our work.
Here are some critical pieces of equipment for translators:
🖥 Screens – having two or three screens allows us to open the API, original text, and glossary simultaneously, making research more manageable. The larger screen will enable us to divide it into two parts and access two A4 documents simultaneously. Sometimes, I use my iPad as a third screen.
💺 Chair – the chair must have good lumbar support, and the arms must be height adjustable so that we are constantly working with the arm supported.
⌨ Keyboard – I learned about the convenience of a mechanical keyboard at the @Nora Diaz conference. The effort needed to type is much lower, and you can choose the intensity of the keys. In my case, I opted for a gaming keyboard, and I am delighted with the comfort it provides.
✍ Wrist rest – working with the wrist supported and not floating in the air is essential. If we spend many hours typing with the wrist suspended, we will experience pain and facilitate injuries.
🖱 Mouse – ergonomic mouse are available in the market, but only some adapt to them. The one I bought wasn’t the best option, and I had to put it aside, and now I’m testing a super light and thin one with a fast cursor that works without much effort.
💡 Shortcuts – learning shortcuts for our software saves us from using mouse movements often. We must learn as many shortcuts as possible to avoid straining our wrists.
I recommend gradually investing in the right equipment for those entering the profession to avoid affecting productivity. It is preferable to acquire quality material step by step. This investment will benefit productivity and protect your health.
This is how my desk looks. Now you know where I spend my days.
About the Author
For Maria Virgínia Barros, bringing people together through language and culture is her passion. She is a native European Portuguese speaker residing in Portugal. She holds a Modern Languages and Literature degree from the University of Porto and a post-graduate degree in Specialized Translation and CAT tools from the Porto Executive Academy. Her language proficiency includes French, English, and Spanish. She has worked exclusively as a translator, interpreter, proofreader, technical writer, and subtitler.
She is on a mission to bring dreams to life, one translation at a time. With her passion for languages, she is dedicated to putting people in touch.