Confidential content that needs to be translated is a usual thing in the business world. That is how I found myself with a text on the screen and a dictionary in my lap. And now what? Honestly, it’s been a while since I used only a dictionary for translating. No internet, no connection to the world. Only words everywhere. Few years ago, I would never imagine that this situation would present a challenge! Just out of a habit, from time to time I click on the browser icon to see the well known message, No internet connection. Ah, right. I forgot it again. So, let’s get to work, the clock is ticking. Oh, vocabulary, you strange device!
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It is only when you are restricted to do an offline translation that you realize how much you use the internet in your everyday work.
Why do you need the internet?
There are so many different glossaries that associate you with a synonym or even offer you the specific word or phrase you are searching for. All the different links where you can check your grammar, forums with answers to your dilemmas, even only typing a phrase you thought of to check if it is used like that. That was all gone. Also doing research, looking for a word you need, exploring, finding new words and useful links. I mean, that’s a treasure for any translator. Thoughts were flying around in my mind and all the time I was wondering how to do everything without all these resources?
Mission impossible or…?
Mission possible! I reminded myself of the touch of the dictionary paper pages. This is the real thing. Hey, this dictionary is good, you see, here they explain this too. Hmm, that’s interesting. Yes, that’s what I’m looking for. No, this word doesn’t exist here, neither here. Hey, what’s going on, how to translate this?! Let me see. Ah, ok I found it. Oh, yes that’s the word. I mean, I knew it. I’m doing well actually. Wow, I didn’t know it can go so fast without the internet!
Usually I work alone on my translation projects. This time the project was big and urgent, so the contractor assigned three team members, me one of them. That was a new and exciting experience. Brainstorming together about a word or a phrase one of us wasn’t sure how to translate, always led us to successful solutions. We were like living dictionaries to one another. Also when one’s brain was stuck in finding a simple word, the other could help because of “mind freshness” while working on some other document. (You know how it is when you can’t remember a simple word, like it doesn’t exist in your vocabulary at all. Our brains are playing with us sometimes...) Since the documentation was for the same business department and the materials had some similar parts, we needed to agree upon common terminology we used. At the end we were actually amazed by how quickly and easily we completed the project without using internet at all.
You know what I realized after this experience? Actually, after the first working day on this project. How much time we spend (read lose) online on “just checking my mail for a minute”, “only to see what’s going on my social media”, “oh, it’s good to read the news”, “OMG, is it raining? Let me check the weather forecast”. The day passes by and you don’t work efficiently because of lack of concentration and too many online distractions that make you feel like it’s impossible not to click on them immediately.
In the end, everything is possible
Even if you think it’s not. If you are a quality translator with a wide background and experience in business and translation, you will always find your way and deliver a quality result. When it comes to internet and translation, I would say that balance and focus matter most. What do you think?