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Poll: The music I listen to enriches my translation abilities
Thread poster: ProZ.com Staff

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Local time: 04:48
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Apr 3, 2016

This forum topic is for the discussion of the poll question "The music I listen to enriches my translation abilities".

This poll was originally submitted by Mario Chavez. View the poll results »



 

Teresa Borges
Portugal
Local time: 12:48
Member (2007)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2016

I love music and I do listen to music almost every day, mostly classic and French and Italian opera, and also jazz, rock, pop, fado (one might say I’m pretty eclectic music-wise), except while working: I find music very distracting. Nevertheless as I need some background noise my TV is always on, unless I'm revising my work or proofreading others' work, when I press the mute key.

I should add that I grew up listening my mother playing piano or studying a piece of music (meaning re
... See more
I love music and I do listen to music almost every day, mostly classic and French and Italian opera, and also jazz, rock, pop, fado (one might say I’m pretty eclectic music-wise), except while working: I find music very distracting. Nevertheless as I need some background noise my TV is always on, unless I'm revising my work or proofreading others' work, when I press the mute key.

I should add that I grew up listening my mother playing piano or studying a piece of music (meaning repeating a few notes over and over again) every single day (by then I found it a nuisance, sorry Mom!), so if it really enriches one’s ability to translate I should be better than I think I am.

On another note – pun intended – my mother still plays her piano at 102 years of age…


[Edited at 2016-04-03 11:10 GMT]
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Susana E. Cano Méndez  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:48
French to Spanish
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2016

Same as Teresa.

I love music, but I can't listen to it while working, because it makes me "fly", and therefore, stop working.


 

Vera Schoen  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 13:48
Member (2008)
German to Swedish
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2016

I don't listen to music while I work, I'd be far too distracted.

 

Ian Keith Jones Williams  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:48
Member
German to English
+ ...
Special playlists Apr 3, 2016

I always listen to music while working. It tends to be downtempo or classical. I have made special playlists with quiet tracks. I may have to turn down the volume when proofreading. Tracks are usually instrumental as singing is distracting. The music also helps to block out any street noise.

 

neilmac  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 13:48
Spanish to English
+ ...
Other Apr 3, 2016

When I have music playing in the background while I'm translating, I think it enriches my working environment, as I sometimes find silence oppressive. If the music becomes intrusive I can always turn it off. However, whether or not it enhances or enriches my translation abilities per se is questionable. Personally, I doubt it.

 

Sheila Wilson  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 12:48
Member (2007)
English
+ ...
I don't listen to anything while I work Apr 3, 2016

When I'm working, I'm concentrating. I sit right by a window but I don't necessarily notice when it rains either. For me, music is best listened to live, and I do that several evenings each week. But my husband is a singer/songwriter and he needs to play at times during the day. I don't always notice but when I do I don't find it either distracting or particularly helpful. Unless he's having great difficulty with a few bars of something new and plays them over and over again. Then they slowly fi... See more
When I'm working, I'm concentrating. I sit right by a window but I don't necessarily notice when it rains either. For me, music is best listened to live, and I do that several evenings each week. But my husband is a singer/songwriter and he needs to play at times during the day. I don't always notice but when I do I don't find it either distracting or particularly helpful. Unless he's having great difficulty with a few bars of something new and plays them over and over again. Then they slowly filter through and I have to take a break as that ruins my concentration.

Interestingly enough, few of the musicians here (and there are very many) have music on in the background in the home, or in the car. But the non-musicians tend to have something playing the whole day. I wonder why?
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Kristina Cosumano (X)  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 13:48
German to English
I would have to change the sentence to: Apr 3, 2016

"The music that I allow to be played in the background does not hinder my translation abilities."

As a professional musician, my ears can compartmentalize or shut out all kinds of sound sources when I am talking, working, reading, writing, or even practicing - radio, TV, conversations in my source language, and recorded music.
I love all kinds of music, but when I am working on certain jobs I can't have certain types of it on or I'll start to listen to it.
... See more
"The music that I allow to be played in the background does not hinder my translation abilities."

As a professional musician, my ears can compartmentalize or shut out all kinds of sound sources when I am talking, working, reading, writing, or even practicing - radio, TV, conversations in my source language, and recorded music.
I love all kinds of music, but when I am working on certain jobs I can't have certain types of it on or I'll start to listen to it. The exception is quiet, Baroque instrumental fare (acoustic guitar, for example, is seldom a probem), or anything similar. Voices are right out.

That said, we live next to a small working farm, so music is the least of my aural distractions - cows, chickens, small children, and especially tractors and other farm machinery.

[Edited at 2016-04-03 11:46 GMT]
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Muriel Vasconcellos  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 04:48
Member (2003)
Spanish to English
+ ...
No! Apr 3, 2016

Language has its own rhythm, which is part of the communication process. I find that listening to music interferes with my understanding of the text. I require total silence when I'm working.

 

Mario Chavez (X)  Identity Verified
Local time: 07:48
English to Spanish
+ ...
Music does enrich my translation abilities Apr 3, 2016

Like Ian, I prefer instrumental (either downtempo, classical or jazz) while I work. As I'm writing these lines, I'm listening to a record of French composers (baroque music, wind instruments). The tempo, the cadenza, the rhythmic changes, the fugues, etc. work like a mental massage and gets my thoughts going.

To some, this may sound the opposite of concentration, but this apparently chaotic environment is very conducive to my thinking along and through lines of text and their neighb
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Like Ian, I prefer instrumental (either downtempo, classical or jazz) while I work. As I'm writing these lines, I'm listening to a record of French composers (baroque music, wind instruments). The tempo, the cadenza, the rhythmic changes, the fugues, etc. work like a mental massage and gets my thoughts going.

To some, this may sound the opposite of concentration, but this apparently chaotic environment is very conducive to my thinking along and through lines of text and their neighbors, such as white spaces, inserts, graphs, tables, etc.

When I was in college, I was also singing in a choir. I instinctively knew that language and music interweave in translation, but I didn't know how.

Now I know at least a bit of how language, writing, translation and music interact.
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Bruno Veilleux
Canada
Local time: 07:48
English to French
Sort of yes Apr 3, 2016

I wouldn't say music enhances my translation itself, but it makes work more palatable. I spend more time listening to music than not, and when I can't I often have something "playing" in my mind. So trying to work for an extended period without music often makes me restless and ruins my concentration and motivation to work. I prefer to work more hours with distractions than condense things into fewer hours with nothing to focus on but the work at hand.

Any of the music I like is fai
... See more
I wouldn't say music enhances my translation itself, but it makes work more palatable. I spend more time listening to music than not, and when I can't I often have something "playing" in my mind. So trying to work for an extended period without music often makes me restless and ruins my concentration and motivation to work. I prefer to work more hours with distractions than condense things into fewer hours with nothing to focus on but the work at hand.

Any of the music I like is fair game while I work, but I'll favor instrumentals when I tend to get too easily distracted and sometimes just pause it when proofreading.
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TB CommuniCAT  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 07:48
Member (2014)
English to French
Joining my colleagues Apr 3, 2016

I don't listen to music as it disrupts my concentration. I need total quietness to focus.

 

Yetta Jensen Bogarde  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 13:48
Member (2012)
English to Danish
+ ...
Perhaps, Apr 3, 2016

since music enriches your life en general.

Sometimes I play classical music in the background as I work, but not most of the time. It depends upon my mood and the nature of the translation.

I don't understand the people who need other noice, such as from TV, when they work.


 

Ricki Farn
Germany
Local time: 13:48
Member (2005)
English to German
I never listen to music Apr 3, 2016

... at all. I avoid entering rooms where music is playing.

I wish I had grown up entirely without ever finding out that music exists. I find it annoying, and it has turned into persistent data garbage in my head that I can't shake. I still find myself humming tunes from decades ago, and they still steal my energy and concentration.


 

Nikki Scott-Despaigne  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:48
French to English
Translating while listening to music? Or music generally? Apr 3, 2016

On the neuroscience front, there are several theories, but there is consensus about the consequences of doing several tasks simulatenously : your attention is divided and you are less efficient. The nature of the task is important too. Of those who report listening to music when working, some say that when proofreading, the music is off or toned down. Others indicate that they cannot work with music with lyrics if they need to concentrate. That is not surprising ; our brains have a particular fa... See more
On the neuroscience front, there are several theories, but there is consensus about the consequences of doing several tasks simulatenously : your attention is divided and you are less efficient. The nature of the task is important too. Of those who report listening to music when working, some say that when proofreading, the music is off or toned down. Others indicate that they cannot work with music with lyrics if they need to concentrate. That is not surprising ; our brains have a particular faculty to "tune in" to the human voice, the spoken word. Here the question posted has been understood to be about music one listens to when working.

However, the question can also be read more generally. Does the music I listen to enrich my translation abilities? Yes, I am sure it plays an important role. When not translating, I listen to music a lot. English, French, Arab, Latin American, jazz, whatever. My family background is quite musical. We all had music lessons and played one or more instrument(s) and still do. One of my siblings is a music producer, with more than 40 years in world music. If you listen to music in your working languages, without much effort, you can pick up a lot of important language, along with all the other stuff that makes language language. Words are often fiddled around with to fit, or the music to fit the language.

Spoken language has to be "sung" correctly to be understood. Without the right emphasis, melody and rhythm, which can be described as prosody, then misunderstandings can arise, as the intention is perverted or lost. At worst, you are simply not understood at all ! Words and music also help appreciate silence. It's nice to know where the "off" button is!

[Edited at 2016-04-03 20:59 GMT]
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