There are times when you can barely look up from the desk. That’s because you are so immersed in translating that you really lose track of time. It’s the desk, the laptop, the content on the screen and you, the translator in such a tight bond, that a phone call may be a nuisance or even such a distraction that you feel you can’t get back to the state of working so deep and isolated from the outer world so easily.
Such moments are still rare. You can willingly refuse to talk to anyone and follow that thread until it just lets itself and at a certain time it will eventually snap. I’ve talked to translators while I was in Vienna, and with some colleagues in Zagreb, touching upon the subject of breaks and the immense help it gives translators when they know exactly when to insert them.
Taking breaks is crucial
Some follow a for me until now incomprehensible trend to have small breaks every 25 minutes. That would be an extremely quick repose for a translator, who has barely begun with the work.
Sure, one should distance oneself from the text within a few hours of having dealt with it profoundly and let the eyes rest on a patch of green, at best somewhere in close proximity to the work environment. Even getting away from the desk, stretching your legs and letting in fresh air raises the quality of work you are doing within the four walls of your home.
Don’t understimate the power of breaks. Either breaks in terms of time or the homophonic brakes in terms of reservations and detachment. Timely breaks, which come after a feeling of imminent burden and stress of having performed mental work more than 2-3 hours relentlessly are a real treat to the mind. The same as having a shower after a hot day…