As you might have heard, technology will never replace you as an interpreter: an interpreter who uses technology will replace you, no problem!
In the next series of essays I will try to convey information that might be common knowledge to some, but will be useful to all. It’s not a matter of taking everything you already know and jettison it in order to acquire brand new knowledge. It is not such a radical departure from your knowledge base, but the rapid advances in technology do put pressure on all of us to find ways to incorporate those changes into our every activity, especially in regards to the performance of our duties as interpreters/translators. All the information that will be shared should be considered as one more viable option for “doing things,” and not an imposition on you to drop everything you are already doing and adopting somebody else’s way of “doing things.”
For instance, a large part of our duties include a hefty amount of computer usage. From reading work-related emails to checking terminology in online dictionaries to charting our activities, we all are obliged to interact with computerized systems. We all must interact with computers, and we all must be proficient in the general environment of computers. Most computers are controlled by means of a QWERTY keyboard and a mouse. At times, this is cumbersome and tedious, since it is not an “intuitive” activity. The secret to improve your computer experience is to avoid “wasted motion” as much as possible. For this, you must learn which “shortcuts” are available for each particular program you might use, and for the general Windows environment.
For example, in Windows 7 you can log off your session by grabbing the mouse and locating first the cursor and then the “Start” bubble, click to open it, click to open the “Shut down” submenu, and finally clicking on “log off.” Or you could use the following shortcut and avoid any unnecessary fiddling with the mouse:
Windows key --> --> "L" key
By using this keyboard shortcut, the computer will know to close all open programs and log off the current user. There are many combinations of keys that work in many programs across the Windows environment. The most useful are CTRL+C (copy), CTRL+V (paste), and CTRL+X (cut). Also, the navigation keys are more convenient to use than the mouse in many instances, like when you are writing a document and you need to copy and paste a text selection, but have problems highlighting the precise selection. To use the directional keys to highlight a selection, instead of using the mouse by placing the cursor on the beginning of your selection, pressing and holding down the left button, and then dragging the cursor until the end of your selection, all you need to do is move the cursor to the beginning of the selection, hold down the SHIFT key, and then use the directional keys to advance the cursor to the desired position.
For a more comprehensive list of shortcuts, please read this link:
There you will find many interesting tips, especially the ones about assigning your own shortcuts to the Office suite.
Small things, all of these shortcuts, but they can help to avoid “wasted motion,” and keep you focused on the actual task at hand, not on your dexterity.