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I have a couple of colleagues who carry computers to the booth. Now I'm all in favour of new technologies when they are used to help get through the meeting at hand. However, some people type away like there was no tomorrow, writing emails, playing games, etc. The noise bothers me.

However, some are senior colleagues and I'm afraid to say anything. Are there general guidelines about using computers in the booth?

asked 26 Oct '11, 19:24

Sirpa's gravatar image


edited 26 Oct '11, 19:38

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Interesting question. You can replace "typing" by many other things. Perfume for instance. Or gypsy tassle bracelets that clink on the desk.

(26 Oct '11, 22:18) Vincent Buck

There aren't any general guidelines and I don't think there's any need. It's a question of basic booth-manners. If by typing your colleague distracts you whilst interpreting, you should say it regardless of their seniority.

Obviously there's no need to be abrupt when saying it, just smile and say it politely, I'm sure it will do the trick. And if it doesn't you can resort to other tactics.

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answered 26 Oct '11, 21:10

Marta%20Piera%20Marin's gravatar image

Marta Piera ...

like dropping a cup of tea on the keyboard?? ;-)

(30 Apr '12, 15:07) Danielle

if you are distracted by the sounds when you are interpreting you need to wear the headset on both ears. Problem solved.

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answered 04 Dec '15, 07:56

Cyril%20Flerov's gravatar image

Cyril Flerov

edited 05 Dec '15, 04:44

Gaspar's gravatar image

Gaspar ♦♦

Listening with one ear is often recommended even by large conference interpretation employers, especially in Europe. However, it is incorrect. It is safer to listen to with both ears because you ll need less volume and therefore are better protected from acoustic shock if there is microphone feedback. Monitoring your own voice is required however it should be done by selecting a correct kind of headset (semi closed or semi open as opposed to closed). Listening with one ear was developed as a technique at the dawn of simul because headsets were closed at that time. Now with a greater variety of headsets on the market it is easier to select a headset that d let in enough of your own voice in. So, no, if you have a correct headset it will not exhaust you more and will not make you speak louder. Not in my experience. Listening with one ear is a rather common and unfortunate misconception.

(03 Dec '15, 23:16) Cyril Flerov

Both ears covered -if you're not used to it- messes up your self-monitoring, forces you to speak louder, overall exhausts you more and at the end of the day, is likely to impact the quality of the work done. I'd rather tell my colleague, as Marta suggests.

(04 Dec '15, 04:27) Gaspar ♦♦

As I said, it's counter-productive if you're not used to it. My client who is paying for my services is entitled to the best performance I can provide. The easiest and most efficient way to solve the problem when it occurs is to ask my colleague to stop typing. Not to mention that if the typing is loud enough to disturb me, it's likely to be heard in my users' headsets as well.

(04 Dec '15, 09:11) Gaspar ♦♦

Very interesting point about the headphones. My experience sort of backs that up... I listen with 1.5 earphones/headphones on, but that is definitely made possible by the leakage of sound into both ears. However, I don't think it's the right solution to this particular problem! Easier to politely ask someone to stop typing... and it might even be good for the typist to discover that they are making a noise. Some colleagues are blissfully unaware of the noise they make.

(05 Dec '15, 01:56) Andy

Yes, even with both hears covered typing can still be distracting.

(06 Feb '16, 23:43) Luigi

If we stick to typing and not to all the other possible distractions, I remember resourceful colleagues being proactive about their typing noise and inserting those tiny rubber bands that kids have to use on their braces under each key. Of course, if one uses a tablet with an onscreen keyboard (ok, new tech since the question was asked), there is no typing sound, though the flying fingers can be visually distracting.

(09 Feb '16, 05:38) JuliaP
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question asked: 26 Oct '11, 19:24

question was seen: 5,789 times

last updated: 09 Feb '16, 05:38 is a community-driven website open to anyone with questions and/or answers about interpreting, i.e. spoken language translation

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