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Exercises

1 Set up a translating speed test. Translate first 10 words in five minutes;

then 20 words in five minutes; then 30, 40, 50, and so on. Stick with the

five-minute period each time, but add 10 more words. Try to pace yourself

as you proceed through each text segment: when you do 10 words

in five minutes, translate two words the first minute, two more the

second, etc. When you are trying to do 100 words in five minutes, try to

translate 20 words each minute. Pay attention to your "comfort zone" as

the speed increases. How does it feel to translate slowly? Medium-speed?

Fast? When the pace gets too fast for your comfort, stop. Discuss or reflect

on what this test tells you about your attitudes toward translation speed.

2 Reflect on times in your studies or a previous career when you were close

to burnout — when the stress levels seemed intolerable, when nothing in

your work gave you pleasure. Feel again all those feelings. Now direct

them to a translation task, for this class or another. Sit and stare at the

source text, feeling the stress rising: it's due tomorrow and you haven't

started working on it yet; it looks so boring that you want to scream; the

person you're doing it for (a client, your teacher) is going to hate your

translation; you haven't had time for yourself, time to put your feet up

and laugh freely at some silly TV show, in months. Pay attention to your

bodily responses: what do you feel?

3 Now shake your head and shoulders and relax; put all thought of deadlines

and critiques out of your head. Give yourself ten minutes to do

nothing; then look through the source text with an eye to doing the

silliest translation you can imagine. Start doing the silly translation

in your head; imagine a group of friends laughing together over the

translation. Work with another person to come up with the funniest bad

translation of the text, and laugh together while you work. Now imagine

yourself doing the "straight" or serious translation — and compare your

feelings about the task now with your feelings under stress.