Words per minute

Words per minute? Most translators know their word count per day or per week, but per minute?

In a profession that pays by the word, it is definitely worth a translator’s while to increase her word count per minute, and the quickest way to do that is to learn (or relearn) touch typing.

After years of typing above all English texts on a German keyboard, I decided to revisit typing class and get my muscle memory back in shape. Luckily, I found just what I was looking for online.

The lessons are short and simple. A few minutes a day is all it takes. Progress is quick. Whether you use an English or German keyboard the online typewriter can help.

I for one noticed immediate improvement in my typing and, as we all know, every minute counts when you’re paid by the word.


3 responses to “Words per minute

  1. I can’t agree with this one, Sarah. Typing speed isn’t the bottleneck; thinking and research are. I type 40 words per minute by hunt-and-peck with almost no errors. (I’ve timed this a number of times and it’s pretty consistent.) With 60 minutes to the hour, you might expect me to translate 2400 words/hour. Needless to say I’m not close to that. My housemate used to type somewhere between 80 and 100 wpm, probably still does. But our translation speeds are about the same unless one of us happens to know a particular subject area better than the other.

    A good night’s sleep or wallpaper with a soothing color will probably do more for your translation speed than typing texts about quick brown foxes faster ever will.

  2. Of course you are right Kevin. I never meant to suggest that typing speed is more important than research or knowledge. Or that the number of words you can type in an hour is equivalent to the number of words you can translate in that time.

    My typing speed actually slowed me down because my fingers couldn’t keep up with my thoughts. I am constantly working on terminology and research but only recently did I realize that something as basic as typing can also make a difference.

  3. I didn’t think you had implied that typing speed was more important at all: I was merely expressing my doubt that on the whole it matters much. But you’re younger than I am and have more functioning brain cells, so it’s quite likely that your thoughts do run faster 😉 I could chisel my translations in stone or press them in clay and still keep pace with my thoughts.

    That said, it would be nice not to have to look at the keyboard all the time regardless of whether I work faster or slower.

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