Unscientific evidence suggests that more and more translators are using BlackBerries, Treos and other types of wireless e-mail devices. Whereas these devices used to be (say until a few years ago) nearly absent from translation-related events, half of the attendees at a recent Colorado Translators Association workshop said that they use a BlackBerry or similar device.
I’ll admit that I am someone who enjoys excluding technology and communications devices from certain areas of my life. I don’t answer my business phone line when I’m not working, I have no problem going away for the weekend to a place that doesn’t have cell reception, etc. and my sense is that many translators feel similarly. A colleague recently told me that she “only turns her cell phone on by appointment” and I generally don’t think of translators as people who are obsessed with being reachable.
At the same time, I’ll admit that I do a fair bit of “going home to quickly check e-mail.” Although I sometimes take a weekday off to enjoy some recreation and then make up the work time at night, I’m reluctant to be out of the office for more than about three hours at a time, for fear that I’ll miss an important work-related communication. So, I frequently pop back into the office just to check e-mail, then head out again if nothing demands immediate attention. In one sense I see how a BlackBerry or similar device could avoid this situation, since I could simply respond to the important e-mail while outside the office. In another sense, I’m terrified of becoming one of those people who feels lost and insecure without connectivity, and I wonder if it’s really possible to handle a translator’s work-related e-mail, i.e. “could you take a look at this 125 page file and tell me how long it would take to translate it and how much it would cost?” on a tiny screen. Any thoughts?