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How we used to work before the internet

How we used to work before the internet

As a new professional who graduated in 2020 and completed a Masters in Translation in 2021, working without the internet is inconceivable to me. From simply googling for dictionaries and specialised corpora, to completing two degrees and a training placement remotely in a pandemic without the need to meet any of my lecturers or coursemates in person, the internet is completely interwoven into my understanding of translation as a profession.

But translation has existed as long as language itself, so I asked my colleagues at MTT if they have any fond memories of translation work pre-internet. Some of the favourites were:

  • Typewritten copy arriving by post and making amends with Tippex
  • Lots of post and far longer turnaround times, as documents had to be posted to the translator, back to the agency, then to the client before fax machines
  • Typewriters and carbon paper to keep a copy of a document on file after sending it to the client
  • Only one PC in the entire company
  • Dial-up internet squealing when it connected
  • Paper dictionaries and trips to Birmingham library for specialist dictionaries
  • Tractor feed printers and ripping off the strip with holes at the edge of the paper
  • Plugging a chip into the computer to make the text processing programme work and changing it if you wanted a different programme

And, of course, the one I’m most envious of:

  • Formatting was non-existent!

Of course, we have all the latest systems and IT these days – so get in touch by email or phone to see how we can help you with your translation needs, without a postman in sight!

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