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Favorite tools: WorkPace July 8, 2008

Posted by Jill (@bonnjill) in Random musings, Tools.

If you are anything like me, you are passionate about translation and can become fixated on what is displayed on your computer screen, forgetting everything around you. I can work for several hours without taking a break and have been known to forget to eat or even move. I first heard about WorkPace® (or a program very similar to it) when I lived in Germany in the late 1990s. I kept telling myself I should download it, but never got around to it. I have always been concerned about ergonomics (as demonstrated by my ergonomic German keyboard with integrated touchpad, which no one but me enjoys working on. I love it so much I moved both keyboards—work and home—with me when I relocated back to the U.S. in 2001), so I eventually got around to downloading the 1-month trial version. I bought a license before the trial was even up.

WorkPace® is a breaks and exercise software tool proven to help prevent, and aid recovery from, Repetitive Strain Injury (also known as RSI, OOS and Carpal Tunnel Syndrome). The software provides an integrated health and safety solution for computer users, with break, stretch and exercise reminders, ergonomic training, monitoring of discomfort levels, and statistics on computer use. In short, it is a holistic tool that rocks.

WorkPace® monitors your keystrokes and offers break reminders that include stretches and exercises you can do in front of your computer to “reinvigorate your body and mind.” The more intensely you work, the more “microbreaks” (8-second pauses in your typing) will be displayed. However, you can change the settings to fit your needs. For example, you can turn it off if you decide you need to concentrate. It took a while to adjust to these microbreaks and especially the breaks. I eventually turned the microbreaks off completely, but still try to adhere to the breaks. Otherwise the program will chastise me and display a “frownie face” in the toolbar.

The first day I used the program I was under a lot of stress to get a legal translation of the German Cosmetics Ordinance finished, but I complied with most of the breaks and found my stress level wasn’t as high as it could have been. I never realized how badly I need to stretch and am reminded each time I perform a stretch and hear my back crack or feel the muscle stretch and loosen.

It is available in two editions, Personal and Professional. WorkPace Personal is designed for individual users, so it is perfect for the translator sitting in his or her home office. WorkPace currently supports English, Dutch, Spanish, Swedish, Norwegian and Portuguese (Note: All languages supported are automatically included with each software product. When you download and install the product, all languages are then available. Each user can choose their own language preferences from the Preferences / Language menu in WorkPace). The license for WorkPace Personal costs $49.00.



1. WorkPace User Review - RSI-Relief - July 8, 2008

[…] Musings from an overworked translator, Jill Sommer reviews WorkPace, a software utility that reminds computer users to take breaks and […]

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