(Translated from Spanish into English)
Translation and interpretation aren’t working sectors that come with a high frequency of working accidents. Nevertheless, if you work for a translation agency, just like being a freelancer, you’ll need an ergonomically designed and optimized working space. Otherwise you might find yourself holding forced postures for too long and this could provoke muscular injuries or pain that you could have otherwise avoided.
In this post we’d like to provide you with general information about working ergonomics and postural hygiene as well as some more specific advice about how to adjust and find one’s way with seating position, screen, keyboard and mouse. The tips are also– without a doubt – suitable for any other office job.
You should now try and observe and analyse yourself. Pay attention to your posture. Are you using muscles that aren’t necessary for the action you’re performing? Are you causing tensions in any part of your body that’s not necessary? Are you comfortable? Is your back supported by the back rest? And now, as you’re scrolling through our website Translation Boutique – are you overstraining your wrist while dragging the mouse or clicking with it? Is your neck relaxed? Do you have adequate lighting in your working space in order to avoid eyestrain? And is your screen reflecting?
It’s said that a screen should be about 50 – 55 cm away and in a position vertical to the exposure of light to avoid reflections. In matters of size it’s estimated that the screen’s highest part should be in a horizontal line to or no less than 60º underneath the eyes.
It’s advisable to choose a monitor that permits adjustment and has flexibility so that you can move it according to the kind of seat you’re using or depending on who is using it, if it has multiple users.
The position and characteristics of a keyboard are very important in order to avoid injuries. Furthermore, they should allow us to enjoy our work. Frequently repeated movements can be dangerous, that’s why we need to be precautious.
First, it would be ideal to have enough space between the keypad and the end of the desk, that space supports your wrists when you’re leaning on the desk or table, it’s advisable to have a distance of 10 – 15 cm. A good option are keyboards with built-in wrist rests made of gel because they allow the resting of your wrists during breaks. You can also use separate wrist rests that lower the natural aptitude generated from your hands to elbows during writing.
A convenient position is one in which forearm, wrist and hand form a straight line. It’s not recommended to use the drawer that some desks have incorporated for the keyboard because it makes us use too much strength in our wrist while writing and it takes away our leg space.
Regarding the mouse, it should be next to the keypad and the cables shouldn’t be tangled. We also recommend a wrist rest made out of gel for this case in order to cause as minimal strain on our wrists as possible. Try to make smooth movements and press the mouse delicately without stressing the joints.
Once we have all our working equipment in the adequate positions, we should observe ourselves once more.
The first thing you should ask yourselves – although it sounds simple – is do you have all the elements you need to conduct tasks within reach. Make sure that you don’t have to make strenuous movements in order to do so and have everything you’ll need within comfortable reach.
In the case of translators and the majority of people who work in an office, the computer takes up the most space on the desk. We should arrange the screen and the keypad in front of us so that we can use them without having to twist the torso.
Maintaining a good posture is indispensable to avoid tiring certain parts of the body and preventing injuries. If we’re talking about the perfect posture we should keep in mind that continuously holding a certain position is bad for our body– no matter how ideal the posture might seem.
The best case scenario is to have your lower body and the upper half at an angle close to 90º. The back should be in continuous contact with the back rest and should be adjusted to the loins. The elbows should be at the estimated height of your work surface and your legs should be supported by the floor or a foot rest.
You should adjust the seat in a way that allows you to prop your elbows and legs at an adequate height.
One last piece advice that we think is essential is to remain active. Or at least as active as possible. Do some periodical arm and leg exercise to prevent your muscles from becoming palsied. Additionally it would be adequate to get up at least every 90 minutes to stretch and to allow blood circulation.
Remember: Above all, your health is the most important thing!
A healthy hug,
Davinia Albert for TB
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