Paperless office – well, almost

I just finished a translation for an agency customer who also happens to be a colleague and member of the local BDÜ group. As usual, I proofread my translation before sending it in, and, also as usual, I did so on the screen. And this particular combination of circumstances reminded me of a discussion we had at one of our monthly meetings of said group where we talked among other things about how we do our proofreading, whether for our own translations or for texts written or translated by someone else.
I was amazed to hear that I seemed to be the only one who proofreads exclusively on the screen – everyone else always prints out the texts and goes through them with a pen and marker and then enters the corrections on the computer! And the group was quite mixed concerning both age and experience.
Everyone stared at me disbelievingly, clamoring that surely I would overlook mistakes, that it was just not possible to see everything on the screen and so on and so forth. Until said agency customer / colleague chimed in to say: “But she never overlooks anything. We always check everything that comes in, and I have never found a mistake from her, not even in numbers!”
Besides the fact that it is always very nice to hear such praise from customers – and in front of colleagues to boot! -, it makes me wonder why I seem to be such a rare specimen of the paperless-office kind. Is it just this particular group of translators that needs the tactile experience? Am I the odd one out not wanting to waste resources, both tangible (paper, ink) and intangible (time)?
Mind you, my office is by no means completely paperless. The law requires certain documents to be kept in print for specific periods etc. so there are folders to be found here, too. And since I also do certified translations, I have to print translations out occasionally.
However, there still appear to be way too many people printing out e-mails, attachments, receipts, even web pages, … you name it, they print it (and then probably don’t even file it, but rather stack it, forget about it and then throw it away), something I don’t really understand in this digital day and age. With all the handy little tools and devices available, everything is portable and mobile, and with the development of digital signatures, I can see a not-too-far-off future when even certified translations do not need to be printed and signed anymore.

I have a little sentence in my e-mail signature that reads:
Please think about the environment before printing this email.
Perhaps I should change it to:
Please think about your wallet before printing this email.
Money does seem to be the greater incentive, somehow…

I also came across this interesting site: You can download a virtual printer there that converts documents into pdf-format that cannot be printed! Just a thought on how to nudge paper-philes into a greener direction…

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