Listen to music while you work? Take our poll and let us know!

Yesterday’s guest post, Language, music, and me, by Elisa Bonora, was about listening to music while you work. It sparked quite a discussion on Twitter, between those, like Elisa, who find music an inspiration and those, like me, who (sadly) find it a distraction.

What about you? Take our poll and let us know. And if you’ve got time, let us know your favourite “music while you work” tracks in the comments. Thanks!

Other posts you might like:

Get me to a bookery!

Singing in Occitan. Beautifully.

For a clear New Year: a musical style guide from the EU Commission. (A great example of how to combine music and writing!)

By Marian Dougan


Published by Marian Dougan

Marian is a translator and editor (specialising in web content) currently based in Glasgow, Scotland. Marian previously lived in Italy for over 20 years, working as a language teacher, translator and policy analyst with the British Embassy in Rome. A qualified member of the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) and its Italian-language and ITI Scotnet networks, she is currently Scotnet's Convenor and Deputy Webmaster. From 2003 to 2006 Marian taught translation skills at the Italian Department of Glasgow University and now gives Master Classes as part of the new Masters in Translation Studies course. She also conducts web-writing and usability workshops to help people improve their websites and communicate more effectively with their readers, users and customers. In September 2014 Marian obtained User Experience Certification, with specialisation in Web Design, from the Nielsen Norman Group. She loves language, especially English, and is convinced that learning languages opens up people’s minds and horizons (and increases their brainpower!). To share her enthusiasm, she advises schools and educational authorities on language skills and enterprise. She gives talks to pupils on how to combine language studies with other subjects and so enhance their potential and increase their career options. Marian is an active member of organisations such as: Scottish Council Development and Industry (SCDI); Association of Scottish Businesswomen; Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in Scotland. She also loves architecture, design, fashion (British Vogue!), cities and chocolate. She’s a great fan of Twitter and you can also find her on Linkedin.

Join the conversation


  1. I find background music distracting while I am working because I want to focus on it and this takes away from the 100% focus (hopefully) that I am giving to my work. However, in regular tea breaks, I like to turn on a French radio channel (France Inter/Culture) to keep my brain accustomed to my source language. Also, this keeps me up-to-date with goings-on in France. It also requires 100% focus, so forget about savouring the tea in your hand: that’s simply an energy boost!

    1. Thanks James. Ah, what would we do without tea? I find it keeps me going better than coffee (apart from breakfast time, when coffee – and lots of it – is a must). There’s a radio discussion programme (Shereen Nanjiani on Radio Scotland) that I love to listen to on Saturday mornings. I need to focus on it 100% – not that it’s difficult to follow, it’s just the way my brain works: I find to hard to focus on words while doing something else. So if I’m reading in bed, I can’t have the radio on, and if I’m listening to the radio, I can’t read at the same time.

      Renate Fitzroy, a German translator based in Scotland, sent me a link to Radio Swiss Classic the other day – available in German, French and Italian (though I don’t think there’s much talk). I really should follow your example and listen to Italian radio.

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