In a translation I am proofreading I found the following (in the original):

  1. “Likewise, they were liable to pursue further studies under the guidance of a mentor either to sharpen their paper and pencil skills, which involved mathematics and accounting or time-keeping…”

  2. “they were placed at an advantageous position to perform jobs requiring English speaking and paper and pencil work, and eventually, to do well in the Spanish education system…”

  3. “were capable of producing not only paragraphs but entire essays discussing a variety of topics, which made it possible for them to eventually be hired by North American companies for performing pen and pencil jobs.
I have searched for a good translation in Spanish, since I am not really happy Emotion: sad with the “equivalent” “… de papel y lápiz” or “…lápiz y lapicero” . I have been doing a lot of research in Internet trying to know what the real meaning of those terms is, but I haven’t been lucky. I wonder if “paper and pencil skills” only include mathematics and calculations, and if “pen and pencil jobs” only include writing letters (for instance). I will appreciate very much if any of you tell me something about the real meaning of these terms.

Thanks! Emotion: smile

Hellen Varela

Costa Rica
I'm sure others will add their comments, but you're basically correct. If you have "paper and pencil skills," it means that you can do basic math and understand basic mathematical principles without having to use a computer or a calculator.

If you've ever had a store clerk tell you that something costs $4.27 cents, you hand that person a $5 bill, and then say "oh wait - I have two pennies" and seen a totally blank look, that person does NOT have basic pen and paper skills. The computerized cash register will say to give back $.73 in change and she'll give you back your two pennies as well. Someone with basic pen and paper skills (even though he's not using paper) would immediately grasp that that means you get back three quarters in change.

They can be more comples than that, but if you understand basic math concepts, you can figure out the the calculations on paper. If you lack those skills, you don't know what to do without the computer programs telling you.
Thanks for you help! Emotion: smile