Specialised translators vs specialists translating (ES & EN). Part II.

Si leísteis la última entrada de la semana pasada (https://protectproject.wordpress.com/2013/01/18/specialised-translators-vs-specialists-translating-es-en-part-i/), seguro que estáis deseando saber qué más nos puede contar Yana. He aquí la segunda y última parte de la entrevista que mantuve con ella :-).

Q: I believe we all may agree in that linguists may be prone to more terminological mistakes while specialists may be prone to more stylistic ones. The cons of specialists may be that they might tend to ‘improve’ the original, which can lead to problems… but their stylistic mistakes are ‘easily’ solved by editors. Would you say from your study that specialists are found more reliable from the point of few of prospective clients?

A: You are absolutely right talking about MDs ‘desire’ to improve source texts. I saw such a tendency in Russian medical translators with medical background and even noticed it in myself at the start of my translation career (guilty as charged). The reason is that MDs are sometimes overconfident with their knowledge and try to localize the medical text for Russian medical society, recollecting patterns they were taught in medical school and later during their professional development. Sometimes this works for good, and MDs can find really good solutions. But in some cases this ‘extra localization’ efforts lead to mistakes and mistranslations. It’s like early translations of Dicken’s novels into Russian, where all Britons were ‘localized’ to have Russian names and talk with Russian idioms and sayings, and all that sounded at least weird. The other drawback of translators having medical background and being overconfident of it, are their sometimes limited search skills, like when encountered with a new medical term or condition they might not double-check it with Google or medical termbases/guidelines but to recollect their medical school memories and put the term they think is correct.
Speaking from client preferences, at least in the Russian market, medical translators with medical background have indeed more chances to be hired for translation/editing jobs because of their background, which looks like an absolute benefit. But of course, they have to pass the test first, and many MDs are excluded at this point.

Q: Your study takes into account translators and interpreters. Have you noticed any difference of performance between these two professionals? That is, do the results of your study vary depending on the means used in the translation (oral or written)?

A: Unfortunately, our study was limited to medical translation only, and no interpreters were assessed. To my opinion, it is quite difficult to assess the quality of medical interpreting and to make any calculations. However, there are a lot of publications on studies dealing with medical interpreting, mostly in hospital settings. They all conclude on the importance of proper training for medical interpreters and on the need to provide an interpreter to linguistically challenged patients to avoid potential clinical mistakes and complications. We found no study directly comparing medical interpreters with linguistic background and medical interpreters with medical background, but in some studies, they compared professional medical interpreters and bilingual (or fluently speaking on target language) medical practitioners. They didn’t show significant differences in quality and communication errors between professional interpreters and bilingual doctors, and solid language training in medical schools was offered as a possible solution to overcome language barriers in modern healthcare.

Q: In any case, what I imply from your answers is that what you pursue is the possibility of a good training for translators and specialists in the fields they do not master so that the future reader of their work will never find out what was their professional background (as there are no flaws on their job). Is that it?

A: That would be an ideal situation, since the medical translation market is quite large and constantly evolving, and there is always high demand for qualified medical translators. There would be just not enough medical doctors with spare time for translation to cover it 😉 . We consider a set of recommendations and professional advice on building a solid medical and translation expertise in medical translators, no matter what background they possess, as one of the most important aims of our study.

Q: That kind of demand is proTECT project’ leit motiv in relation to technical translation. Apart from finishing your study (2.000 samples are a lot!) are you considering taking other actions from which we could learn or borrow ideas? 😉

A: Yes, 2000 samples is really a huge number, but we need this to achieve a decent statistical power for the study and to obtain solid results. However, we are also working on a second phase with a specific survey for experts in medical translation in order to gather their opinion and recommendations on the medical translators’ background and professional development. We also plan to make a series of interviews to these experts to catch the landscape of medical translation industry at present . More information is coming on this ;-).

Thank you very much indeed Yana for the time and information you have shared with us!!!

You are welcome, it was a great pleasure for me too!


Como dice Yana, que el trabajo de los profesionales especializados llegue a tal grado de calidad que sea difícil distinguir cuál es su pasado formativo o laboral puede que sea un ideal, pero como el que no tiene sueños difícilmente los verá hacerse realidad ¡por soñar qué no quede! Aquí aportamos algo de información para las personas que deseen seguir trabajando en sus conocimientos de ambas disciplinas (la traducción y la medicina):

– EMA templates and EU terminology for medical translators http://www.ecpdwebinars.co.uk/events_92943.html

An email drops into your inbox from an agency:

“I’ve got a 2400-word SmPC to translate. Can you deliver by Wednesday EOB? Specific instructions: please follow the EMA-QRD templates and use the EDQM standard terms.”

If these abbreviations leave you feeling a bit lost, you could either Google them to see what they mean or you could sign up for this webinar to find out how to comply with the European Medicines Agency requirements for translating documents on medicinal products.

You’ll learn where to find online resources for these documents, which templates to download and some tips about readability and style in EU regulatory translations. There will also be a brief look at how to use IntelliWebSearch® to speed up terminology searches.

– Techniques for translating for the pharmaceuticals industry in the United States http://www.ecpdwebinars.co.uk/events_96599.html

The purpose of this webinar is to provide translators with a solid foundation for translating medical documentation relating to clinical trials. International standards will be introduced, but the main focus will be on the regulations and policies of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). After a brief overview of the phases of clinical trials and where they are currently being conducted, the presenter will discuss the various types of medical documentation and where they are likely to be encountered.  She will also discuss the issues that may arise when translating each type of text, as well as relevant terminology that is often confused, such as “efficacy vs. efficiency” and “patient vs. subject.” Various strategies that translators at any stage in their careers can use to improve their consistency and accuracy when translating such documents will also be presented. Throughout the presentation, both relevant general and language-specific resources will be mentioned.

– Medical Translation (EN>ES) in 2013: almost everything remains to be done, 1 de marzo de 2013 a las 14:00h Precio: entre 15 y 25 dólares americanos http://www.aipti.org/webinar/art26-medical-translation-en%3Ees-in-2013-almost-everything-remains-to-be-done-pablo-muguerza.html

A reflection on great enterprises not yet addressed or achieved in medical translation from English into Spanish, with a description of where we are and where we should be.

– Pubmed para principiantes, 23 de enero de 2013 a las 09:55h. Curso gratuito. http://www.wiziq.com/online-class/1065207-pubmed-para-principiantes

PubMed proporciona acceso gratuito a la base de datos de ciencias de la salud MEDLINE, pero no sólo es MEDLINE. Entonces, ¿qué contiene PubMed? Por otro lado, cuando escribimos nuestra estrategia de búsqueda ¿sabemos realmente qué sistema de recuperación aplica PubMed?, ¿qué referencias recupera y por qué? y, por último, ¿qué podemos hacer con los resultados obtenidos?

Intentaremos resolver estas dudas en este webinar dirigido a personas sin conocimientos de búsqueda en PubMed. Se explicará qué es y su contenido, haremos una presentación de sus características, veremos cómo realizar estrategias de búsqueda básicas y explicaremos cómo interpreta PubMed nuestra estrategia. Por último aprenderemos a limitar nuestros resultados y las diferentes opciones disponibles de visualización y manejo de las referencias recuperadas.

– Clinical Terminology for International Students https://www.coursera.org/course/clinicalterminology

Students coming to the United States to begin or continue their studies in the health professions are often overwhelmed by differences in language and contrasts in clinical-cultural expectations. American English “doctor-speak” or “nurse-speak” is essentially another new language that international students need to understand and use.  This course provides students with strategies to learn effectively, plus a dictionary focused on common clinical abbreviations, acronyms, and phrases that will be most useful in clinical settings in the U.S.

The complexity of interactions and differences in how health care is delivered in U.S. clinical sites can be confusing and anxiety-provoking for international students.  Short videos will demonstrate clinical interactions that are often baffling for international students.  Culturally-laden aspects of clinical settings and how students can adjust to new clinical situations will be discussed. Guidance on how to negotiate difficult situations will be provided.

– Introduction to Pharmacy https://www.coursera.org/course/intropharma

Man has always used external materials to help prevent, cure, or alleviate the symptoms of disease. In fact, Gregory Higby of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy has written that, “…the very concept of influencing bodily functions via an outside force must be considered one of humanity’s greatest advances.” Since its independent origins in ancient Arabic civilizations, pharmacy has evolved from a craft dedicated to the compounding of drugs to a profession focusing on helping patients get the best outcomes from medication therapies.

So what is pharmacy? How has it changed and where is it headed?

This course will answer these questions and provide a comprehensive introduction to this profession. We will explore the history of pharmacy and its evolving scope of practice; examine educational and career pathways; tackle issues relating to medication safety and adverse drug events; gain insight into the regulatory and ethical considerations in pharmacy practice; and more.

As we explore these topics together, we will hear from practicing pharmacists throughout the course and ultimately gain a better understanding of what they do and how they help us get the best results from our medications. Maybe you will decide that the dynamic profession of pharmacy is a career path that you want to pursue!  Whether student or healthcare consumer, you’re sure to find the material we cover in this course to be invaluable.

Fundamentals of Pharmacology https://www.coursera.org/course/pharm101

This set of courses will discuss the discipline of pharmacology and its integration throughout medical science. Specifically, the content will be organized as follows: 1) Basic Pharmacological Principles; 2) Applied Pharmacology, the concept of applying the basic principles to each organ system with an emphasis on melding pathophysiology with biologic targets for drug therapy; 3) Therapeutics, considered to be the clinical application of applied pharmacology, including the financial implications of therapy, evidence-based medicine, and the limitations of drug therapy and future directions of therapeutics in all disease states, as well as the legal implications of prescription writing; and 4) Advanced Pharmacological Principles, such as cancer therapeutics.

Estos últimos son cursos MOOC (Massive Online Open Courses). Desde proTECT project creemos que es importante señalar que debemos estar bien preparados para hacer nuestro trabajo, pero también que nuestra preparación NO SIEMPRE tiene que costarnos dinero, además de esfuerzo y tiempo ;-). Y, como veis,  existen más posibilidades ahí fuera de las que inicialmente podríamos creer, pues esta es sólo una pequeña muestra.

¡Esperamos que las dos entradas hayan sido de vuestro interés y esta información os sirva de ayuda!

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Acerca de proTECT project

iniciativa en pro del acercamiento entre técnicos y traductores especializados y en busca de la calidad técnica y lingüística óptimas de la documentación que generan. Si quieres colaborar, puntual o habitualmente, ponte en contacto con nosotros en proTECTproject@ymail.com

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