Мои впечатления от курса eCPD ‘Tablets for interpreters’

(For English, look below)
Делюсь своими впечатлениями о курсе на eCPD про использование планшета в устном переводе. Основное: мне понравилось. Курс ведут двое практикующих переводчиков (Josh Goldsmith и Alexander Drechsel), работающие с Еврокомиссией и вокруг нее. Очень много рассказывают про технические моменты работы с планшетом – как с его помощью готовится, как делать заметки при последовательном и даже при синхронном переводе, как составлять глоссарии и не терять их потом, и как залезть через планшет на свой рабочий компьютер, который остался дома или в гостинице, и таким образом попереводить в Кошке. Для меня самым ценным было посмотреть, как готовятся коллеги, где ищут информацию и как ее обрабатывают. Многое могу перенести и в письменный перевод – сейчас для меня это основная практика.
В общем, рекомендую – может, и не весь курс целиком, но занятие по подготовке к переводу и ведению глоссариев точно стоит посмотреть. Сейчас ссылки на сам курс на сайте eCPD уже не видно, но скоро (надеюсь) появятся видеозаписи.
Скажу еще, что после этого курса я достала свой iPad, оттерла с него следы детских лапок и поставила на зарядку)))
Just a week ago I’ve finished the course on ‘Tablet interpreting’ by Josh Goldsmith and Alexander Drechsel at eCPD. And I liked it very much. Both presenters are active interpreters, working for EU and on business meetings. The course included a lot of tips and tricks on how to use a tablet (both iOS and Android) for consecutive and simultaneous interpreting, for research and taking notes, glossaries and remote desktop access to the home or hotel based PC. For me most precious was the insight on research strategies, finding and managing information. I’ve decided that I can use a lot of those tricks in my research for translation and lecturing – both my primary jobs at the moment.
I couldn’t find a live link on this course at the eCPD website at the moment after the course is over. But I think video recordings will be available soon.
My personal move after these webinars was to take out my iPad, clean it from my daughter’s fingerprints and finally start using it 🙂

Завтра я начинаю новый курс по медицинскому переводу, в этот раз про ортопедическую хирургию для ALS & TRAKTAT. Как всегда, очень волнуюсь перед первым занятием, доделываю и переделываю презентации, пытаюсь вместить максимум полезностей на квадратный сантиметр слайда. И как всегда в предвкушении нового, очень интересного для меня опыта – общения с коллегами и совместного погружения в медицинские дебри. Ни пуха нам!

Starting tomorrow – new course on medical translation for ALS & TRAKTAT, this time about orthopaedic surgery. I’m excited and worried at the same time – double-checking my slides, adding new useful details and wondering how I can put 60 busy slides in 1 hr, 1 slide per min 🙂 And as always, I’m so happy for this opportunity to meet my colleagues and get on this never-ending journey of medical knowledge!


Types of clinical studies (in Russian)

Краткая, но хорошая статья по типам клинических исследований – быстро заглянуть и проверить себя, как в глоссарий. Даны определения следующим терминам:
Пилотное исследование
Рандомизированное клиническое исследование
Контролируемое исследование
Параллельное исследование
Перекрестное исследование
Проспективное исследование
Ретроспективное исследование
Одноцентровое и многоцентровое исследование
Параллельное исследование
Когортное исследование
Исследование случай-контроль
Исследовании серии случаев


Coming back

Hi All!

It’s been a while (5 years, actually) since my last post.
Many things happened, but now I finally feel like posting again.
Right now I’m working on the new post, so please be patient, and get back later 🙂
And of course, feel free to check the ‘old’ posts, some of them are quite good (bragging a bit, for sure).

Take care!

New glossary on transcatheter therapies added (En-Ru)

Dear all,

After exciting assignment on TCT Russia 2013 conference on transcatheter therapies (take a look here: http://tctrussia.ru/), where we provided a simultaneous interpreting services (me, Anna Sarazhina and Elena Mareeva) this new glossary on transcatheter therapies was born. It’s for En-Ru pair and contains many terms on stents, heart valves, implantation techniques and general heart/cardiovascular anatomy, as well as imaging modalities. Feel free to use it (paying credits to the author), and I hope it helps!

Glossary_Cardio-Vascular_v2 July 2013

Webinar «Medical Translation: Not so scary as it seems» — feedback

Webinar »Medical Translation: Not so scary as it seems» was successfully done at Mar 5th atAlexandria Library. We had amazing 70 minutes of intensive lecturing and very productive Q&A! A handout for this webinar is finally available at Publications section at this web-site, and video recording will appear a bit later on Alexandria video shelf (for those of you who missed).

Small spoiler alert: This is just a first webinar from upcoming amazing series of webinars on medical translation and medical translators at Alexandria Library. Check the news!

And I really would like to hear your feedback on this webinar, your comments and suggestions!

New webinar «Medical Translation: not so scary as it seems»

Dear colleagues,

I’m happy to invite you to my very first webinar on medical translation and medical translators.
Here is a short summary of what this webinar is about:

«How to achieve expertise in medical translation? Is it only for medical doctors, or a linguist can become an established medical translator? And why medical doctors do sometimes produce bad translations? Presentation on quality of medical translation, essential background and becoming an expert.»

And here is the link to register: http://alexandria-library.com/2013/01/30/medical-translation-not-so-scary-as-it-seems/

My special thanks to Alexandria Project and Anne Diamantidis for making this possible.

See you on March 5th, 2013!

Specialized translators vs specialists translating: Interview by proTECT project

Some time ago I was contacted by Amaia GÓMEZ, EN, FR, CA > ES translator & interpreter and founder of proTECT project about our study on medical translation and medical translators. It turned out in wonderful collaboration with the thorough interview on top. Here it goes, in two parts: Part I and Part II.


P.S.: Many thanks to Amaia for this brilliant idea and thorough work on the interview.

Mistakes made by (medical) interpreters

A lot had been spoken about importance of having medical interpreter at hospital/doctor office to provide help for patients not fluent in doctor’s own language. This is of particular importance for countries like US, Germany, France and others with high volume of migration and medical tourism. For example, in US Hispanic population with many patients and their family members not fluent in English are usually underserved by medical professionals and hospitals because of language difficulties. They also tend to avoid going to a physician not to get into awkward situation. The number of bilingual medical practitioners is very low, that’s why the demand on medical interpreting is consistently high. However, in many cases this service is provided by underqualified interpreters or even social workers/family members, which leads to serious misinterpreting, often with clinical consequences. Despite of an active work and educational efforts from International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA), many US hospitals still don’t have medical interpreters on board, or use services on non-certified interpreters. However, I had no idea about seriousness of this problem till I saw this study: Errors in Medical Interpretation and Their Potential Clinical Consequences in Pediatric Encounters by Glenn Flores et al., Pediatrics 2003;111:6 –14 (available here). In this study authors made audiotape recordings at pediatric visits with Spanish-speaking parents and English-speaking pediatricians facilitated by medical interpreters, either provided by hospital or amateur, and assessed number and type of interpreting mistakes, as well as clinical significance of these mistakes (more on Methods in study publication). Results were striking: the number of interpreting mistakes on average reached 31 (!) per visit, and there was no significant difference between hospital interpreters and amateur interpreters (like family member, nurse, social worker). Hospital interpreters had less clinically significant mistakes, but in total over half (!) of their errors had potential clinical consequences. Just a few examples on mistakes made by interpreters:

Or this one:

There is a well-known saying that a mistake in medical translation/interpreting could cost a life of a patient, but it’s the first time I see it myself.

Translation agencies and freelancers: win-win relationships

Translation agencies and freelancers: win-win relationships

That’s a lot of posts and articles for freelance translators/interpreters how to build successful relationships with translation/interpreting agencies. But I’d like to write on an opposite topic – how an agency can win a freelancer and build successful working relationships.

It all starts from the first contact, first impression, first e-mail. The worst thing is when you get a non-customized e-mail from mass e-mailing starting with ‘Hi all’ or more polite ‘Dear translator’. Forget it. The same is for letters without an introduction, when a potential customer jumps directly to the word count, deadline and budget. My dear, you write me for the first time, so please spend some time on introducing yourself. It’s like when you meet a guy in a bar, and he skips the foreplay in goes directly to… Well, you’ve got it.

Also what might be disappointing in a very first e-mail, is when a PM after a polite text add at the end something like ‘we’ve also contacted other translators, so we’d really appreciate you to react quickly’. Excuse me, what?

Sample translations. That’s perfectly OK for an agency to ask for a sample translation from an individual translator, whose job is not so easy to be tracked and checked, like, for example, of an accounting firm or a designer (that’s to the point why they can ask for a sample from a translator, and never think of asking a sample from an accountant/lawyer). But this sample translation, to my opinion, should not be done for free, since it takes time and effort, and it’s translators intellectual product worth paying for. If an agency wants a free sample, why not to offer them a sample from previous translation (non-confidential, of course). This what designers, software developers and many other freelance proffessionals do to show a new potential customer how they work.

Let’s assume you’ve passed the ‘first date’ step, and you’re working on your first project for this agency. You might have some questions on the text/terms, and you really expect PM to react quickly… but you’ve got no answer. That’s strange, you think, but continue your work on this project. This lack of feedback is one of the most frustrating things that might happen in translator-agency relationships. A quick feedback on terms/project issues, as a well a quality feedback after the project has been delivered and reviewed, makes a translator feel the importance of his/her work and behave like a team-player.

Payment issues are for sure very important, and transparent and translator-friendly payment practices in terms of payment method, invoicing and time to actual payment are usually primary parameters considered by a translator. Most translators got used to net 30-45 days to payment, and it’s considered normal, since most agencies rely on payments from clients and have sometimes very complicated invoice-processing algorithms. But when this period is extended by an agency for some reason, that’s the point where frustration begins. The explanatory e-mail on delay in payments from project or accountant manager could be helpful to keep translator-agency relationships alive, but better for an agency to stick to payment terms and not violate the mutual agreement. That’s easy: agency gets angry when translator doesn’t meet the deadline, translator becomes angry and frustrated when agency doesn’t pay in time.

Coming back to e-mails and project placement, there could be situations when a PM asks you if you could translate one sentence as a favor to the agency/client. That’s OK when the number of such one-sentence-letters doesn’t exceed 1-2 per month. But when they land in translator’s inbox regularly, that’s the time to think about a minimal fee for every small translation, even one-sentence job.

Rates. Of course, we will not speak here about translation agencies with ridiculous rates. We ban them and go forward. Let’s say you’ve negotiated a decent rate with the agency, and worked for them successfully for a year or so. Then you decide to increase your rate, and got rude ‘no, your rate is already too high for us’. Well, you can continue to work for this agency, but they’ve already lost you, since you’ve switched on your client-hunting mode, and that’s only a question of time when this agency would be replaced by a new client. Same is for agencies asking for discounts on bulk projects (however, this is negotiable, but when the project is really big and juicy, the deadline is friendly, and you have very good relationships with this agency) and hesitating on extra fees for PDF/formatting/urgency/work during the weekend.

Take-home message: We are all human beings, and we got happy when our work is valued, both financially and with decent feedback, and we got angry when somebody treats our services as commodity. Of course, there is a bunch of young and hungry freelance translators out there ready for low rates, tight deadlines and slave-master relationships. But true professionals worth hunting for expect to be respected for the time and effort they put into translation product an agency sells to the end customer.