Monday, May 25, 2009

Infectious Diseases, Part 1


infectious diseases part 1 Despite my translation experience, there are two fields where I hesitate to accept mandates:  legal and medical translation.  I am even more hesitant when documents have over 10,000 words. 

Medical translation is a highly specialized field; if a translator does not have the necessary resources, the quality of the translation in the target language could be compromised.  This is the reason why translators are often required to have an excellent command of the target language (which is normally their mother tongue) and a very good working knowledge (functional and conceptual) of the source language.

Given that new diseases and viruses make their way into the medical community faster than medical dictionaries can keep up, translators often scramble for term equivalents.  You cannot do a good translation with only pocket medical dictionaries.  You need access to terminology and linguistic databases - preferably those that are created by government bodies, accredited private associations and universities) and large medical dictionaries like the ones that Elsevier publishes (Elsevier dictionaries cost an arm and a leg).

I have heard of cases where translators often leave the original term in quotation marks because they can't find the equivalent.  When too many terms in the document are not translated, this indicates that the translator may not have practised due diligence.  A good translator will "move mountains" to find the appropriate translation.  Research is a tool, resourcefulness is a virtue. 

For example, take the infectious disease Brucellose - a  French term.  If a translator does diligent research,  he will learn that it is an illness that affects humans when they consume unpasteurized milk and other milk products from infected cows, goats or pigs.  cow part1 He will also learn that it is not a  disease common in North America but in regions like the Mediterranean and North and East Africa.  He will also know that the English equivalent is Brucellosis. 

The following are five infectious diseases to add to your French-English vocabulary builder:




Campylobactériose Campylobacteriosis
Coqueluche CJD/vCJD
Teigne Epidermophyton floccosum
Histoplasmose Histoplasmosis
Leptospirose Leptospirosis

Following is a brief and general description of each:

Campylobacteriosis:  attacks the digestive system; caused by eating uncooked pork or contaminated milk.  Can also be contracted from animals.

CJD/vCJD:  acronym for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (CJD) which is of two types:  classical and variant.  Infectious agents called prions (or misfolded proteins) attack brain cells, leading to gaps in brain tissue.  It can be fatal.

Epidermophyton floccosum: affects the hair, skin and nails, and the disease is characterized by hair loss, breakage or lesions.  This disease is more common in hot climates and in crowded places.

Histoplasmosis: a lung disease caused by a fungus called Histoplasma capsulatum. It can spread to other parts of the body.

Leptospirosis:  a bacteria called Leptospira is the culprit.  It primarily affects animals but humans can catch it through soil, vegetation or water that contains contaminated animal urine.  Humans can also acquire it in pools and lakes.

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