Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Infectious Diseases, Part 2

In my last blog, I spoke about shying away from large medical translation mandates.  That timidity stems from two factors:

  • large mandates (10,000 words and up) are backbreaking.  Maybe translators who use computer-assisted translation tools and who specialize in this field don't share my view.  They can just breeze through their documents and complete the job on time;  I have tried both translation software and CAT tools and I must admit that they fall short of my expectations.  I'd rather translate from scratch, especially if I'm translating documents of less than 10K words. 
  • Looking up medical terminology takes time, especially if you're not accustomed to doing medical translation. You can spend hours researching and verifying terms.  I'm not referring to actual technical terms like the official French and English names for specific diseases.  I'm referring more to segments of the translation that can lend themselves to ambiguity due to different local practices.

seminar Like most professionals, translators have to upgrade their skills constantly, not just in the latest technologies but also in translation theory and practice in a given field.  One way of upgrading their skills is to attend seminars.  Seminar topics cover localization (adapting the terms as they are used in the country or region), quality control, recent trends and developments, resources, and familiarization with software features that translators are not aware exist.  

What issues would a medical translation seminar cover?  This one being offered by the ATA (American Translators Association and the  Association of Translators and Interpreters of San Diego) will be held in July 2009 in San Diego, California.  On the agenda:

  • translation of medical records (including doctors' orders and prescriptions)
  • understanding of medical shorthand (standardized medical writing and record formats)
  • understanding of heart problems, cardiovascular procedures and surgeries to come up with more accurate translations
  • networking with fellow translators in the same field.

Here are five more terms to add to your French-English lexicon for infectious diseases:



Fièvre Chikungunya Chikungunya fever
Cyclospora Cyclosporiasis
Entérovirus 71 Enterovirus 71
Virus H1N1 (grippe porcine chez l'être humain) H1N1 virus (pork swine flu)
Maladie de Lyme Lyme disease

Chikungunya fever causes fatigue, headache, fever and severe arthritis in the wrists, ankles and other joints.  Joints become swollen, reducing the range of motion.  There was a recent outbreak of this disease in Southeast Asia and is sometimes confused with Denge fever because some symptoms are similar.

Cyclosporiasis is a disease that affects the small intestine.  The parasite is microscopic in size.

H1N1, of which we've heard so much about, is a strain of the influenza virus that affects pigs, but which can also affect humans, particularly their respiratory systems.

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease which, if left untreated, can spread to the musko-skeletal, nervous and cardiovascular systems.


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