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An ATA Professional Development Event
Presented by the American Translators Association and
the Northern California Translators Association

Medical Translation Seminar
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Embassy Suites        San Francisco, California        September 16-17, 2006

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Abstracts & Bios

How to Translate for the Healthcare Consumer:
A Hands-on Workshop


This workshop will address issues of importance in translating for the largest segment of the U.S. medical translation market: the consumer of healthcare information. It will consist of discussions and practical exercises to familiarize translators with the unique challenges presented by medical documents written for the patient. Some of the topics to be covered include: using the appropriate register; protecting patients' rights; following government regulations; and making sure that a translation reflects the purpose of the document. A major focus will be the criteria used by major hospitals and medical research institutions in reviewing translations intended for their patient populations.

Maria A. Cornelio is the Director of the Hispanic Research and Recruitment Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center in New York City, where she oversees recruitment and language support programs for Spanish-speaking participants in clinical studies. She also provides training sessions for clinical researchers whose studies include non-English-speaking patients. She serves as Spanish-language consultant to the New York State Psychiatric Institute and teaches English>Spanish "Translation in Healthcare," a course at New York University's Center for Foreign Languages and Translation. She has lectured extensively about medical translation and culturally-appropriate research. Before joining Columbia-Presbyterian, she held various positions with non-governmental organizations carrying out public health and health-education programs in Africa and Latin America. She has a master's degree in international studies from the University of Denver and a Diplôme d'Études Françaises from the University of Poitiers, France. She studied at the University of Seville, Spain, and has a BA in Spanish and French from Hunter College of the City University of New York.

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Medical Writing: Abbreviations, Symbols, and Units of Measure

Medical records present some special challenges to the translator. For one, many of these documents are handwritten: progress notes, doctors orders, and prescriptions. For another, some of the records are actually transcriptions of information dictated by a physician while conducting an examination, performing an operation, viewing tissues, or examining films: autopsy reports, history and physical examinations, operative reports, and diagnostic studies. Finally, most laboratory studies and some imaging reports are generated by equipment.

A common denominator in these documents is the use of words and phrases, symbols, and units of measure in abbreviated forms. This “shorthand” style is understandable since the majority of the documentation found in a patient’s clinical history is only meant for review by either the examining physician or other medical personnel. Converting this documentation into an intelligible and grammatically correct form for the target audience of our translations requires familiarity with record formats, an understanding of the information being conveyed, and recognition of guidelines and rules which govern standardized medical writing. Some of the details and difficulties in the translation of medical texts will be highlighted. Suggestions and resources for successful resolution will be offered.

Michael Blumenthal graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in zoology and a minor in English before receiving his Master's Degree in Biological Control of Insects from Cornell University. He spent four years in Colombia where he worked at a research station as a Peace Corps volunteer. After returning to the U.S. in 1983, he co-founded M&M Translations, Inc. and currently serves as director. He has worked for the last 12 years as a full-time Spanish into English translator for the Department of Assistive and Rehabilitative Services: Disability Determination Services where he translates medical records and claimant generated materials.

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Demystifying Cardiovascular Terminology

Medical translators frequently encounter terminology related to cardiovascular tests and procedures in their work. Just what is an occlusion of the LAD, or an ST segment depression, or decreased ventricular wall motion? A general understanding of cardiovascular procedures facilitates an accurate translation. This workshop will provide information on common cardiovascular tests and procedures from a layman's perspective. Resources, such as a glossary and websites for further study, will be provided.

Mary Esther Diaz, M.Ed., is a self-employed translator, interpreter, and trainer. She currently serves as the president of the Austin Area Translators and Interpreters Association (AATIA), as an executive committee member of the National Council on Interpreting in Health Care, and as a member of ATA's Public Relations Committee. She learned Spanish while living and studying in Mexico for ten years. She is ATA-certified from Spanish to English and from English to Spanish. She worked as an in-house medical translator, disability examiner, and training director for the Texas Rehabilitation Commission where she also taught medical terminology for 19 years. She has more than 20 years of experience as a translator and trainer. A co-founder of the AATIA, she also created the seven-course Translation and Interpretation Certificate Program at Austin Community College. In addition to teaching Bridging the Gap for the Cross Cultural Health Care Program, she has taught interpreter workshops for the Florida Department of Health and is an adjunct faculty member of Austin Community College and San Antonio Northwest Vista College. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Master of Education in Adult Education and Human Resource Development Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin.

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MultiTerm Workshop for TRADOS Users

Many translators shy away from using the Terminology Recognition feature of TRADOS, mainly because MultiTerm's interface is not the most user-friendly. However, this workshop will show you the "friendly" side of MultiTerm (versions iX and 7) and teach you the basics to make it easier to use and make you a more efficient translator.

Attendees will learn how to:
- create MultiTerm glossaries from scratch
- import glossaries from Word and Excel into MultiTerm
- exchange MultiTerm glossaries with others
- add new terms directly from Word while translating

A "MultiTerm Quick Guide" handout will be provided. Novice and experienced TRADOS users who do not know how to benefit from MultiTerm and the Terminology Recognition feature of TRADOS should attend.

Tuomas Kostiainen, a native of Finland, is an ATA-certified English to Finnish translator specializing in technical and medical translations. He has a Ph.D. degree in Entomology (UC Berkeley) and a Master's degree in Agricultural Sciences (University of Helsinki, Finland). He has served several years as the language chair and a certification exam grader in the English to Finnish language group. Currently he also serves as the president of the Northern California Translators Association (NCTA). In addition to freelance translation work, he provides TRADOS training and consultation, and has given several TRADOS presentations and workshops.

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