Friday, December 20, 2013

Review of Joanne Archambault’s Presentation “Time for a New Hip?” presented at the ATA 54th Annual Conference in San Antonio

Reviewed by Joan L. Wallace

With the number of hip replacements increasing as the population ages, translators are bound to encounter more of them. Joanne Archambault’s presentation this year provided an excellent introduction. As a translator specializing in orthopedic translations, with a PhD and industry experience in the field who works directly with French surgeons and manufacturers to translate in this field, Joanne is well qualified to present on this topic

The presentation began with a review of the hip’s anatomy. To simplify it greatly, a total hip replacement (THR) entails replacing both sides of the hip joint, i.e., the acetabulum (socket) on one side, and the neck of the femur on the other. We learned about the various prosthetic devices and materials used, including their respective advantages and disadvantages (ceramic vs. metal or metal-on-metal, for example), and how the correct size of the implant is determined. We also learned about the indications for THR, the most common of which is osteoarthritis, wear and tear of the joint that usually occurs in older patients, as well the expected outcomes and possible complications. We watched a “bloodless” (but not “cringeless”) video of the procedure. Of course, there is no shortage of online videos, but this one is easy to see and follow.

The presentation also included mention of partial hip replacement, used when only one side of the joint needs to be replaced (usually due to a fracture of the femoral neck) and hip resurfacing, a procedure used mainly in younger patients in order to retain hip replacement as an alternative down the road. This is because a total hip replacement has a life span is about 20 years, and there is a limit to how many times surgery can be repeated since tissue is lost each time. She also touched upon cementless implants, in which the bone tissue itself grows into holes in the implant and holds it in place.

There was a lot of information packed into one hour. I felt that it was very clear and organized. The slides illustrated the topic well with clear pictures of the anatomy and components and presented English and French vocabulary specific to the topic, which was summarized in a handout. The sequence was logical and easy to follow. The presenter also shared some of her research strategies, including how she had tracked down a particularly elusive term for a device, and provided a list of resources. I definitely felt like I came away with a better understanding and resources I could put to use.

For those who missed it, it will be on the conference DVD. I will certainly be looking for any future sessions she presents.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Going All-In: a Good Gamble

Reviewed by Karen Tkaczyk

Christos Floros presents "Going All-In"

So there I was, beginning to feel worn out on Saturday afternoon in San Antonio, wondering which session I ought to attend. I chose to support a friend who was giving his first session at an ATA conference. Christos Floros was speaking on one of his areas of subject-matter expertise, translating for the gambling industry. It had an intriguing title: “Going All-In”. I don’t gamble and have no intention of targeting translation clients in that industry but I do live in Nevada where general knowledge on the subject is remarkably useful. And I do like to support people who are brave enough to offer a session at these conferences, especially when, as is often the case for a first-timer, they are stuck on a Saturday afternoon, when audience size begins to tail off.

Christos is a well-established English into Greek translator based in Athens, who works with this wife Catherine Christaki. He began his session by applying gambling concepts to the ATA conference’s session review forms. Using the flip chart, he dashed off a quick explanation of the odds of winning a prize if we completed a form after every session. This was an entertaining and relaxing way to begin. What’s more, he showed us that the odds of winning something if we completed a form for every session were surprisingly low!


Next Christos got down to business and introduced us to the obvious division to keep in mind when thinking about this industry: off-line versus online gambling. He said that the off-line gambling market is limited and hard to break into. For instance, it would include translation of themes and labels on slot machines. Online gambling products and services are where Christos believes freelancers can more easily create a niche. He gave us examples of the big players in the market, many of which are British companies, largely due to the nature of the history of gambling in the UK. Christos showed us examples of how online gambling works and how the multilingual user interfaces operate. He used a fun example of freelancers playing poker together in several different languages to demonstrate this. He also explained the rise of games such as Texas Hold’em, which have only become popular with the advent of Internet gambling.

an example of a website offering localized versions

From there Christos gave us some background into the world gambling market, including trends, and he told us why he likes to ‘go all-in’ in this field: partly personal interest as he’s been a gambler for about 20 years, with exposure to many markets, and partly because the volume is there to make it a worthwhile specialization. Christos lived for years in the UK where the ‘bookmaker’ system prevails and he visits Las Vegas, his favorite vacation destination, regularly. He’s clearly a subject matter expert of the first-order, having practical expertise from those two markets.

Christos then moved into telling us our how we might gain background knowledge on this subject, referring to some popular Hollywood films and books as beginners’ resources. Then he showed us how online gambling sites have an area for practicing, i.e. gambling with play money. He recommends that anyone who wants to get into the field practice there.

Another topic Christos covered was correct use of terminology. This portion resembled any subject matter expert giving us examples of words that anyone but a subject-matter expert would frequently translate incorrectly. He also discussed localization issues related to this market. People with accounts in online gambling websites will routinely receive seasonal specials, weekly offers and the like. Those are usually themed around the home culture’s festivals. As a localizer Christos must decide whether to attempt to transfer a concept or whether to completely rewrite and make the special offer about something entirely different. He has established customer relationships over time so he knows the degrees of freedom he has for each client.

The visuals in Christos’ session were top-notch: they were slides that added to the comfortable, conversational presentation that he gave, that were full of light-hearted jokes and pleasant cultural touches. I think Christos did a great job helping attendees learn how to get started in this field.

Monday, December 9, 2013

ATA54 Review: “Beautiful Translations: Foundations for the Personal Care and Cosmetics Industry”

ATA 54th Annual Conference, San Antonio, Texas, November 6-9, 2013
Session ST-11 “Beautiful Translations: Foundations for the Personal Care and Cosmetics Industry” presented by Karen Tkaczyk on November 8, 2013
Reviewed by Mery Molenaar

It is late Friday afternoon in San Antonio, Texas, and I am attending the ATA conference session on Beautiful Translations. This is probably one of the most difficult timeslots of the entire conference as people are about to wind down after two full days of networking and conference sessions. Nevertheless, the room is packed and Karen starts with full enthusiasm, determined to teach us a thing or two about the beauty and personal care industry.
Karen is a French to English translator and has previously worked in the pharmaceutical and cosmetics industry, so I am looking forward to spending an hour with an expert in the field.
Karen’s goal is to provide us with a basic understanding of the industry. After a short overview of today’s topics—regulatory framework, scientific and technical assessment, ingredients, and marketing—we jump right into the first topic of national and international regulations. Karen uses a nicely organized PowerPoint presentation and lets us know that she will be sending us the slides by email on request after the conference, so we can all sit back and listen.
The most influential markets for personal care products and cosmetics are the US and Canada, the EU, Japan, and Korea, and it is not surprising that there are regulatory differences from one country to another. Labeling requirements differ between regions, and certain hazardous ingredients and testing methods used in one region may not be allowed in another. Although people are working on alignment, there is currently very little harmonization. Areas where there is no harmonization include the listing of forbidden or restricted ingredients, animal testing and even the definition of a cosmetic product.

In the US, cosmetic products are defined by intended use: “articles intended to be rubbed, poured, sprinkled, or sprayed on, introduced into, or otherwise applied to the human body... for cleansing, beautifying, promoting attractiveness, or altering the appearance.” Karen points out that the definition does not include the word treat, and that cosmetics therefore are not considered drugs. When you buy a moisturizer you do not find the words treat or cure on the product, although marketing makes us believe that they do.

So what about fluoride toothpastes, antidandruff shampoos, and antiperspirant deodorants? Are these products cosmetics or are they drugs? Actually, they are both. While the cosmetics industry uses the word ‘cosmeceutical’ to refer to cosmetic products that are also drugs, the Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act does not recognize this term. In the US, the FDA has published over-the-counter (OTC) monographs for these kinds of nonprescription drugs. Monographs are detailed product descriptions, including drug indications, dosing, contraindications, adverse reactions, etc., and as long as the active ingredients in cosmetics that also have medicinal benefits fall within one of the drug monographs, an FDA new drug application is not required. Karen stated that soap is a special regulatory case in the US, based on its specific chemical make-up, and pointed us to a reference for finding out more about that.
In the EU, the assessment of whether a product is a cosmetic product is made on a case-by-case assessment. Just this year, the EU Regulation replaced the Cosmetics Directive, but even with this new Regulation in place, rules vary for some countries, such as for the French pharmacy system. The EU definition of a cosmetic product is too long for a slide and Karen directs us to the handout she provided at the start of the session. This handout also lists a wealth of other useful resources and is included on the Proceedings & Handouts CD-ROM provided by ATA at the beginning of this year’s conference.

It is becoming clear to me that translators working for the cosmetics industry need to be well informed about international regulations and make sure they stay up-to-date.

We now move on to product testing. How well does a product stand up against contamination? Will a lipstick melt when left in a hot car? Animal testing is controversial and now banned in many countries, but what are the alternatives? Do your toiletries make it through TSA on your way to the conference? As some ingredients and techniques become controversial or are banned, the cosmetics industry is forced to constantly develop new techniques and alternatives.
Karen explains several mechanical and physical techniques used to test products. We learn that pumps are safer than jars as no germs are introduced to the content and that the term ‘air-free’ is often a misnomer. ‘Air-free’ in this context generally means that no air can get back into the product. An example of this would be a pump action bottle where the internal container volume shrinks as product is dispensed.
Next are ingredients. Again, we are dealing with differences between the United States and Europe. What makes this session especially interesting is the wealth of real-life examples Karen provides us with. Take sunscreen for example. In the US, active ingredients are defined in monographs by name and percentage (%) and are listed first on labels. In the EU, no such requirement exists. Karen emphasizes that when translating labels, you always need to take the target audience into account.
Another example is the use of parabens, a class of chemicals used as preservatives in cosmetics. About 10 years ago, parabens were a hot media topic and the use of parabens as a preservative to control bacteria, molds, and yeast became highly controversial. Unfortunately, it has proven to be very hard to find cheap alternatives and the industry has moved to reducing the need for preservatives by changing the way their products are packaged—using pumps instead of open jars, and adding solutes, such as glycols and salts, thereby reducing the amount of “free water” in the product, as water provides a medium for harmful bacteria, mold, and yeast to grow over time.
We end the session on the topic of marketing. Pointing out that translating marketing and advertising texts requires different writing skills, Karen recommends an article by fellow translator and marketing expert Agnes Meilhac on this topic. The article was published in The ATA Chronicle in April of 2010. A link to this article can be found on the session handout.
I am leaving this session impressed with Karen’s expertise and her commitment to the challenges of translating for the personal care and cosmetics business. The most profound takeaway for me is a point made by Karen that when you do this kind of work, you really need to know your chemistry and physics. Thank you, Karen, for a Friday afternoon well spent.

Mery Molenaar is an English to Dutch translator specializing in technical and scientific translations. She holds an undergraduate degree in mathematics and physics education and an MS in physics. Mery is originally from the Netherlands and currently lives in Longmont, Colorado. http://www.merymolenaar.com