Monday, November 24, 2014

ANNUAL MEETING OF THE SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY DIVISION OF THE AMERICAN TRANSLATORS ASSOCIATION

 Friday, November 7, 2014
Chicago

Division Administrator Karen Tkaczyk called the meeting to order and introduced the agenda. The agenda was accepted.
Karen then introduced the Leadership Council for the year ending. This included Iryna Ashby (webmaster), who was not present, and Alicja Yarborough (Assistant Administrator), Amy Lesiewicz (blog editor), Stefanie Strobel (event coordinator), Matthew Schlecht (Yahoo group moderator), and Lebzy Gonzalez (website assistant).
Brief reports were given regarding division activity in the past year, with suggestions for the coming year:
  • Website: updated at least monthly; members are invited to add content, such as slides from conference sessions, glossaries and other resources.
  • Twitter: Karen Tkaczyk has been tweeting on behalf of the division; she asked for an assistant tweeter.
  • Webinars: Members are invited to give webinars. Nick Hartmann asked if there were instructions or training on how to give a webinar; Mary David of Member Benefits and Project Development can provide direction.
  • Annual conference: the SciTech Division hosted a wonderful Distinguished Speaker. Recommendations for next year’s Distinguished Speaker should be submitted by the end of January 2015. Thanks to Alicja Yarborough for arranging the division dinner this year.
  • Site tour / event: the Leadership Council welcomes suggestions for site tours or local events for the 2015 conference in Miami, Florida.
Members are invited to volunteer to join the Leadership Council.
The Division Administrator and Assistant Administrator are elected for two-year terms. Karen Tkaczyk will not be running for another term. A Nominating Committee will search for and nominate candidates for elections in 2015. The proposed members of the Nominating Committee are: Abigail Dahlberg, Patricia Thickstun, and Steve Marzuola; they were accepted by acclamation.
Open discussion:
Stephanie Strobel shared a source of free webinars for continuing professional development: Design News (a periodical for engineers) has free webinars, such as an upcoming session on 3D printing. She also described her experience at a trade show about packaging that she attended in Chicago just before the conference for $30, and suggested that we share information on similar educational and networking opportunities with each other in the future.
The meeting was adjourned and all those present were invited to introduce themselves.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Science and Technology Division Dinner at the ATA Annual Conference in Chicago, November 6, 2014

Please join us for dinner at Emilio’s Tapas, one of the most popular restaurants of Chicago (Critics’ Choice Award 5 years in a row), to see old friends again and to meet new ones.

WHEN
Thursday, November 6, 7:00pm
WHERE
Emilio’s Tapas
215 East Ohio Street
Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 467-7177
www.emiliostapas.com
_______________________________________________________________________________

MENU
_______________________________________________________________________________
TAPAS FRIAS
BERENJENAS BRASEADAS
Grilled Eggplant rolled with goat cheese,
garnished with tomato and arugula
CANELÓN FRÍO DE ATÚN
Cannelloni filled with tuna, asparagus, basil and
tomato, topped with creamy white wine vinaigrette
PAN CON TOMATE, JAMÓN Y QUESO
Tomato bread with Spanish Serrano ham and Manchego cheese
PATATAS CON ALIOLI
Emilio's Famous Garlic Potato salad
TAPAS CALIENTES
MONTADITOS DE LOMO DE CERDO
Grilled Pork Tenderloin on toast points with seasonal vegetables and
caramelized onions served with amontillado sauce
VIEIRAS SALTEADAS SALSA AZAFRÁN
Sautéed Sea Scallops served over spinach,
with saffron sauce and butter potato
EMILIO’S CROQUETAS
Croquettes, served with tomato basil sauce
DÁTILES CON TOCINO
Organic Dates wrapped in bacon with roasted red pepper sauce
PAELLA
PAELLA A LA VALENCIANA
Chicken, pork, shrimp, mussels
and clams baked in saffron rice
POSTRE
PROFITEROLES DEL PIRINEO
Puffed pastry filled with vanilla ice cream,


_______________________________________________________________________________

PAYMENT AND RESERVATIONS
_______________________________________________________________________________

Price: $55.00 per person, including tax and gratuity.

Payment of $56.00 should be made by PayPal or check for $55.00 received on or before Wednesday,
10/29/2014.

* Pay via PayPal: Go to the PayPal website (www.paypal.com) and select the “Send Money” tab.
Enter the amount ($56.00) and transfer this payment to yarborough.translations@gmail.com

* Pay by check: Mail a check made out to Alicja Yarborough:

Alicja Yarborough
4400 Chalfont Place
Bethesda, MD 20816
Contact person: Alicja Yarborough (yarborough.translations@gmail.com)

_______________________________________________________________________________

TRANSPORTATION
_______________________________________________________________________________

A 10-minute walk (0.6 mi.) from the Conference Hotel to the restaurant. Walk out the front doors and turn left, to Columbus Drive and turn right. Head three blocks north to Ohio Street and turn left. The restaurant is located at 215 E. Ohio.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

ATA Science & Technology Division 2014 Program


by Matthew Schlecht

The ATA Science & Technology Division has a solid program at the ATA 55th Annual Conference, with content that will appeal to the inner geek in all of us. S&TD includes translators working in a wide variety of language pairs with a focus on scientific and technical subject matter. Some of the S&TD presentations do have a specific language pair focus, while others discuss only subject matter, but all address the unique constellation of terminology, style, register, and background that are necessary to do translation work in this area.

Our Distinguished Speaker for 2014 is Dr. Christiane Feldmann-Leben, who works between English and German, and into German from French and Japanese. One of her presentations (ST-1) is entitled “An Introduction to Nanomaterials: From Synthesis to Applications”. This talk will provide attendees with an introduction to the synthesis and analysis of these new materials, and will also focus on the applications of nanomaterials in fields such as medicine, the automotive industry, and consumer products. Her second offering (ST-4) is entitled “From Oil Economy to Hydrogen Economy: An Introduction to Fuel Cells”, and will explain this important new option for renewable energy. This presentation will explain how fuel cells have reached a highly advanced stage beyond the initial applications in space flight, and cover ongoing developments in the means of producing and storing hydrogen. Listeners will be introduced to fuel cells from the bottom up, and will learn about the problems still to be overcome and possible solutions to make a hydrogen economy viable.

Something of use to everyone will be the talk by Patricia Thickstun, who works into English from French. The title is "Updating Your Knowledge of Science and Technology Innovations" (ST-9), and the intent is to provide strategies and resources for efficiently developing, expanding, and maintaining one’s science and technology knowledge base. How to be a quick study in science and technology, and have fun doing it! Examples will be taken from the fields of biotechnology, medicine, chemistry, and physics.

As the typical bicycling season draws to a close in the Chicago area, Carola Berger (EN>DE) will take you on a whirlwind tour of all things bicycle, from low-end clunkers to high-end carbon fiber frames. Those who attend her presentation, "Grannies, Freds, and LSD: A Non-Pedestrian Introduction to Bicycles" (ST-5), will learn what the jargon in the title really means. In addition, they will be able to translate the user manual for the newest electronic 22-speed gruppo, or localize the latest interactive global positioning system bicycling app.

The talk, "Left of Boom: Explosives and Bombing-Related Terminology, Part 2" (ST-3), is a follow-up to the well-received Part 1 from last year’s San Antonio meeting. This time, Christina Schoeb (AR>EN) will focus on English-language vocabulary related to explosives and explosions. Terminology related to homemade and improvised explosive devices and bombing incidents will be presented to help translators and interpreters prepare themselves with the English expressions in this field of application.

A presentation of both scientific and medical interest, "Gene Therapy: The New Frontier of Medicine" (ST-2), will be given by Tapani Ronni (EN>FI). Gene therapy is the deliberate modification of the genes in a patient's cells, with possible future applications that include DNA vaccinations and tailor-made anti-cancer drugs. The talk will cover current applications, the limitations and risks, and will explore the philosophical and ethical issues related to the hotly debated germ line gene therapy.

Another introduction to a high-tech topic will be presented by Di Wu, who works between Mandarin Chinese and English. The talk is entitled "Terminology in Integrated Circuits and Semiconductor Manufacturing" (ST-7), and will start with a brief history of semiconductor development, and then proceed through the steps of semiconductor manufacturing, including wafer making, processing, wafer testing, device testing, and packaging. He will also profile the business side of the field, listing the major players and discussing trends in semiconductor technology.

Leo van Zanten, who works into Dutch from English and Spanish, will discuss a topic that reaches every corner of the globe: "Agri-Food for Thought: How Agriculture Translates into Food" (ST-6). The talk will offer a deeper insight into the world of agricultural food production and the challenges for the future, covering the meaning and background of terminology specific to this area. Examples will cover the challenges and nuances in the translation of commonly used terminology, such as organic agriculture.

My own presentation, “Chromatography for Technical Translators” (ST-8), will cover the widely used technique of chromatography in terms of theory, equipment, applications, and results. The focus will be on how chromatography is described in documents received for technical translation, with most of the examples between English and German, Japanese, French and Spanish. The jargon and abbreviations unique to the chromatography field will be decoded, and glossary information and resource links will be provided.


The division will be present at the Division Open House on Wednesday evening and has arranged a dinner on the Thursday evening. Two “veteran” S&TD members, Amy Lesiewicz and Matthew Schlecht, will host an “S&TD New Member Breakfast” at the Friday morning continental breakfast (watch for the tables with signs!). We look forward to attracting and getting to know new members.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Why I Have a Minimum Charge in my Rate Structure

I was contacted some months ago by a vendor management person from one of the agencies with whom I do a reasonable volume of work. She asked me whether I would consider dropping my requirement for a minimum charge from my rate structure, since if I were to do so, I would receive many more project inquiries from them. Presumably, these project inquiries would involve small word counts, and the agency could save money on my fee if I were to bill strictly according to word count.
I felt this was a good teachable moment, so I put together an analysis of why I employ a minimum charge. I thought this might prove interesting to other members of the Science and Technology Division, so I put this in blog form to share with the group.
In my actual message I used figures in dollars. Since the same message can be conveyed by using proportional figures and not dollars, I have made a conversion to simoleans (from a favorite computer game in my past, Sim City®), where one simolean is equal to my hourly rate = my minimum charge. Other than that and a few minor editorial changes for clarity, the following is my verbatim response to this vendor management representative.
            Thank you for contacting me regarding my rate structure.
            Let me say first that I understand the downward pressures on rates in the industry, and how end clients somehow believe that translation prices should uniformly go downward despite the fact that costs for nearly everything else in the world go upward. I understand that to remain competitive, an agency like yours must look for ways to cut costs.
            Regarding the minimum rate, I'm going to keep it in place. The reasoning is that any project requires a certain amount of "non-billable time", i.e., time not directly reflected in a per-word rate. This includes the time to receive and process the files, set up a project, do some initial research, carry out communications with the project manager, and preparing and submitting an invoice, plus any after-service needed (questions or requests for clarification from the PM). The amount of non-billable time per project is about the same. Thus, with a small job of 50–100 words, the cumulative non-billable time for each such project becomes a significant factor in my day's schedule, while the relative impact is less significant for larger jobs.
            If my work day were to include eight 100-word jobs, each requiring a total time of ~1 hour including the non-billable time, I would bill 2–2.7 simoleans (depending on the language pair) for the day's work if I use a strictly per-word rate. If my work day includes 2500 words in a single project, I would bill 6.25–8.33 simoleans/day, with roughly the same amount of non-billable time as one 100-word project.
            Between these two work schedule structures, if I am to run my translation work as a business rather than a hobby, it's clear that I should seek to structure my day more along the lines of the second schedule.
            The minimum rate is my response to make it feasible for me to accept some smaller jobs, and obviously is only viable when the PM or end client find that rate to be acceptable.
            I realize that this is probably not the response you wanted to hear, but I have taken the time to explain so that you might have a better idea about what's going on out here "in the trenches".

Matthew Schlecht
Word Alchemy

wordalchemytranslation.com

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

How Not To Attend a Professional Conference

A few months ago I decided to attend my first National Meeting of the American Chemical Society. They have two National Meetings per year; the one I attended drew over 13,000 attendees for 5 full days of technical sessions, symposia, poster sessions, lunches, a large exhibition, and networking events. The event was too large for the Dallas Convention Center; sessions were held at half a dozen nearby hotels as well.
The ACS is the largest professional association in the world, and it encompasses all fields of chemistry from petroleum to nanomaterials to pharmaceuticals to polymers, and the entire spectrum from academic research and education to commercial R&D to industrial production and sales. My first mistake was that, other than attending mostly symposia in the medicinal chemistry track, I didn’t have a plan to focus on a limited number of these options.
I came a day early to attend the annual meeting of the International Activities Committee, which seemed like my best bet for meeting potential clients. I introduced myself at the meeting and had a brief chat with an administrative assistant who has handled translations for the Society in the past, but I didn’t make a great impression or valuable contacts. (I have exchanged a few email messages with the administrative assistant and connected on LinkedIn, but the relationship has stalled.)
Over the next several days, I attended symposia where I learned about advances in medicinal chemistry and other topics, which is great for developing my specialization. I also went to every networking event I could and forced myself to come out of my introverted shell and strike up conversations. At some events I “worked the room” and talked to a dozen people or more; at others, I stayed at a table with a small circle of people all evening.
On the whole, every conversation went pretty much like this:
Me: (general greeting and small talk) “So, what do you do?”
Stranger: “I research X” or “I work in Y. What do you do?”
Me: “I’m a Russian translator. I specialize in translating for the chemical and pharmaceutical industries, so I’m here to learn about advances in the field.”
Stranger: (look of complete confusion) “Are you presenting?”
Me: “No, I’m just here to learn and network.”
Stranger: (still looks confused and loses interest)
Me: “Do you have a card? Here’s mine.” (exchange cards)
THE END
I never figured out how to move the conversation forward. When I spoke to people who were presenting later at the conference, I wished them “good luck” in Russian and explained the phrase. This sometimes got a friendly smile or chuckle, but often the poor person I’d cornered became even more confused.
Worst of all, when I attended events sponsored by the International Activities Committee and people insisted that there was no need for translation because all scientists speak English nowadays, and besides we can all use Google Translate, my responses were weak and often I got cut off and pushed aside.
At one session on alternative careers for chemists, a technical writer spoke about working as a freelancer and independent consultant. I decided I really should speak to her after her talk; we share many freelancing challenges, plus she is also a career counselor and I thought it might be nice to pick her brain a bit. I thought that asking her a question would be the best way to open up a conversation, so I asked “What advice would you give to an introvert who finds professional networking a challenge?” Albeit not a particularly incisive question, it was all I could come up with at the moment; I was expecting her to suggest that I practice in front of a mirror or join Toastmasters. Her response? “You just have to suck it up and do it.” End of conversation. She immediately turned to speak to someone else.
That night in my hotel, I realized I was completely bombing at my first non-translation conference. I thought about all of the other things I’d failed at over the last two years of freelancing, and how I’d picked myself up and learned negotiating skills, marketing techniques, business management, organization, and more. All of those fumbles had not ended my career; I’d learned from my mistakes and used those lessons to improve. I went for a run that evening and decided to relax for the rest of the conference and just soak up information.
Fast forward about two months. A local friend and colleague (Steven Marzuola) got a handful of free passes to the Offshore Technology Conference, an annual trade show for the oil and gas industry held every spring in Houston. It draws hundreds of companies, from the biggest international oil majors like ExxonMobil and Shell to tiny family-owned companies that make rubber seals and gaskets. I thought I might attend some of the technical sessions, but it turned out that the free guest pass only got me into the exhibit hall. Most of the people manning the exhibits are there to sell their products; they’re not the people in the company who would handle translation or make contracting decisions. So I decided to take a completely different tack.

Most of the exhibits, especially for the big companies, were displaying models or full-scale prototypes of their equipment. So I would walk up to a big shiny thing and look at it, walk around it, lean in close, turn handwheels, touch surfaces… When a company representative introduced himself, I’d just point at something and say “What’s that?” or “What kind of valve is that?” He’d give a brief explanation, and if he seemed friendly and open to further conversation, I’d say “I’m a translator; I translate design documentation and specs for equipment, but sometimes I’ve never even seen it. So I came out today to look at equipment and learn all I can.” If he got quiet after that, I’d thank him for the information and move on. (I also tried to be aware of other visitors to the booth; especially for the small companies, showing at the OTC is a significant expense and they want to talk to as many potential buyers as possible. Their time is valuable, so I’d only linger if there were no other takers lurking behind me.) If he asked what languages I translate, he’d often be surprised and quite interested. He’d usually offer to answer more questions or show me more equipment. I got to see the inside of ball valves, gate valves, and butterfly valves. I saw frac stacks with ball launchers. I touched intumescents and coatings and alloys. I felt drill bits. I learned about drilling mud and changed a screen in a mud shaker. I picked up a poster showing various offshore drilling and production platforms with all the parts labeled. I got to put on a hardhat and climb up to the operator’s cabin on a top drive platform. A few exhibitors asked for my card and said they might need translation services. Most were just happy to show me their products and answer my questions. I would always end by shaking hands and saying “Thank you so much for your time!” Although I only gave out about a dozen business cards, I left feeling much more positive about my experience, and I can’t wait to do it again.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Stephen Schwanbeck, French-English Translator

It seems that many scientific and technical translators take a roundabout path in their careers. Is that true for you? Tell us about how you became a translator with your specialization.
I was never interested in physics, chemistry or any other technical subject while a student. History and literature were my favorite subjects. In college, I majored in French and minored in Renaissance 90s and was planning to become a teacher. A year of study abroad in Lyon changed all that. On a lark, I took a translation class at Lyon 3. It was a light-bulb moment: I realized that I wanted to be a translator. I considered literary translation, but, oddly, I started becoming interested in science at the time. When it was time to go back to the U.S., I decided instead to continue my studies in Lyon. I enrolled in a two-year program of classes in translation, interpreting and terminology as well as medicine, business and economics with a little politics thrown in. The same month I got my degree, I found a job as an in-house technical translator in an agency in Lyon. In the 12 years that I worked there, I translated documents in many fields, particularly engineering, pharmaceuticals, medical devices and biotechnologies. I learned my first specialization—HVAC-R—translating brochures and manuals for one of our key clients. In 2010 I left the agency and set myself up as a freelancer and began specializing in nuclear safety and security soon after the Fukushima disaster in March 2011.
Was it challenging for you to combine your scientific and linguistic interests? What advice would you give to translators or interpreters just starting their careers?
Yes, it was a bit of a challenge for me at the beginning. My French was good, but I still had a lot to learn about the hands-on aspects of translating. Also, I was working on documents in lots of different fields and which were not always well written. Luckily, the Internet was really taking off at the same time and I was able to learn and hone my online research skills. Also, I had my coworkers to help me with questions about grammar, vocabulary and technical matters. And if they didn’t have the answer, I would contact the client directly.
First, consider working for an agency for at least a year. You’ll gain experience not just in research, translating and proofreading, but also project management, customer relations and basic office organization. Second, if at all possible, live and work in your source-language country. Not only will that allow you to practice your source language on a daily basis, but you will also have greater visibility and less competition. Third, read the press in your area of specialization to learn the jargon and style, keep up with developments and identify potential clients.
What is unique about your skill set? What sets you apart?
The fact that I work only in French and English allows me to focus all my research and training on subjects in just one language pair without spreading myself out too thin. Also, I’ve been living in France for 20 years, so I’m fluent in the language and familiar with the culture. Lastly, my work over the past 15 years has allowed me to build up my knowledge base.
What is your favorite type of interpreting assignment or text to translate? What makes it fun for you?
The best type is those that immediately click with you and where the translation practically flows out all by itself. What keeps it fun for me is that nearly every day I learn something new and interesting.
Are there any resources you use when translating that you’d like to share with readers?
The IAEA’s website is great for information on nuclear-related subjects. What’s more, lots of its publications are available in English and French. Otherwise, for terminology queries in different fields, Termium is a great resource.
How can readers learn more about you and connect with you?

You can catch me on my website, LinkedIn, Viadeo, Twitter and Proz. One of my goals for this year is to start a blog.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Review of Karen Tkaczyk's presentation: ST-1: Problems, Solutions, and Precipitates: Translating for the Pharmaceutical, Chemical, and Cosmetics Industries, presented at the ATA 54th Annual Conference in San Antonio

Reviewed by Alicja Yarborough

This was the first technical session on Thursday and the audience was full of enthusiasm to learn new things.

Karen gave a very interesting and informative presentation on translating for the pharmaceutical, chemical, and cosmetics industries. She focused on the types of documents she translates, problems that have arisen, and texts that shouldn't cause any issues. Karen primarily translates industrial, not clinical work (FR>EN). The customer is usually a manufacturer.

Here are a few examples of documents she regularly works on, and some of her thoughts on each type:
  • Quality Assurance Checklists and Certification Analysis
    These are often straightforward, containing lists of tasks or tests, specifications, and results.
  • Regulatory Affairs Dossiers
    Predictable and routine, these present a great opportunity to show clients your subject expertise for a different regulatory system (e.g. EMA versus FDA usage).
  • Manufacturing Records (pdf)
    These are big jobs, sometimes in multiple parts, with complex tables. They contain a record of manufacturing from the first ingredients to the final product (a→z). It can take more time to format some pages than it does to translate them. Examples of templates for this type of document, and many others that she mentioned, can be found on docstoc.com.
  • Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) and Work Instructions
    SOPs are on a high level; Work Instructions are smaller. They often involve clunky writing, which can be typical for any technical field.
  • Validation and Qualification Procedures
    These are standard analyses and tests that all products must undergo as part of good manufacturing practice (GMP). They make for repetitive texts across a range and across clients; requiring little research, they can yield high productivity.
  • Sterility and Packaging Procedures
    Karen showed an example of vendor-support supplied packaging: this included boxes, printed inner and outer labels, and leaflets. Each support, including new versions, must be validated by the manufacturer, who ensures that enough components are always supplied to be able to deliver the products ordered.
    For a manufacturer, this includes packing products, notes for packaging for each unit, and inserts. Translating these may be tricky. The example Karen gave was for sterile packaging of medical devices.
  • Promotional Materials
    These often involve a mixture of science and oddly written text by marketing people. They may contain claim language; it’s important that we know the allowed terms for the target market.
  • Precaution for Use
    Warnings and precautions for medical devices and drugs, e.g.
    “SINGLE-USE DEVICE INTENDED TO BE USED ONCE FOR A SINGLE PATIENT”

What should not cause trouble:
  • Nomenclature
    There are well publicized rules. When translating into English, it should be easy to find reputable sources; for other languages, find your national chemical association’s rules. Karen explained that there are many ways to name polymers. Be sure to look closely at modifiers and numbers.
  • Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS)
    These should not cause problems: you can probably find them on-line in your language, often available to download from a database, for example at the websites of chemical manufacturers, or:
  • Anything covered in the EMA QRD templates
    These are available to download in 23 languages. Karen suggested we should make a translation memory from these reference documents.
  • Theoretical Texts
    It’s easy to find similar texts on-line, in textbooks, or even (with discernment) on Wikipedia.
  • Branded Equipment
    The companies selling the equipment usually have websites; you can find pictures, specifications, performance parameters, and lists of spare parts or you can call the sales team with your questions. Karen said that sales associates are often willing to answer questions on their products.
  • Natural Ingredients
    In various Pharmacopeia, you can find detailed explanations on natural products. Karen translates monographs in the context of cosmetics; manufacturers and marketers want to show their products’ natural origin.

Where the problems lie:
  • Calques
    We should avoid commonly used (but incorrect) calques. We see them but we should not use them. For example, a Google search for “active principle” will yield many results in English, but a more correct translation into English would be “active ingredient.” Internet searches will yield many texts written by non-native speakers, including texts where neologisms are coined, such as patents. Terms that sound like calques can be created by innovators, and some terms stick. Translators need discernment to decide when an apparent calque is the term of the art.
  • Mistakes made by native speakers
    Quantities should take a singular verb; for instance in experimental chemistry, “100 ml of solution is (was) added…” not “are (were) added…”
    Another common mistake is that of using the numeral zero instead of the letter O for “oxygen:” Na3PO4, not Na3P04.
    Karen recommended using the ACS style guide when working on English chemical texts. In other languages, look for an in-country specification or standards from a standards institution.
  • Poorly Written Source Text: Change Histories
    Karen gave the example of Change Histories as often being difficult. These are a routine text segment in any document falling under a Quality Control system. These are often snippets of text added incrementally without thought to the broader context, and when the change in question is a removal, there may be no further context elsewhere in the document.
  •  Jargon and Tech-Speak
    Karen gave examples including in-house shorthand, acronyms, and more routine terms (e.g. HPLC). She frequently encounters odd uses for simple words that can be surprisingly tricky to translate: hoses, flasks, or rods/pipes/taps.
    Sometimes the only way to determine the correct translation is to ask the client. She gave an example of a list of queries sent to a client, which included pictures. Karen and audience members discussed using a Google image or taking a screen shot and looking for it using reverse search.

There were some comments and questions asked by the audience. One of them was a question that most of us have had at some point of our career as a technical translator:  the relative size of a “lot” versus a “batch.” Karen confidently clarified all of those doubts: “a batch may be made up of several lots; it can’t be smaller than a lot.” In addition, she referred to official definitions that may be found in FDA CFR Sections 210&211, which cover cGMP for the field.

Overall, the presentation was not only very useful for translators who are already involved in this kind of work but also for those who want to broaden their area of specialization and need to decide if they are qualified to do similar work. The session was very well attended, and the audience seemed to appreciate the new information. Soon after the session Karen received great feedback from a translator who was able to catch and correct a mistake in a text mentioned in the presentation, in which 0 should be O, the symbol for oxygen. The translator stated that she never would have thought to look for that if she had not attended Karen’s talk.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Glossaries for Environmental Science

Provided by Abigail Dahlberg, the following list of glossaries and thesauri is a sampling of the many resources available to translators active working in the environmental field. These links are provided without any guarantee as to their accuracy or completeness. As always, please use your best judgment and discretion when consulting these resources.

Water glossaries (multilingual)
Glossary of environmental health terms (US)
Glossary of environmental science
Environmental thesaurus (DE, EN)
Environmental terminology and discovery service
Wind energy glossary (EN, DE, ES, FR, DK)
Environmental dictionary EnDic (FI, ET, EN, FR, DE, SV, LT, LV, RU)
UN Environment Glossary (AR, CH, EN, FR, RU, ES)
Water and sanitation glossaries and thesauri (comprehensive)


Born and bred in the United Kingdom, Abigail Dahlberg is a German-English translator specializing in recycling and waste management issues. After completing an MA in Translation and Interpreting, she spent several years working as a staff translator and journalist for one of Germany's leading trade journals for the waste management industry. She moved to the Kansas City area in 2005, and launched a freelance business catering to the needs of German waste management companies, government entities, consulting firms, and trade journals. You can find more information about her background and services at www.printtranslations.com.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The Year in Review - 2013

By Karen M. Tkaczyk and Alicja Yarborough

So how is the Science and Technology Division doing at the end of another year? Can we meet like-minded ATA members in the division’s varying networking venues? Do we share useful resources and provide insightful education on relevant topics? Do we keep members informed about useful news and events?

At the end of 2013 our division had 2188 members. As is the case with most ATA divisions, only a small percentage of members take advantage of the benefits we offer in terms of year-round networking or conference activity. Perhaps this summary will encourage a few more to take up some of them in 2014.

This hub for all of the division’s activity, all year round, is the website. We post a news update every month, thanks to Lebzy Gonzalez, and obvious links to find all our activity are there. For instance, this year our activity included 35 posts to the blog. We owe a big thanks to Editor Amy Lesiewicz, who came on board at the end of 2012. We have always had two Editors so that the workload is split: thank you also to outgoing editor Tess Whitty for all help over recent years and to the new incoming editor Sarah Koby for joining the team. One strong set of posts this year was a series of interviews profiling members that showed different paths taken to thrive as technical translator.

At the beginning of every year we have a flurry of activity to find a potential Distinguished Speaker and encourage members to present for the S&TD track at the Annual Conference. This year’s distinguished speaker, John Moffat, who came to us because he was known to member Steven Marzuola, did not disappoint. John had quite a character so he entertained as well as educating us during his two sessions, and socialized with us too throughout the week. In San Antonio there were eleven S&TD sessions. If you missed a session, or even managed to attend it but want a reminder, reviews are being posted on the blog. As we write four reviews are already there, as are the minutes of the division’s annual meeting, which is always held during the conference.

Later in the year we began preparations for social events in San Antonio in addition to the Division Open House put on by ATA to follow the Welcome Reception. One was an outing to a small brewery for the Wednesday afternoon prior to the conference, involving a “site tour”: we laughed at the scale as it ended up being smaller than we expected, but the 25 or so of us who attended had fun tasting and plied the owner with many technical questions all the same. The other social was a casual group lunch in the mall adjacent to the conference hotel. Thanks to Stephanie Strobel for finding and arranging the brewery tour for us.

During 2013 the Nominating Committee handled the election of Administrator and Assistant Administrator. Thanks go to Abigail Dahlberg and Salvador Virgen. The current Administrator Karen Tkaczyk ran for a second term and Alicja Yarborough, who has helped with many S&TD matters in recent years, ran for Assistant Administrator. We received no other nominations. They were elected by acclamation to serve two-year terms 2013-2015.

To achieve all this, we need volunteers. The Leadership Council handles many administrative matters for the division. Members can see quarterly reports to the board and an agenda and minutes for the annual meeting at the website.

The Council’s members for 2014 are:
  • Iryna Ashby
  • Lebzy González
  • Sarah Koby
  • Amy Lesiewicz
  • Matthew Schlecht
  • Petra Schweitzer
  • Stephanie Strobel
  • Karen Tkaczyk
  • Alicja Yarborough

Feel free to contact us if you wish to become more involved. Any interested members are welcome to join us!

Thinking ahead, one area we could do more with during 2014 is webinars: suggestions and recommendations for speakers of interest to S&TD members are welcome. We continue to add to the resources section on the website, and welcome suggestions there too. We share news on Twitter: follow @ATASciTech. Networking is available in the Yahoo!, Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Links to all those are at the website’s home page.

In conclusion, we can say that the division is active and serving its purpose. We would like to note special thanks to Matthew Schlecht, outgoing Assistant Administrator, for his efforts throughout 2013 and particularly at the Annual Conference, and his willingness to stay on the Council and moderate the division’s Yahoo! group.

Karen Tkaczyk, Administrator
Alicja Yarborough, Assistant Administrator                              January 2, 2014