Posts Tagged ‘medical translation’

Slow clap for medical translators: A tale of Jo-Hanna’s vacation

June 13, 2008

“So where have you been, Jo-Hanna?”

Well, since you asked so nicely…

If you want to skip the parts not directly relevant to translation, skip over to the last two paragraphs. My feelings won’t be hurt. OK, they would be, but I will never know that you skipped most of the post.

My daughter and I have been in La Isla del Encanto (Puerto Rico) for a week and a half. We spent 4.5 days by the beach in Boquerón, Cabo Rojo., along with my parents, my sister, and her two daughters. Time was spent avoiding the sun (We have never been interested in tanning, even before we were aware of skin cancer and other dangers. The paler members of our family, a subset that includes me, are unable to tan, and the other ones don’t need to), eating, watching the children watch Barney videos, and bonding. After the beach, I bought a lovely dictionary, spent time with loved ones, and witnessed my daughter eating her first empanadilla. Good times

After that, all hell broke loose. The day before we were scheduled to come back, my daughter became horribly ill. We had to rush her to the ER in my hometown, where she was treated and finally discharged by midnight.  Since she was in no shape to fly the next day, we were forced to reschedule our flight. Then the flight was late coming in, due to the tornado watch/thunderstorms, so we didn’t get home until 3:00 a.m. on Thursday.

And on Friday, my husband and I took her to the doctor. I had the documents generated from the ER visit and decided to write a quick-and-dirty translation of the doctor’s notes. Except the good doctor’s handwriting corresponded to the stereotype. My translation went something like this: “Patient presented with [unintelligible], had a [unintelligible] of 97 and a [unintelligible] of 31. Levels are [unintelligible].

So here’s to you, medical translators who manage to figure out not just the terminology, but the handwriting. Seriously. Do they teach seminars on that at the ATA convention?

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