By Matthew Schlecht
The ATA Science & Technology Division has a solid program at the 55th ATA Annual Meeting 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 (ST1) 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 (ST1) 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” (ST9), 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” (ST2), 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 including 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” (ST7) and will start with a brief history of semiconductor development, and then it will 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” (ST6). 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” (ST8), 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 Open House on Wednesday evening and has arranged a dinner on Thursday evening. Two “veteran” S&TD members, Amy Lesiewicz and myself, will host an “S&TD New Member Breakfast” at the ATA Meeting Friday morning continental breakfast (watch for the tables with signs!). We look forward to getting to know new members.
About the author: Matthew Schlecht has operated a freelance translation, proofreading, editing and writing practice under the name Word Alchemy since 2002. He completed an MS and PhD at Columbia University and post-doctoral work at Berkeley in organic chemistry, and also studied Japanese, German, French, and Spanish in parallel with his scientific studies. He worked for twenty years as a researcher in the chemistry and life sciences fields, in both academia and private industry, where he used his language proficiency in service of his research. He now uses his research training and experience to provide expert translation and editing of technical documents.