Saturday, 5 November 2005: 17.30-18.45
METM 05, Barcelona, Spain

Interdisciplinary transitions—making the shift from subject expert, linguist or educator to language facilitator

Catherine Mark, panel organizer, editor and medical writer, Department of Immunology & Oncology, Centro Nacional de Biotecnologia/CSIC, Madrid, Spain

Panelists: Simon Bartlett, scientific communications officer, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Madrid; Iain K. Patten and Mary Ellen Kerans, freelance author’s editors and translators, Valencia and Barcelona, respectively; Ben Young, Young Medical Communications, Madrid, and former president of the European Medical Writers Association (EMWA).

How did we end up here? Some of us were laboratory or academic scientists, some began in the humanities as linguists, teachers, or writers. Many are not native to the countries in which we work. The shift to translator/editor may have been a conscious choice; in other cases, it was less intentional, or even fortuitous. We have nonetheless all faced the complexities of the transition process.

Together, we bring a broad variety of skills and expertise to this round table. The panelists' presentations will initiate discussion of the conversion to specialist language consultant, including adaptation and re-education, acquiring proficiency with specific text types in unfamiliar subjects, understanding attitudes and focusing expectations, and coaching clients for effective communication within their disciplines, as well as giving language support.