Panel discussion

Organizations for communication professionals—What do they offer you?

METM 06, Barcelona
27-28 October 2006

Panel coordinator: Karen Shashok
Saturday 28, 09:00-10:10, Room 1

Communication specialists around the world—editors, translators, technical and medical writers, website developers, oral communication coaches, researchers, and others—are enjoying a period of increasing recognition and professionalization thanks in part to the work of several well-established organizations. This panel discussion is intended to give organizations involved in effective knowledge dissemination to international audiences a chance to explain their goals and activities to language, editing, publishing and communication consultants sensitive to the challenges faced by those whose first language is not English. As the new kid on the block, MET is proud to introduce you to some of our sister organizations so you can see who they’re aimed at, what their goals are, and what professional development opportunities they offer you. After brief presentations, representatives from each organization will answer questions from the audience to provide a more complete picture of the activities.

Karen Shashok, translator and editorial consultant, Granada, Spain, has organized and will coordinate this panel discussion.

The following organizations are represented:

  • World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) - Ana Marušic (abstract)
  • The Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) - Farhad Handjani (abstract)
  • Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT) - Chris Durban (abstract)
  • European Association of Science Editors (EASE) - Arjan KS Polderman (abstract)
  • Fédération Internationale des Traductuers / International Federation of Translators (FIT) - Sheryl Hinkkanen (abstract)
  • Council of Science Editors (CSE) - Ana Marušic (abstract)
  • European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) - Elise Langdon-Neuner (abstract)


World Association of Medical Editors (WAME)

Speaker: Ana Marušic, Past President, World Association of Medical Editors

The World Association of Medical Editors (WAME) is a voluntary association of editors from many countries who seek to foster international cooperation among editors of peer-reviewed medical journals. WAME resources include WAME Policy Statements, a Syllabus for Editors, Resources for Editors, Ethics Consultation, and the listserve WAME Talk. Membership in WAME is free and open to all editors of peer-reviewed medical journals. As of May 2006, WAME had more than 1409 members representing 890 journals from 90 countries.

WAME helps medical journal editors fulfill their responsibility to ensure that reports of medical research provide valid information in a form that is readily accessible by researchers, medical practitioners and others by providing educational resources and a forum for discussion of issues in research publication. In particular, WAME aims to assist editors in developing countries and editors of small journals, who often face difficulties obtaining high-quality manuscripts, may lack formal training in editing, and have limited finances and access to publication expertise.

Ana Marušic, MD, PhD, is Professor of Anatomy at the Zagreb University School of Medicine in Croatia, and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Croatian Medical Journal together with her husband, Prof. Matko Marušic. She is also President-Elect of the Council of Science Editors (CSE)


The Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME):
A new partner in the world of medical journalism

Speaker: Farhad Handjani, Secretary-General, Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors

The Eastern Mediterranean Association of Medical Editors (EMAME) is a nongovernmental, nonpartisan and nonprofit organization established with the support of the World Health Organization Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (WHO/EMRO). The mission of EMAME is to support medical journalism in the region through networking, training and exchange of relevant information and knowledge. Specific objectives of EMAME include promoting 1) cooperation and communication between medical editors in the region and throughout the world, 2) healthcare through the dissemination of high-quality medical journals, 3) professionalism in medical editing, 4) research in peer review, and 5) cooperation with national and international bodies which pursue similar objectives.

With an estimated 400 medical journals being published in the region, EMAME aims to promote activities to help upgrade the quality of these journals so that more journals can be indexed internationally. In collaboration with WHO/EMRO, EMAME aims to improve existing regional indexing systems and formulate guidelines for a regional publication code of ethics. EMAME has set up five committees (Education and Training, Editorship, E-journalism, Evidence-Based Medicine, Research Ethics and Scientific Misconduct and Research and Scientific Committees) and hopes to work with interested and qualified individuals and related bodies to organize workshops, seminars and teaching modules to promote high-quality medical journalism.

Dr. Farhad Handjani, Secretary-General of EMAME and Associate Professor of Dermatology at Shiraz University of Medical Sciences, Shiraz, Iran, is also the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Medical Research (JMR) and a member of the National Commission on Medical Journals in Iran


Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT)

Speaker: Christine Durban, President, Société Française des Traducteurs

The SFT membership has risen briskly in recent years, with an average 10 to 15 new members per month. Both freelance and staff translators appear increasingly interested in networking with other professional linguists and view the SFT as a source of information and contacts. Membership is currently over 1100, including both translators and interpreters (freelance, in-house, court). But the SFT has also moved aggressively to position itself as a focus for the industry in France. Concrete initiatives include training courses to promote professional skills, a strong grassroots presence with special events organized by dynamic regional groups, an annual World Translation Day event (similar to other associations’ annual conferences), active membership of national bodies representing “the professions” in France (doctors, lawyers, architects, accountants, and now, translators), and member benefits that include a website and online directory, professional liability insurance, health insurance and a lively e-group.

Chris Durban is a freelance English-to-French translator based in Paris, where she produces for-publication texts for corporate clients, many of them companies targeting investors in the English-speaking world.


European Association of Science Editors (EASE)

Speaker: Arjan KS Polderman, President, European Association of Science Editors

The European Association of Science Editors (EASE) is a community of individuals from diverse backgrounds, linguistic traditions and professional experience who share an interest in science communication and editing. Most science editors must learn their profession “on the job” and EASE helps in gaining the necessary skills. EASE has a tradition in courses, workshops and seminars to advance editorial practice. This has resulted in some course books and in the Science Editors’ Handbook, which is regularly updated. In the future the professional education of editors will receive more emphasis. EASE also publishes a quarterly journal, European Science Editing, featuring articles related to science and editing, book and web reviews, regional and national news, and resources. The e-mail “EASE Forum” provides opportunities to disseminate news and views and ask questions about all kinds of editorial matters. Every three years members meet and exchange experiences at a major conference.

Arjan Polderman, a biotechnologist, is managing editor of Pharmaceutisch Weekblad, the journal of the Dutch Pharmaceutical Society. He has been involved in training Dutch desk editors and was the Secretary of the Netherlands Association of Science Editors before being elected President of EASE.


Fédération Internationale des Traductuers / International Federation of Translators (FIT)

Speaker: Sheryl Hinkkanen, Secretary-General, Fédération Internationale des Traductuers

FIT is an international federation of associations of translators, interpreters and terminologists gathering more than 100 associations from all over the world. Its purpose is to promote professionalism in the disciplines it represents. FIT is also concerned with the conditions of professional practice in various countries and strives to defend translators’ rights in particular and freedom of expression in general. FIT maintains formal consultative relations with UNESCO.

Sheryl Hinkkanen is an authorized (certified) Finnish to English translator and translation agency owner in Finland. She has been an English translator, language reviser, editor, and journalist since 1978, and has also taught translation and editing at the University of Helsinki.


Council of Science Editors (CSE)

Speaker: Ana Marušic, President-Elect, Council of Science Editors

CSE’s mission is to promote excellence in the communication of scientific information. CSE’s purpose is to serve members in the scientific, scientific publishing and information science communities by fostering networking, education, discussion and exchange, and to be an authoritative resource on current and emerging issues in the communication of scientific information. CSE targets its activities to all professionals in scientific publishing in all research fields. Resources for members include Scientific Style and Format-The CSE Manual for Authors, Editors, and Publishers, as well as many other publications offering guidelines in scientific publishing. CSE also offers training courses in manuscript management, editing and publishing at its annual meetings in the USA.

Ana Marušic, MD, PhD, is Professor of Anatomy at the Zagreb University School of Medicine in Croatia, and co-Editor-in-Chief of the Croatian Medical Journal together with her husband, Prof. Matko Marušic.


European Medical Writers Association (EMWA)

Speaker: Elise Langdon-Neuner, Editor, The Write Stuff

The European Medical Writers Association (EMWA) has a lot to offer medical writers working in industry or academia, with journals or publishers, or as freelancers. Membership is worldwide and many members work in countries where English is not the native language. Some medical writers write and some edit. The definition of medical writing has woolly edges, comprising any communication about medicine from research manuscripts and regulatory reports to promotional materials and journalistic reports.

EMWA maintains a good balance between a professional and social focus. It provides a forum to promote excellence in medical writing by furthering professional development and increasing awareness of medical writing. Two conferences are held a year concentrating on certificated training and social networking. Services to members include the quarterly journal The Write Stuff and the website, which is a main location for job advertising in the field and incorporates a freelance list. EMWA conducts surveys and has responded opportunely to ghostwriting controversies surrounding medical writers by issuing ethical guidelines.

Elise Langdon-Neuner, a writer and editor at Baxter BioScience with a science and law background, has experience as a managing editor of medical journals and as a pharmaceutical company manager assisting authors to prepare manuscripts for submission to journals.