MET knowledge update minissession

Blood tests made easy: everything you always wanted to know but never dared ask

Jason Willis-Lee, Madrid, Spain
Summary: if you work in the medical and pharmaceutical segment of the translation industry, you will likely at some point have tackled a medical discharge or laboratory blood test report. These can often be filled with lists of technical parameters that include plenty of unfriendly acronyms to trip you up along the way. This workshop is designed to increase attendees’ knowledge about the most common blood test values found in medical laboratory reports.

Purpose: This workshop is aimed at both beginner and well-established medical and pharmaceutical translators and authors’ editors. It will attempt to increase attendees’ confidence and give them a bigger picture when tackling the translation of medical lab reports. It also strives to allay any fears or gaps in knowledge about the haematology section of a laboratory report.

Description and structure: The workshop will begin with an overview of cellular composition of blood, red blood cells and oxygen transport. It will then move on to the molecular structure, function and chemical formula of haemoglobin. The classification of white blood cells, haemostasis and anticoagulants will be explored in depth. Practical examples from actual medical reports will be given in all cases to illustrate the theory discussed. There will be a section on common red and white blood cell pathology including symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. Participants will have the opportunity to apply what they have learned through practical exercises. Towards the end of the workshop some further reading and resources will be suggested.

Who should attend? Those who attended a presentation on this subject at METM15 in Coimbra and wish to learn more. Anyone who translates medical laboratory reports on a regular basis, anyone with a passing interest in haematology, and even anyone curious about how to interpret their own medical report.

Outcome skills: Increased confidence when tackling translation of medical laboratory reports. Enhanced ability to interpret spurious values and increase the added value of translations. Ability to go the extra mile when tackling haematology-related texts.

Pre-workshop information: A short review of the cellular components of blood and standard red and white blood cell values in a typical lab report will be sent to participants in advance.

About the facilitator: Jason Willis-Lee, MITI, graduated in physiology after training as a doctor for over three years at Bristol Medical School including one year’s full hospital training. He put in a brief stint as a clinical research associate before switching into applied linguistics and earning a postgraduate diploma in translating and interpreting from the University of Bath. He now works full time in Madrid as a freelance Med Pharm translator in the Spanish-English and French-English language pairs. He now takes a livelier interest in training medical translators on medical topics and is working on developing a knack for explaining technical concepts to a lay audience. Recent work of note includes a publication on best practices whilst working for Spanish/Latin American doctors seeking qualification before the British GMC (ITI Bulletin) and a professional webinar of this workshop taught through eCPD webinars.