METM15 presentation

Blood tests in medical reports and associated pathology for medical editors and translators

Jason Willis-Lee, Madrid, Spain

Rationale: If you work in the Med Pharm market segment of the translation industry, you will very likely at some point have tackled a medical discharge or a laboratory blood test report. These can often be filled with lengthy lists of technical parameters that include plenty of unfriendly acronyms to trip you up along the way.

Purpose: This knowledge update is aimed both at beginners and well-established medical and pharmaceutical translators and authors' editors. It will attempt to allay their lack of confidence with blood-related terminology and give them a more comprehensive and fuller picture of what lies behind the laboratory values we see in a typical medical blood test report.

Presentation content: This talk will provide a brief outline of the physiological composition of blood (red blood cells, white blood cells, plasma and platelets). An overview of the basic function of each blood constituent will then be given. The different members of the white blood cell class and their purpose will be discussed in further detail. We will then turn to some of the most routine blood tests in medical practice today and discuss both normal values and some of the associated pathology that may arise when these numbers become spurious. During the talk some time will also be assigned to the linguistic components of the terminology presented, including an overview of the most common UK-US English nuances we should bear in mind as professional medical editors and translators.

Jason Willis-Lee, MITI, graduated with an honours science degree in physiology (BSc Hons) after studying 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 career direction into applied linguistics and earning a postgraduate diploma in translating and interpreting (PG Dip) 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.