Thread: Promising Practices

Publish or perish: the role of in-house language services in scientific publishing

Hazel Rochford and Janet Carter-Sigglow – Jülich, Germany

Forschungszentrum Jülich, sited on the border of Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands, is one of the largest multidisciplinary research institutions in Europe, with a staff of 4400, including 1278 researchers. Almost all world-class research is published in English and the language of papers submitted by scientists affiliated to a research institution in a non-Anglophone country is often subjected to close scrutiny by journal reviewers.

The in-house Language Services at Jülich were established in 1971 and the unit's work has changed in step with the development of the institution itself. The rise of multidisciplinary and international collaborations involves large numbers of visiting scientists (800 per year from more than 50 countries) and means that there is an increasing demand for the revision of texts written in English by non-native speakers. Statistics kept by the Language Services show that revision accounts for approximately half of the annual volume of work. The three members of the Language Services are in a unique position to offer support because of their close collaboration with authors and their ability to apply expertise gained from translating and editorial work.

The poster will depict the work of the publication process, showing the many stages where the Language Services are involved: advice for authors on whether translation or editing is more beneficial; interpretation of journal instructions for authors and advice on how to implement them; revision of manuscripts, with advice on style, terminology and localization; discussion of reviewers’ comments on language with authors; support for senior scientists in their function as peer reviewers; assistance formulating correspondence with journals; preparation of manuscripts for Jülich’s own publishing house.

Publish or perish: Scientific publishing is a cut-throat business, making or breaking reputations. The Language Services of Forschungszentrum Jülich will bring you the inside story.

Janet Carter-Sigglow and Hazel Rochford both work at the Language Services of the Central Library, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Germany. Janet Carter-Sigglow studied English and German at the University of Keele and linguistics at Cambridge. She first came to Germany as a lecturer in English at RWTH Aachen University and then moved to Forschungszentrum Jülich, where she works as a scientific translator. Her major interests lie in exploring the resources of the Internet for practising translators and the opportunities electronic tools open up for expanding the traditional tasks of a translator. Hazel Rochford has been working as a scientific translator at the Forschungszentrum Jülich for three years. She has a B.A. Hons. in European Studies from Trinity College Dublin and an M.A. in Translation Studies from Dublin City University.