Medicine as a practice involves “the art of healing” — fixing broken things, curing ailments and helping those past cure. In certain eras, medicine and magic were lumped into the same category, and truly, there is something that feels uncanny about returning to health after a long sickness. To anyone who has ever hurt, and that would be about 100% of the human population, the “art of healing” sounds pretty good.
Pain and degeneration are universal, and how we answer it takes up a large portion of our lives. Friends, family, melody, exploration, vitamins and most of our hobbies may help hold our mortality at bay, but there are times when we need very specific medical attention. Western medicine, combined with improved nutrition and sanitation, has produced near-miraculous life expectancy in the broader scheme of human existence. As Lori Thicke points out in the first article of the focus, however, much of this world-changing information is useless unless you and your medical practitioners understand it. Often, then, and particularly in certain parts of the world, translation is crucial.
The theme of translating medical information is continued with Afaf Steiert and Matthias Steiert’s article, which comes next in the focus. Then Elizabeth Colón, with a little help from Dena Bugel-Shunra’s sidebar, has some tips for providing medical interpretation. Next, Luciana Ramos offers some basic etymology for medical translation, Sandra La Brasca and Jason Heaton discuss medical software localization, and Inna Kassatkina, Stacy Liechti and Mark Opler cover culture and language issues in global clinical trials. Last but not least for our medical focus, Libor Safar has some details on pharmaceutical translation.
Also in this issue, Lori Thicke interviews Christine Duran of Adobe, Kate Edwards writes about animal symbolism, and John Freivalds has some thoughts on language apps and the military. For the more technically inclined, Christian Lieske provides insights into the future of XLIFF, and Barbara Inge Karsch reviews the German tekom Studie. Finally, Wayne Bourland gives us reasons why machine translation hasn’t taken hold as much as theory claims it should.
There’s a proverb that says “a word aptly spoken is like apples of gold.” Folklore says “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” Hence, apt words may keep the doctor away, becoming part of prevention. Folk wisdom confirms it: Good words are like medicine.