A checklist ...

“One essential characteristic of modern life is that we all depend on systems—on assemblages of people or technologies or both—and among our most profound difficulties is making them work.” 
― Atul Gawande, The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right

This brilliant book reminded me recently of the dire need for this simple device when working with clients. Especially when we consider the task complexity in biomedical translation. Often, the client and I are sitting in different time zones, even with an ocean between us. Getting all the right information at the outset is essential to meeting deadlines and delivering the final product. When you start a translation inquiry, here are some things we'll cover in the initial contact before you receive a cost and delivery estimate (and, yes, I have this physical checklist on my desk). 

  • Source-to-target language direction (from what into what)?
  • Target audience (regulatory authorities, patients)?
  • Level of service (a first draft translation for starting an internal review process or front-to-end publishing support)?
  • Existing established terminology?
  • Existing house style guide?
  • Is the document static or undergoing revisions?
  • Original and deliverable file formats?
  • Access to subject matter expert if questions arise?
  • Certification and/or notarized signature required?
  • Your deadline for delivery?
  • Your timezone and full contact info (e-mail and phone number)?
Posted on October 3, 2017 and filed under Translation.

Zeitgeist NW -- Modern German culture on offer in Portland

After attending a number of this organization's events over the years, it's been on my list to join (finally) Zeitgeist NW as a business member. DONE! 


This group brings not only prominent Kulturmacher to Portland (Katja Riemann, Armin Mueller-Stahl!) but also pieces of culture that are reflective of the Germany that exists today. Ex-pats can easily lose touch with a home culture as the years wear on.

They don't stop at just the remarkable German Film Festival or the monthly film series, you can also attend a talk on other topics. A recent favorite was the Passivhaus ... the net zero house design where just a tea light or two would be enough to heat the home.

This committed and inclusive group intelligently urges those who have not lived in Germany for years or decades to take a step back and see the changes. And for those new to German culture, they expand the vision beyond Lederhosen and Gartenzwerge. If you are local to Portland, I encourage you to join the organization. 

Posted on June 16, 2017 .

A lakeside retreat ... der Rankenhof

This story is one from the archive. A few years ago we were called to do a translation project that was a bit out of the ordinary.

A former colleague had left the biotech industry behind and was pursuing a dream in the hospitality business. The hard work of readying these quaint cottages was done and marketing had begun in earnest.

Thanks to the client's expertise in marketing, the German website was exquisite. Beautiful images perfectly captured the essence of the environs of Berlin. We could hear the water gently lapping at the dock.

Have a look: http://www.der-rankenhof.de/

Posted on March 15, 2017 and filed under Translation, Websites.

Frontiers for Young Minds

We loved reading about this new publication: a web-based scientific journal for kids and *edited* by kids. The target audience of Frontiers for Young Minds  is children, which allows researchers to reach an even broader audience. What's unique about this publication is that the kids are doing the peer review. We can only imagine that this interaction benefits both researchers, who have to be extremely deliberate in their writing, and children, who are learning how research is actively conducted and published.




Posted on January 28, 2016 and filed under Authoring, Editing.