;   Medical Translation Insight: Japanese translators meet in Seattle: a report from IJET-22 - ForeignExchange Translations

Last weekend, I attended the International Japanese-English Translator’s Conference, or IJET. Amazingly, 2011 was the 22nd year that this niche organization of linguists has held the conference and they alternate locations annually, between Japan and an English-speaking country. This year, IJET-22 was appropriately held in the Emerald City of Seattle, which has strong Japanese influence, a large expat population and access to fresh fish for very good sushi.

I attended the conference to listen and learn from linguists, who are obviously at the heart of our work. Topics of presentations ranged from the nuances of the Japanese language to simultaneous interpretation to the use of technology. There was an excellent talk given by a longtime Japanese-to-English linguist, Lee Seaman, about the current trends in medical and pharmaceutical translation. Ms. Seaman cited the rise in combination products that deliver drugs via a device and how linguists must be more vigilant in keeping up their knowledge and skills. She also discussed the increasing use of content management systems within client companies that have the dual effect of raising consistency in language but also disembodying content from context.

Another excellent session was a panel discussion about pharmaceutical translations. Panel members included respected linguists who are experts in medical translations, including one practicing physician who does Japanese to English translation on the side. The panel, in cooperation with the Japanese Association of Translators, is writing a reference guide about the Japanese pharmaceutical industry which is intended to serve as a reference guide for translators. The panel's talk went through the intended sections and gave background on the pharmaceutical industry and its unique regulations.

All in all, IJET-22 was an educational and fascinating experience, and gave a window into the world of ForeignExchange’s fourth largest language and the people who translate it.

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