Austin Area Translators & Interpreters Association


Stupid Interpreter Tricks VIII

tricks-07 “How many here,” bawled out my medical terminology professor, “have any background in health or medicine?” This was one of those huge University of Texas classrooms, and when I looked back and saw that over 200 of the 300-odd students enrolled had their hands upraised, I realized I was done for. At least two dozen of them were actually wearing scrubs or nurse’s uniforms! Luckily for me, technology came galloping to the rescue.


  • Filed under: resources, tips
  • IAEA Safety Glossary

    IAEA Safety Glossary

    The IAEA Safety Glossary defines and explains technical terms used in International Atomic Energy Agency safety standards and other safety-related IAEA publications, and it provides information on their usage.

    PDFs of the 2007 edition are available in five of the agency’s six official languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, and Russian. The Spanish version is still being translated. The English version is monolingual; the others give English equivalents along with same-language definitions.

    Thanks to Hank Phillips for the tip.


  • Filed under: resources
  • The Yellow Beetle: a localization story

    Localization is a crucial element in the process of translation because it involves the precise understanding of meaning. This is obviously a factor when communicating a message from one language to another. But it also comes into play within languages, for example from one region to another. As in this story about a chance encounter.


  • Filed under: diversions
  • Chinese Color Etymologies

    chinese-yellowThe character etymologies and modern associations for the Chinese words for six common colors that are associative compounds are discussed in a recent COLOURLovers article.

    90% of modern Chinese characters are phono-semantic compounds: they are part semantic (a portion of the character, called a radical, provides the general meaning) and part phonetic (the other portion of the character tells you how it is pronounced). The characters for red, green, blue, and purple in Chinese are phono-semantic (all bearing the radical for silk, ?), but a few color characters are associative compounds: two or more ideographic elements combined to create another meaning.

  • Filed under: diversions
  • A helpful word

    Have you ever asked yourself: “If I can postpone something why can’t I prepone it?”

    Well, you definitely can. It’s just that sometimes we are not aware of the word. Prepone is an everyday word in India, where meetings, elections, weddings, movie releases, exams, court cases, and more are preponed all the time:

    prepone (pree-PON) verb tr.
    To reschedule an event to an earlier time.
    [Modeled after the word postpone, from Latin pre- (before) + ponere (to put).]

    This item was published by Those interested in words might like to visit this site and sign up for their word-a-day.

    Blumenthal to speak at ATA SLD Conference

    Michael Blumenthal will speak at the American Translators Association Spanish Language Division Conference, which will be held March 28-30 in Philadelphia. The abstract of his bilingual presentation, titled “The Pancreas: Function and Dysfunction,” follows:

    Homeostasis, the dynamic balance of neurological and chemical processes in the human body, is maintained by constant feedback and regulation involving the brain, nervous tissues, and a great number of glands and organs. One important and essential organ that helps maintain homeostasis that many translators and interpreters do not know much about is the pancreas. Pathological conditions of the pancreas can be chronic or acutely life threatening. The goals of this workshop include: identify the pancreatic anatomical structures with which medical translators and interpreters must be familiar; discuss function and dysfunction of the pancreas including pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis, and diabetes; become familiar with the most common diagnostic and laboratory tests; and provide a useful Spanish<>English glossary of terms.


    The Double-Tongued Dictionary offers the following new term: Growing numbers of Guatemalan and Mexican immigrants are marrying and having U.S.-born children, creating mixed Latino families with ties to three countries at once. The mixture has become so common in Phoenix, some community members have even coined a name “Guatemexicoestadounidenses,” or Guatemexiamericans, to describe the families.

  • Filed under: diversions
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