Project aimed to professional specialised technical-scientific translators.
Project aimed to professional specialised technical-scientific translators.

ProTECT project is a project aimed to professional — therefore the pro — specialised technical-scientific translators — which makes the TECT in Spanish. It was created to promote the formation of specialised translators and to keep us in contact by Amaia Gómez Goikoetxea, architect and translator with whom I studied at university.

Last Monday she published an interview to me on the ProTECT project’s blog, which you can read, should you understand Spanish. Otherwise, here’s an abridged translation of it:

A: What led you to this unusual combination of chemistry and translation?

Ò: I’ve always been interested in science and languages. I saw them both as natural systems with implicit but inferable rules, just like playing with a code. I first started my degree in chemistry. Later on I had the chance to join translation and interpreting on the third year and I couldn’t miss it.

A: What were your intentions when you finished your studies? How did you get that job revising the chemistry dictionary?

Ò: I wanted to have a part-time job in a lab and free time to work translating or correcting specialised texts. I changed the lab job for teaching English as it provided me with a more predictable timetable. Plus there are lots of scientists, but very few professionals working on their language. I was considered for the revision of the dictionary because of my profile after taking part in the updating of a medical dictionary with the TERMCAT, a Catalan centre of terminology.

A: Tell us about the project, its name, the people, their job, the process…

Ò: The chemistry dictionary was simply and surprisingly called this, but in Catalan: Diccionari de química. Over thirty people must have worked in some stage. There’s the first draft with definitions in Catalan and denominations in Catalan, Spanish and English written by specialists in the area. There’s the thematic revision, in which other experts check the scientific content. And there’s the linguistic revision by the terminologists and a final revision by those in charge of the project. The whole process can take as much as two years at least. This one’s been running for ages because of long delays in the thematic revision and because the authors, university professors, were too busy thanks to the wonderful management of resources in this country. There was no rush. Then a guy appeared. He was eager to work, looked reliable and was both a scientist and a linguist, as well as good-looking. So they trusted the thematic and linguistic revisions to me at the end of 2011.

A: You told me once that the project is now suspended because of budget reasons. What’s going to happen to the dictionary?

Ò: The TERMCAT is a public organism with lots of projects and a shrinking budget and this one is not a priority even for its busy authors. Now we’re waiting for a government capable of a better management or a wealthy patron to show up. There’s about a year of work left and we hope to finish the project as soon as there’s some money. I’m not aware of any plans to cancel it.

A: What’s the current situation of the team? And what are you going to do next?

Ò: The team was a coordinator of the TERMCAT and me. She’s working on other dictionaries and I’m using this time for a well deserved rest, experimenting online formation and doing those things we “never have the time” to do. I’m considering some master on specialised translation or writing a best-seller and live off royalties. I don’t really know. I tend to improvise; but I want to keep studying the scientific language.

A: Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Ò: I’d tell you about Doctor Who and Downton Abbey, but they don’t seem to fit the subject, unfortunately.

A: Thanks a lot, Òscar. That’s been interesting — and funny. Take care.

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