P is for Praise

serbengIf you’ve ever been praised by a colleague, teacher, mentor, or friend, you’ll understand how I feel about this message I got last night from my colleague, teacher, mentor, and friend, Svetolik Paul Djordjević.

Hi, Paula,

I finished the batch (A to E) last Thursday. All I can say is that you were born to be an editor and proofreader. It’s absolutely incredible to me how you could do it. Yes, you yourself goofed a few times (typos and word order — very obvious things), just enough to show that even you cannot be perfect. But again, I am amazed at the quality of work you produce. To repeat myself, it’s absolutely incredible! There is nobody that I know (or have known) who is as thorough and exact in this particular field as you are. I am simply stunned.

If you are finished with the second bunch of letters, please send it to me.

We are working on his English into Serbian medical dictionary, which so far has 52,929 entries (counted by number of line breaks), and that will increase as I work on P through Z. Paul compiled the dictionary and I’m editing and proofreading. We’ve been working together now for about 11 years.

In late 2002, I begged him to let me help with his Serbian and Croatian into English Medical Dictionary as soon as I got wind of it. After some months of hesitation (he probably thought I was nuts), he agreed, and we met in the parking lot of a chain restaurant off I-95 between Baltimore and Wilmington, where he handed me a printout of the dictionary. I had nothing for him, but it felt like a ransom exchange, briefcase and all! He assured me we would be done inside of six months (the dictionary was published in December 2009).

Our initial working method involved Paul dictating changes to me over the phone during his lunch hour from the translation department of the Social Security Administration. I had questions about every single entry. Now our methods are more streamlined, and I ask a lot fewer questions. Over the years we’ve had occasion to discuss medical terms in many contexts, some unfortunately on a very personal level. Our conversations also touch on philosophy, religion, politics, and history. Nor’easters and the Santa Ana winds.

Thank you, Paul — it has been and continues to be an honor and a pleasure.

The Serbian and Croatian into English Medical Dictionary, revised 2nd edition, is now available on CD. Print editions (with errata) are also available at a reduced price. See http://www.jordanapublishing.com.

Below are two pages of Paul’s working notes, which I used in the slide deck of the ATA presentation he gave about the dictionary in 2005:

Working document -- pelvis terms

Working document — pelvis terms

Taber's, Stedman's, Dorland's

Taber’s, Stedman’s, Dorland’s

And in case you were wondering, the English into Serbian volume should be ready in about . . . six months.

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