End of an era

Endings are bittersweet.

I’ve been working with Svetolik Paul Djordjević as an editor and proofreader on his Serbian and Croatian–English Medical Dictionaries since 2003. This summer we closed out the project with the publication of his English into Serbian Medical Dictionary. Twelve years is a long time! In that time we both moved — me a half-mile down the road, Paul across country. I got a paralegal certificate. Paul retired. Wars started and ended — and started up again. The economy tanked. In the US we elected our first black president. (Not necessarily in this order.) And Paul and I met every year at the ATA conference.

Through the introductory pleasantries and sign-offs of the myriad e-mails about definitions and cross references and formatting, Paul and I gradually got to know each other. We have become good friends and so, although I am happy that the dictionaries are published (I’ve learned never to say “done” when speaking about a dictionary), I already miss the back and forth that we enjoyed while working on them.

We can, and do, still write each other. But the vibe when you’re revealing just a little at a time through a steady stream of messages is different from that of weekly updates. Younger readers will of course be saying “Duh, Paula, that’s text messaging.” But it’s not. Because the point of our messages was the work we were doing. The personal conversation was extra, a bonus. The prize inside.

Read Paul’s Member Spotlight in the Fall 2014 Caduceus, the newsletter of the ATA Medical Division, and you’ll get a sense of why I miss our daily exchanges.

More links:
Cheryl Fain, a long-time colleague of his, wrote a tribute to Paul for the same issue of Caduceus. I wrote one too.

The latest issue of the SlavFile, the newsletter of the ATA Slavic Languages Division, has an interview with Paul about his English into Serbian Medical Dictionary published on CD in July: http://atasld.org/sites/atasld.org/files/slavfile/fall-2014.pdf
The article is on page 20, accompanied by a list of about a hundred English into Serbian entries from a dozen or so letters.

More information about all Paul’s dictionaries, as well as sample entries, articles, and ordering information, can be found on his website, http://www.jordanapublishing.com. Here is his bibliography:
Serbian and Croatian–English Medical Dictionary (59,500 terms)
English–Serbian Medical Dictionary (over 58,000 terms)
French–English Dictionary of Medicine (119,000 terms)
French–English Dictionary of Medical Abbreviations, Acronyms & Eponyms (over 29,000 terms)
French–English Dictionary of Social Security Terms (over 9,000 terms)

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