Click on the links below for projects sorted in various ways:
Selected nonfiction publications I’ve worked on as an author, translation editor, editor, and proofreader
Selected literary work as translator, translation editor, editor, and proofreader
Conferences, courses, and webinars attended
Where does the time go? This year has been particularly busy, editing-wise, and that’s one reason for the lack of updates. I’ve had my hands on three big MACPAC publications, the March and June reports to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP and the agency’s internal style guide, all 100+ page documents. I’m currently editing the annual data book, MACStats, a set of about 50 tables and figures that compile national and state-by-state data on enrollment, spending, eligibility, and other trends in Medicaid and CHIP.
Another editing project was helping a prominent Israeli health economist with his op-ed essay on the occasion of the (first) Republican effort this summer to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. It was published in the Jerusalem Post: http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Obamacare-is-not-the-best-deal-for-America-but-Trumpcare-would-be-worse-501456.
I also continued translating transcribed interviews with women from Bosnia, survivors of systematic rape during the 1992–1995 war, who became activists and advocates for other survivors of sexual abuse. These interviews are the spine of the documentary film (in production), Persephone Speaks: The Forgotten Women of Bosnia, by Ivana Ivkovic Kelley.
On the literary front, I wrote my first book review, and it was quite a project (clocking in at 27 pages before editing), an anthology of 10 translated plays, old and new classics of the Serbian stage. The review will appear in the fall 2017 issue of The Mercurian, a journal of the UNC Department of Dramatic Art focusing on theater translation. My approach was to read each play in English translation, noting my reactions and marking unclear or awkward passages, then reading the original to compare my impressions of each. Reading 20 plays took a little longer than I anticipated…. I expect it to appear on this page once published: https://the-mercurian.com/category/reviews/.
And finally (finally!) a story I submitted to the St. Petersburg Review in December 2015 is about to be published in SPR 8 (fall 2017). It is “Dignitassssss” by Ilija Đurović, from his book of short stories, Oni to tako divno rade u velikim ljubavnim romanima (Podgorica, Montenegro: Žuta kornjača, 2014). This is my second translation from this book to be published since my last update (see https://dbaplanb.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/finalist/).
I spent October translating and getting ready for the 57th annual ATA conference in San Francisco. (As I write this, I am slowly shutting down my office equipment, checking my list and checking it twice, because I’m leaving way too early in the morning.)
I started a new page on this blog called “Aktuelnost,” where I will link to my own translations here and elsewhere that concern current events. This was prompted by two Facebook posts that I felt needed to be read more widely. They were written by everyday citizens Sarajevo, friends of friends, who let me translate and post their stories (here and here). Now I see that both of them have continued to write and Eldin has even started a blog. He calls it “Diagnosis: War” (in Bosnian).
Two accomplishments already this month — one in translation and the other in editing.
I made my U.S. literary print debut in Copper Nickel (fall 2016, no. 23), the literary journal of the University of Colorado Denver. My translation of three short stories by the Bosnian artist Shoba appear in this issue.
On the editing front, a researcher I work with just received an NSF award in the Partnerships for Innovation: Building Innovation Capacity (PFI:BIC) family of grants. The project will develop a “smart” dental device, something that can be used to clean teeth, to track and prompt users to improve oral hygiene between dentist visits, and to allow dental clinicials to predict caries and intervene before cavities develop. The full description is available here.
What does a grant editor do? I think we all approach the task differently, and it definitely depends on the needs of the researchers or grant writers. My focus here, in addition to copyediting for sense and consistency, was on streamlining the narrative to fit in the page limits and enforcing adherence to the “rules” of the grant — what information goes where and who the audience is for each section (NSF asks you to write your own press release at a certain stage of the process). I’m also good at asking stupid questions, which indicates to the writers that they need to “unpack” the technical terms for the sake of the peer reviewers and the general public.
What a thrill to be involved in such a worthy project!
This has been a month of reflection and tough truths. There is a stereotype of translators, editors, and proofreaders slaving away alone at our desks, in our PJs, cut off from the real world. But sometimes our work brings us in very close contact with reality in far-flung places. We are sometimes the voices of people who would not be heard from otherwise.
My translation of an interview with Serbian author Dragoslava Barzut was published in Words without Borders. Read about it here and then read the interview.
I also had the priviledge of translating interviews for a documentary film (in progress), Persephone Speaks: The Forgotten Women of Bosnia. The film is about the use of rape as a weapon of war, specifically the rape of Bosniak women in eastern Bosnia. It was an intense couple of weeks, because I began working on the translation on the day commemorating the 21st anniversary of the fall of the UN-designated “safe area” of Srebrenica. In a matter of days in July 1995, at least 7,000 people — mostly men and boys — were killed and 25,000 were forcibly removed from their homes.
Gosh, it’s been a while! It’s been a busy and eventful year. I’m planning on slowing down the pace over the summer, so I hope to have time to fill in this 12-month gap.
April 2016: Presented at the 20th Biennial Conference on Balkan and South Slavic Linguistics, Literature and Folklore, hosted by the L2TREC (Second Language Teaching and Resource Center) of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. I wrote about my presentation in progress here.
March 2016: Participated in the amazing effort to put the collection of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Zemaljski muzej) online. I worked with Akcija Sarajevo to proofread (and edit a little) a translation of (almost) the entire website — 106 pages.
February 2016: Attended AcademyHealth’s National Health Policy Conference in Washington, DC.
June-July 2015: A long-overdue trip to Bosnia and Herzegovina and a first visit to Montenegro to attend the Odakle zovem short story festival.
My U.S. literary debut! A poem I translated was published in the June 2015 issue of Words without Borders: http://wordswithoutborders.org/article/the-death-of-my-parents-in-the-village
I’ve done a lot since January, so I’ll just mention a few highlights in the hopes of being able to discuss them properly in a blog post at some point. I have two beginnings and two endings to report.
The beginnings are two collaborations, one literary and the other medical. I’ve begun translating the plays of a Montenegrin playwright, Ljubomir Đurković. (I wrote a brief blog post about our whirlwind grant-writing romance, here.) He’s written a trilogy of plays, which he calls The Greeks.
These are an I started to write that these are an updating of a number of Greek myths, but it’s not so much an updating as a retelling of the classic stories (Medea, Oedipus, Narcissus, Cassandra . . .) with a fresh spin. And the genius of his writing is that the plays “play” modern. It’s one thing to read a classic and imagine yourself transported to an earlier time, but what he does is re-situate the characters and plotlines and themes such that we don’t have to go anywhere — the stories come to us. And they can get uncomfortably close at times. ;v)
I’ve also begun working with an old, old friend. We were Junior Naturalists together as teenagers, that’s how old. He’s now a brilliant researcher and director of the Human Photonics Lab at the University of Washington-Seattle. We reconnected over lunch at the Charcoal Pit a couple of years ago, and since then have been talking about working together to put my editing expertise to use on his grant applications. We just finished our first project together, and I’m looking forward to more.
The endings are exciting, too, but not without mixed feelings. I’ve been working with Svetolik Paul Djordjević on his Serbian and Croatian–English Medical Dictionaries since 2003. This summer we concluded our collaboration with the publication of his English into Serbian Medical Dictionary. Twelve years is a long time! Paul and I have become good friends and so, although I am happy that the dictionaries are published and that I have more time for other projects, I miss the back and forth that I enjoyed while working with him. Read more in my blog post End of an Era.
The other ending brings us around full circle to play translation. I’ve been pretty active in the American Translators Association for the past few years. Aside from grading in the Certification Program, which I’ve done since 2004, I started co-moderating the ATA Business Practices list at the end of 2011, then I was asked to serve on the Mentoring Committee, and then asked to step up to chair of the Business Practices Education Committee. I enjoyed all of it, especially the commeraderie with my co-moderator and co-committee members, but when I started translating Medea (see above), I began to wish I had more time and fewer responsibilities. So I decided to step down from the Mentoring and Business Practices Education committees and from moderating the discussion list. Again, I have mixed feelings about it. I’ve gotten to know some wonderful people whom I now consider friends. We’ll inevitably have less contact with each other and I’ll miss hearing about their lives and the day-to-day back-channel banter. But having more time for literary translation projects — and, on a more practical level, for paying work — eliminates any second thoughts.
Well, it’s been a while since I checked in. My most noticeable accomplishments in the past few months are a partial update of my main website (www.dbaPlanB.com) and a more thorough update of this one.
I attended the ATA conference in San Antonio — that was at the beginning of November. I engaged in the usual end-of-year number-crunching and navel-gazing, resulting in some business resolutions for 2014. One of these is to pursue literary projects more seriously. Lots of reasons for this; one day I’ll lay them out for you.
And I had fun going through old photos and tape recordings (remember those?) to find inspiration for my EOY 2013 holiday card. Although in hindsight, I think it works better as a morning-after-the-holiday card.
As far as work-work goes, I learned that a few of the articles I edited over the summer were accepted and published in the authors’ journals of choice. Otherwise, plugging along with medical translation and interactive voice-response system (IVRS) telephone prompt recording. That’s a mouthful, but not as bad as what I have to say when recording those prompts! Try saying “digit” three times fast!
Summer has been busy — lots of editing work for professors and their students in the health policy area and a fair amount of translation for clinical trials.
I finally finished an article I started writing two years ago. It was published in the October issue of Translation Journal, an online publication. (Available here.)
And I upgraded my office — faster and more voluminous desktop computer, new 24″ monitor, new mic and pop filter for voice-over recording, new A/V cart for the repurposed old computer (now the dedicated A/V computer), and a new chair. The chair has made the biggest impression — no more slouching, no more neck aches.
The upgrade is still in progress as I write this (9 October). It’s quite a chore loading programs into a new computer and tweaking settings. But I like the hands-on method — it allows me to familiarize myself with the inner workings of Windows and Office.
The big news for June is vacation! I took practically the whole month off. Not that I haven’t been working. This has been something of a work retreat for me, time off in different surroundings to reflect and plan.
From March through May I attended a few more MOOCs (in behavioral economics, statistics, and healthcare policy). I became a mentor in ATA’s Mentoring Program. I attended a grader training seminar as required by the ATA Certification Program (I’m a Croatian into English grader). While in the DC-area for that seminar, I visited clients in Bethesda, including a visit to the National Institutes of Health library translation office.
And I edited, translated, and proofread.
According to one editing client, “I am half way [through] reading it and you did a great job!!!”
This has been a good month for making progress on some ongoing and long-term projects.
→ I’ve been working on this blog (behind the scenes) and on my website (still!).
→ I’m slowly “walking” through Svetolik Paul Djordjević’s English into Serbian Medical Dictionary. I say walking because this round requires a look at each entry for alphabetical order, duplications, formatting of entries, English spelling, and Serbian equivalents. I also check that we don’t have circular references or dead-end references (referring to a non-existent entry). It’s slow-going, but wow, am I good at those medical and Latin questions on Jeopardy!
→ I’m keeping up with weekly lectures on Coursera (see January) — this course is literally “food for thought.”
→ The ATA Mentoring Committee is preparing for the end of the 2012 mentoring class and receiving applications for the 2013 class, which starts at the beginning of April. The ATA Business Practices Education Committee also has a few irons in the fire — again, behind the scenes. We’re always discussing ways to disseminate information that will be useful to translators and interpreters — experienced and novice alike.
→ I volunteered to test-drive the upcoming edition of the Editorial Freelancers Association publication Making Word Work for You, which author Hilary Powers is updating for Word 2010. That involved reading the text carefully and following her instructions for changing general settings, creating keyboard shortcuts, and recording and editing macros and reporting back about unclear instructions or actual functional glitches. I can already recommend this book highly and it’s not even finished! I’ll let you know when it’s available.
Began a new Coursera course, An Introduction to the U.S. Food System, taught by Robert S. Lawrence and Keeve Nachman at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. What an eye-opener!
Co-presented a webinar about the Mentoring Program of the American Translators Association (I’m on the Mentoring Committee). It went well! We had 81 attendees. The webinar is available (free) at http://www.atanet.org/webinars/ataWebinar121_mentoring.php, and the handout is available at the same page. The handout targets novice translators and interpreters interested in the mentoring program, but we tried to include resources that might be new even to experienced linguists.
I’m *still* updating my website. I have a new home page, new About and CV pages, and an updated Writing Samples page, and I’m almost ready to post new Translation pages.
I completed “with distinction” (ranking of 99.3%) a Stanford University course through Coursera, Writing in the Sciences.
Take the ranking with a grain of salt (but only a grain) — this is an experimental platform (MOOC, heard of it?) and our writing assignments were peer reviewed. For perspective, we were told, “We had 3284 students earn a certificate, including 1426 who earned a certificate with distinction (score>=90%).”
I started a garden/photo journal. Read about my backyard (and front yard and side yard) gardening exploits at http://dbaplanbpix.wordpress.com. Photos, questionable gardening advice, and occasional musical accompaniment courtesy of You Tube and the Free Music Archive.
I earned ATA Certification! I can now add the “CT” designation after my name — Certified Translator, Croatian into English.