Saturday, 9 June



Anne Murray, Marije de Jager, Emma Goldsmith (moderator: Valerie Matarese), Moderated panel discussion – Invasive species: Language versus subject specialists in biomedical editing and translation


Invasive species are generally perceived as harmful, but can they also be beneficial and are they sometimes necessary? In this session, three language professionals who offer writing support services in medicine and pharmaceutics will talk about their being figurative ‘invasive species’. A former nurse, a generalist translator now specialising in medicine, and a translator now also editing in her non-native language will be interviewed by a biologist-cum-editor and academic writing trainer. All the speakers are members of the Mediterranean Editors & Translators (MET) association.

Translators and editors in biomedicine may have had formal training in language or translation, or may have started out as a practising physician, nurse, or scientific researcher. Whether one educational background is to be preferred over the other is a long-standing dilemma. The panellists will compare notes and share experiences, highlighting the advantages, drawbacks, pitfalls, and joys of working in a field they had to invade before turning it into their stamping ground.

Examples of questions the session will address are:

  • What are the advantages and disadvantages of the different backgrounds?
  • What challenges are faced by language specialists and subject specialists?
  • How steep is the learning curve in each case?
  • Can you learn on the job? What is the value of a mentorship?
  • What do you do when you don’t know? How do you know you don’t know?
  • How does your service portfolio evolve as your knowledge and confidence grow?

Taking into account that translators and editors in many fields other than biomedicine face the same language-versus-subject-specialist dilemma, the focus of this panel will be on education and learning issues rather than on medical specificities.


About the panel

Anne MurrayAnne Murray is a freelance translator, editor and authors’ editor who works mainly in the field of medical research articles. She has a degree in translation from Dublin City University, Ireland, and a foundation certificate in medical writing from the European Medical Writers’ Association. Anne is also currently chair of MET.





Marije de JagerMarije de Jager was born in the Netherlands and received her NL-EN-IT translator’s training at the University of Amsterdam. She studied contemporary dance in London and then moved to Italy, embarking on a freelance career as translator and editor. Her current work is mostly in medical copy-editing and author editing.



EmmaGoldsmith photoEmma Goldsmith originally trained as a registered general nurse at St Thomas’ Hospital in London. She moved to Spain in 1987 and for the following 10 years she worked as a staff nurse through the BNA (British Nursing Agency) during visits to England. This gave her broad experience in a wide range of hospital settings.

Meanwhile, in Madrid, Emma set up as a freelance Spanish-to-English translator, first working for local translation agencies and later — in the internet age — specialising in medicine for global companies and individuals. She now has more than 20 years’ experience in translating clinical-trial documentation, articles for publication in medical journals and product information for EMA submissions. Emma is a member of Mediterranean Editors and Translators (MET) and currently serves as Webmaster on MET’s Council.

Valerie MatareseValerie Matarese is an authors’ editor based in Italy. Born in New York, she trained in biochemistry and molecular biology at US universities and worked in research in the United States and Italy prior to launching a sole proprietorship offering editing in the biomedical sciences, writing, and training in research-article writing. She has recently published a book on the profession of author editing, entitled Editing Research: The author editing approach to providing effective support to writers of research papers. (Information Today, 2016).