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Teaching Medical Translation

Press Release No. 1/2009
2 07 2009
International conference for translatologists and medical educators
Under the motto “Bridging the Gap: Medical Curriculum Meets Translation Methodology” Heidelberg University’s School of Translation and Interpreting (SÜD) is just about to embark on the second instalment of the international conference “Teaching Medical Translation” (TMT) first held in 2008. The conference will be taking place on 6-7 July 2009 in the SÜD’s Konferenzsaal II (ground floor) and offers translatologists and medical educators an international and interdisciplinary forum.

After the resounding success of last year’s event the English Department of the School has resolved to extend the collaboration and exchange between representatives of medical science and translation studies on central issues involved in the teaching of these two subjects and the acquisition of medical terminology. “We greatly look forward to bridging the gap between medical science and the humanities,” said conference organisers Dr. Wencke Orbán and Dr. John Stewart yesterday. The programme is broad in scope, with discussion of subjects like recent approaches to re-devising medical education and training courses, specific aspects of medical translation and historical lexicography with specific reference to medicine. One central focus will be problem-based and cooperative approaches in the teaching of translation and medicine at university level.

Keynote speaker is Prof. Dr. Patrick Bankston, director of the Indiana University School of Medicine Northwest (USA). Professor Bankston is a pioneering advocate of new medical curricula geared to problem-based learning (PBL). Other speakers are Prof. Dr. Frank Austermühl, director of the Centre for Translation Studies at Auckland University (New Zealand), Prof. Dr. Jörg Riecke, professor of German linguistics at Heidelberg University’s Department of Germanic Studies and Prof. Dr. Michael Kirschfink, head of the Chemical Immunology Department at the Institute of Immunology and co-initiator of Heidelberg University’s groundbreaking new HEICUMED medical course. All lectures and discussions will be interpreted simultaneously into seven languages.

The conference is an integral part of the eponymous research project “Teaching Medical Translation” (TMT) master-minded by Prof. Dr. Joachim Kornelius, head of the English Department at the School of Translation and Interpreting. The project focuses on strategies for the acquisition of medical terminology by translation and medical students in the context of problem-based learning. In the framework of the project the doctoral dissertation by Dr. Wencke Orbán (“Drawing on Constructivist Learning Theories in Practical Translation Studies: Cooperative Translation as a Communicative and Process-Oriented Strategy for Translators”) has just been published (Wissenschaftlicher Verlag Trier, 2008). For more information about the project go to

The other institutions involved in the conference are the Indiana School of Medicine, USA (Prof. Dr. Patrick Bankston and Prof. Dr. Carl Marfurt) and Heidelberg University’s Institute for the History of Medicine (Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Eckart, director of the course in medicine as a specialist and supplementary subject for students of the SÜD).

The full programme of the conference can be found at

Dr. Wencke Orbán/Dr. John Stewart
School of Translation and Interpreting
Heidelberg University
phone: +49 6221 547287

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Dr. Michael Schwarz
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Irene Thewalt
phone: +49 6221 542311
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