Five years (and 7 months) of Signs & Symptoms of Translation

As 2017 draws to an end, here’s a belated post to mark five years, going on six, since my first blog post back in May 2012. WordPress usually announces bloggers’ year-end statistics, but before it does, here are some of my own reflections after digging around for the figures. To round off the post, I’ve added a link to a pdf with some of my favourite posts over the years.

Medical translation

My first post was A translator’s guide to the EMA templates. Little did I know back then that the post would be viewed over 10,000 times in the next five years, and that the subject would become my flagship topic, leading to webinars, talks and a 25-page handbook. The original post was a simple sketch, a springboard to build my interest and knowledge. This, in fact, is the beauty of blogging: to learn more about a subject as you write and investigate, and to share that knowledge with a readership that has a similarly voracious appetite for learning.


Signs & Symptoms of Translation has a narrow readership: translators. More specifically, those who use SDL Trados Studio and/or those who work in medical translation. Despite this, more than 1,000 translators are subscribed to my blog, which is a worrying number if most are interested only in one of my two subjects. I wonder how many readers are in the same boat as me, and use SDL Trados Studio for Spanish to English medical translations?

SDL Trados Studio

On the subject of SDL Trados Studio, Signs & Symptoms of Translation has clearly achieved its goal. I can now give a link rather than a long explanation to people on forums who are looking for a zoom button or need to locate a quick shortcut. Almost 36,000 people have read the Basic Trados Shortcuts post – just imagine how many clicks I’ve saved translators since it was published in August 2013! Again, the value of blogging is twofold: sharing my knowledge with other translators, while having to up my game as I write. Without a doubt, blogging about Studio has furthered my knowledge and increased my efficiency.

The Periphery

At the other end of the popularity scale, some highly specialised posts have been read and shared by far fewer people – just 450 in the case of a post on three Spanish abbreviations in clinical trials. Some of these “unpopular” posts, however, are the very ones where I learn most.

Peripheral subjects, unrelated to Studio or medicine, do of course make appearances on the blog. My passion for keyboards has an inevitable presence, as do conferences and other tools.

Returning to popular posts, I’m always surprised that my personal account of the DipTrans and MITI exams receives so many visits (over 11,000 to date), despite being buried in that oxymoron of all categories: “uncategorised”.


All this talk of translators begs the question, why blog for peers? Shouldn’t we blog to reach potential clients? The answer is simple: clients do drop in on Signs & Symptoms of Translation. Sometimes they arrive through Google or my website; sometimes I refer them to my blog in an email. Of the half a million views in the past five years, perhaps just a hundred were clients, but they’re worth their weight in gold!

The pdf

I’ve compiled a selection of the most popular posts – and a few of my favourites – published over the past five years in Signs & Symptoms of Translation. I printed it out in October for the METM17 display area in Brescia, where attendees were encouraged to show and share their work.

To view the pdf online or download it, click the image on the left.


A very happy 2018 to everyone!

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17 Responses to Five years (and 7 months) of Signs & Symptoms of Translation

  1. sierramar says:

    Thank you for all your hard work :-). I have read a lot of your blog posts and I always learn something or I am reminded of something that comes in useful and one point or another in medical translation. Have an excellent change of year :-).

  2. Eileen Cartoon says:

    I would really like to thank you Emma. You are really one of the most generous Bloggers and I really look forward to reading your blogs. I always learn something new. Not always applicable to my own work but still it seems to expand my horizons and helps me remain open to other things that may show up at my door (things that, if I hadn’t read your blog, I wouldn’t have considered at all. As the year is drawing to an end I would just like to say Thank You.
    Eileen Cartoon

    • You’re welcome, Eileen. I guess it’s a bit like going to a conference, then. Sometimes the most unlikely-sounding presentations turn out to be the most interesting!

  3. Paz Gómez Polledo says:

    Hola, Emma:
    No me extraña que tu blog haya tenido tantas visitas y que despierte interés desde hace tantos años, porque es magnífico. Gracias por compartir tu sabiduría y por el tiempo que le dedicas.
    Paz Gómez Polledo

  4. felisahampe says:

    Dear Emma, Congratulations on your almost 6 years of a very useful and entertaining blog! I do really appreciate your effort and want to thank you because your articles have enriched my experience as a full time freelance translator.Thank you for sharing your very valuable experience with us. Please keep on doing so. You have save me more than once, when I was in trouble with a translation at the last minute before delivery and something went wrong. All your tips are easy to understand and very helpful. I do also want to use this opportunity to wish you a Happy New Year. I am looking forward to continue enriching my practical experience with your articles.Thank you again!Best regards from Mexico Felisa Hampe ​

  5. Thank you Emma! I always enjoy reading your blogs, there is always something more to learn. Wish you a Healthy and Happy 2018, and look forward to many more interesting blogs…

  6. EP says:

    Congratulations! I know how that is, too. You blink your eyes once or twice and five years+ have passed. All the best for the future und einen guten Rutsch!

  7. Thank you and congrats Emma on writing such a successful job for us all to benefit from! Your excellent EMA webinar will receive a well deserved plug (shhh don’t tell anyone :-)) during Sarah Henter’s talk on working in the field of clincal trials in the specialisation track at ELIA2018 next month in Athens. Keep up the stirling work!

  8. Reed James says:

    I’m not a medical translator, nor do I use SDLTrados. I just like learning new things in case they come in handy later. You write very well, Emma.

  9. Congratulations on your almost 6 years of a very useful and entertaining blog! I do really appreciate your effort and want to thank you because your articles have enriched our experience as a full time freelance translator.

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