Language Services: Much More Than Translation

pentopaperOn several occasions, I provided language services to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Office of Border Health (OBH). Among the department’s many activities, OBH coordinates binational conferences. Participating public health professionals present scientific studies and applied knowledge in an effort to improve cross-border collaboration.


OBH contracted me as a bilingual professional with a specialized skill set to produce binational conference proceedings. My task was to produce a comprehensive, yet succinct document summarizing the knowledge produced  during these two- to three-day events.


Information on binational public health was presented in both English and Spanish. Among the topics discussed were epidemiological studies, public health programs, health education, early warning systems, and information technology platforms. Presenters included representatives from U.S. and Mexican border states’ binational health commissions, US-Mexico Border Health Commission, the U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC), Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO), and the World Health Organization (WHO).


My overall tasks entailed bilingual note-taking, technical translation, content curation, writing, and presenting conference proceedings in a clearly organized report format. The deliverables included: (1) full transcription of raw notes taken during each event (approximately 50 pages in length), and (2) the final report, a 15-page document on average, highlighting key concepts and summarizing the knowledge produced in plenary and parallel breakout sessions.


In all, I developed official proceedings for Border Binational Infectious Disease Conferences in 2010, 2011, 2012 and the Border Binational Obesity Prevention Summit in 2013. OBH published in hard copy and digitally distributed these proceedings to health practitioners and policy makers at local, state, national, and international levels.

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