As we mentioned in our previous post, the English language is now the universal language of science. It is common for many professionals to use specialist international journals and magazines, which are normally written in English, as a platform from which to publicise their projects, their latest research, any findings, or any other information worthy of being published.
For this reason, the National Committee for the Assessment of Research Activities (Comisión Nacional Evaluadora de la Actividad Investigadora – CNEAI) – which is responsible for the assessment of the research activities of academic staff at universities – awards points for any articles that have been translated into a foreign language relevant to the scientific community, or that have been reviewed or published in specialist scientific journals.
In many fields, such as those of medicine or biomedicine, healthcare professionals need to continuously consult medical journals. These publications provide both a trustworthy source of information regarding recent research, new technologies, etc., and also up-to-date information, which means their readers are able to keep abreast with current advances and best practice procedures in their field.
Specialist journals and magazines also provide professionals with a publicity spot, a figurative shop window, from which service providers, pharmaceutical companies, I.T companies, or consultants can market themselves. These prestigious publications enable these advertisers to perform a targeted campaign in specialist professional fields.
Those publications that have the greatest impact normally publish their articles, or at least their bibliographies, in English. Some may publish articles in other languages, but these tend to be of little relevance to the research community.
The scientific research being carried out today is done so within a global framework. For this reason, it is essential to the success of the international research community that any articles are published in the language that is considered by all to be the most universal language – in this case, English. The motive for using English is that around 400 million people are native English speakers, and many millions more use English as their second language. As such, there are significant benefits to be gained from publishing articles in English in these specialist publications: getting published in this language will enable authors to reach much larger audiences, far beyond the millions we previously mention, because many scientists and researchers are capable of reading specialist articles from their field in English; in addition to this, these successfully published articles may then be translated into other languages at a later date. For these reasons, it is possible to conclude that any publications that are not in English might be at risk of being ignored because the language is not relevant to the scientific community at large.
One of the most well-known specialist publications is the magazine Nature. Many scientists and researchers from all across the globe read it, and it regularly publishes: articles relating to research from a diverse number of scientific fields; news items; articles that offer a window onto the international scientific community at large; and book reviews. Due to the prestigious nature of this publication, many of the articles that they publish are endowed with such relevance to modern society that they are often cited in the mainstream media.
To guarantee that any published article meets with their strict quality control guidelines, the publishers of specialist journals and magazines will often carry out a peer-review editing process and will assess the quality of the research that is being presented and the references being cited.
Another important aspect affecting the chances of being successfully published in one of these specialist publications is whether or not the article is perceived to be of “high impact” or not. It is essential then that certain criteria are met, these include the translating the abstract, the title, the key words, etc.
What we can conclude from this is that a good translation, produced by a professional who is an expert in the field in question, is of significant importance. In fact, the quality of the translated document is so important that organisations such as the Spanish Universities Editorial Union (Unión de Editoriales Universitarias Españolas – UNE) holds award ceremonies to raise the profile of university publications, and to demonstrate the importance of such translations and their quality to the scientific community. As you might expect, one of the awards is for ‘Best Translation’. This year the prize was awarded to Robert Boyle from University Jaume I in Castellón, Valencia.