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Translating Dermatology Online Journal into Portuguese: a team effort

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Translating Dermatology Online Journal into Portuguese: a team effort
George Leal
Dermatology Online Journal 4(1): 11

For me, it all started at the 1995 Washington, D.C. meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology. From my place at back the room, I wondered how many dermatologists at the computer sessions knew what the strange sequence of letters - WWW - meant. Not many, I thought, and I was probably right. Of all the new technology being discussed, it seemed best to concentrate on CD-ROM. Yet, something big, something special was growing and growing...

Back in Brazil, I obtained an Internet connection, and became amazed with a new world passing before my eyes on a flat screen! The Internet proved responsible for making so many nights shorter, but I am pleased to say it was worth it!

While navigating the Internet learning what was available in dermatology, I began to explore the MATRIX (dermatology) server ( There I found the treatment database, RxDerm-L. These extensive files from A to Z offered unprecedented personal observations, new ideas, and gems on the treatment of skin disease. It was a startling discovery! I joined the RxDerm-L discussion and was even more impressed when I recognized that the participants were also authors in standard dermatology textbooks. I shyly risked e-mailing the participants, asking questions about my patients. I marveled at receiving attentive and prompt answers from these colleagues who encouraged me to join the discussion on the List. I did.

Seeing my name as a participant on the List, my colleagues in Brazil and Portugal suggested that we initiate a Portuguese dermatology e-mail list. Realizing that I could manage such a list, Dermlist was initiated in February 1997. Current membership exceeds 120 physicians in 7 countries, and its potential continues to grow.

Dermlist provides an essential communication link for the world of Portuguese dermatologists . When the opportunity arose to translate the electronic Dermatology Online Journal into Portuguese, Dermlist became the vehicle to enlist the participation of others. It was easy to count on the kindness of Drs. Joao Pupo Nogueira and Mauro Siqueira. The first coordinates his residents and trainees into able translators, the latter manages the web site for our group, DERMAPLACE ( It was a team effort, undertaken for pleasure and met with responsibility, that made it possible to translate the journal manuscripts. The result is a first, an unprecedented multilingual journal leading to the universal dissemination and globalization of the literature in a specialty, allowing many to read articles in their own preferred language.

Here is the process. Once the manuscripts of a new issue have passed peer review and are accepted for publication, one or two articles are assigned to each participant of the Portuguese team. The initial translations are overseen by Dr. Pupo who in turn sends me all the material for revision. When completed, the texts are returned to Dr. Arthur Huntley and entered into the HTML (HyperText Markup Language) format of the Journal. All transactions are conducted electronically.

Multilingual translations liberate publication of text, expanding the dimensions and impact of information - a primary goal of Dermatology Online Journal. In unimagined ways, it eliminates numerous physical and cultural barriers, and promotes a true communion of knowledge and integration of experiences. The end result is in no small measure, makes the world better, where mankind can share and benefit from the combined efforts of countless individuals in order to make health and life better for all. Dissemination of knowledge and experiences through easy access in real time to relevant documents has already received comment. Demonstrating the real impact of "global literature," is just a matter of time.

© 1998 Dermatology Online Journal