Jacek Sierakowski is a medical writer, translator and a journalist. He’s one of Translators without Borders’ top contributors with more than 160,000 words donated in the English -> French language pair.
Hi Jacek! Tell us a bit about yourself and what made you volunteer for Translators without Borders (TWB)?
I grew up in Africa. Later, as a medical student, I was an intern in an African hospital, in a remote bush area. I realized how local people desperately needed help. And I was not even in a war zone. I intended to come back later as a doctor, either in a governmental or a non-governmental context. Life had other plans for me.
Later on, for various reasons, I slowly switched medical practice for medical writing and translating. And it naturally brought me to TWB, as a way of achieving my earlier goal of volunteering in developing countries.
I enjoy translating for TWB. I feel useful, bringing my little contribution to good causes.
The deadlines are usually comfortable, with the understandable exceptions of crisis situations, and the clients thank me. It reminds me of the good old days when I started translating, in another millennium. We did not have CAT tools or internet, not even computers! But the relationships with the clients were human and respectful, and the rhythms slower.
Any particular memorable TWB project?
I am particularly touched by the stories of the field volunteers. I also like translating texts about obstetrics, it was my favorite part of my African medical experience.
What challenges, if any, are you facing or did you face as a Translator without Borders?
The internal abbreviations, acronyms and references are sometimes challenging. And the authors are not always able to explain them, being on a mission somewhere around the world without email connection.
What do you enjoy doing to take a break from translation?
I try to compensate the long computer hours by physical exercise: running, bicycling, Nordic walking, yoga. Or by taking care of the roses in my little garden.