June 2003 Bulletin

JAAOS translation business thriving

Read AAOS journal in Spanish, Portuguese, Turkish, Italian, and, oh yeah. . .English

By Carolyn Rogers

As recently as December 2001, international orthopaedic surgeons who wished to read the Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (JAAOS) were out of luck if they weren’t proficient in either English or Italian.

In just the past 18 months, however, the Journal’s international readership numbers have soared, thanks to agreements with overseas companies that have made JAAOS available in Spanish, Turkish and, later this summer, Portuguese.

Why the sudden international interest?

Until recently, JAAOS had been a "tough sell" overseas, admits Marisa McCarren, manager of international programs. "The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery has a long-standing reputation with internationals. It’s been difficult for JAAOS to break through."

That resistance seems to be softening, however, in part because of the Academy’s growing international activities, which have raised the profile of AAOS internationally and enhanced its already strong reputation.

"The Academy has such a great reputation in general," McCarren says. "Now companies are beginning to recognize that JAAOS is a high-quality journal, and that people want to read it. So it’s picked up momentum."

In fact, the initial contact for some of the agreements was made not by McCarren, but by interested international partners. It’s also notable that some of the companies she approached with the idea three years ago now seem to regret having turned her down.

"Now they’re asking us to keep them in mind if we become unhappy with our current publishers," she says.

Italian edition/Edizione Italiana

The first JAAOS translation agreement was made nearly eight years ago, with Centro Scientifico Editore, a large publisher of medical texts based in Torino, Italy. Through this agreement, five or six JAAOS articles have been handpicked each quarter for translation into Italian. These articles make up the Italian version of JAAOS, which is published four times a year, with a print run of 5,000 copies.

The Italian pharmaceutical company Sanofi~Synthelabo sponsors both the print and online version of the Italian JAAOS.

All the partners involved have been "very happy" with the agreement, McCarren reports.

Spanish edition/ Edicion en Espanol

JAAOS translation activity began to pick up again in mid-2001, when AAOS reached an agreement with a Spanish medical publisher to translate every issue of JAAOS—in its entirety—into Spanish.

Medicina STM Editores, based in Barcelona, Spain, publishes the Journal, which is sold by subscription. Available in Spain and several other Spanish-speaking countries, the Journal offers readers a choice between a print/online subscription and an online-only subscription.

As of December 2002—the end of its first year in publication—the Spanish version of JAAOS had 770 subscribers.

"Those are good numbers for the first year," McCarren says. "Especially when you factor in the financial crises that many of these countries are suffering and the difficult financial positions of orthopaedic surgeons there. We think this is a good outcome for its first year."

Turkish JAAOS

The momentum continued into late 2002, when an agreement was signed with Turkish publisher, ACT Medikal, to translate every issue of JAAOS—in its entirety—into Turkish.

The first edition of the Turkish Journal, which is sponsored by Pfizer, debuted in January/February 2003, with a print run of 1,300.

Up next: Portuguese

At press time, the AAOS had just signed an agreement with Pharmapress—a publisher based in Sao Paulo, Brazil—to translate JAAOS into Portuguese. Four or five articles from each issue of JAAOS will be translated into Portuguese in their entirety, and the remaining articles will be translated in abstract form.

"We’re really excited about this agreement," McCarren says. "Not only because we have very good relations with the Brazilian Orthopaedic Society, but because there are between 8,000 and 9,000 orthopaedic surgeons in Brazil, so there’s a large audience to reach."

The Portuguese version of JAAOS will have a print run of 5,000 copies, and will be sold by subscription. In order to promote interest in the journal, free copies of the first three or four editions will be sent to members of the Brazilian Orthopaedic Society.

The first Portuguese issue of the journal is expected to be in print by July/August 2003.

JAAOS/China agreement

Although no translation is involved, there’s one more international JAAOS development to report. Late in 2002, the Academy made an arrangement with a publisher in mainland China to reprint and disseminate a small number of English-language subscriptions of JAAOS.

"It’s a small agreement," McCarren says, "but it’s a big accomplishment. China’s a very tough market to enter. Now we have a small presence there, and we hope to grow that business in the future."

Translation/review process

All of the JAAOS translation agreements require the publisher to translate the journal articles into the native language. The translated copy then is reviewed by an editorial board, which includes members of that nation’s orthopaedic society.

"We personally know the doctors who are serving as managing editors for the publications in these counties," McCarren says. "They’re excellent professionals."

All of the publications have the backing of that country’s orthopaedic association. In addition to participating on the editorial boards, the societies have sent letters to members endorsing the journal and taken other steps to promote the product.

AAOS benefits

In addition to furthering its educational mission, the Academy benefits from the agreements in several other ways.

For one, all of the publishing agreements contain a clause that entitles the Academy to two pages of advertising in every issue, at no cost.

"Depending on their production schedule, we may include ads promoting the Annual Meeting, the English version of JAAOS, international membership in the Academy or Orthopaedic Knowledge Online," McCarren says.

Also, when the publications are sold by subscription, as the Spanish JAAOS is, the Academy receives royalties on any article reprints, as well as a percentage of any advertising sales.

As an added benefit, AAOS receives abstract of all the translations for free and is allowed to post the translated articles on its Web site.

Thousands of new JAAOS readers

As a result of all these activities, JAAOS is now read—in translated form—by more than 10,000 orthopaedic surgeons worldwide.

JAAOS Editor-in-Chief Alan M. Levine, MD, and others at the Journal are very pleased with the developments, McCarren reports. "We’ve been in constant contact with them throughout this process. They’re very excited to have the title available to so many new doctors in these countries."

This flurry of translation activity has helped international sales of the English version of JAAOS as well, which now counts 830 paid international subscriptions (outside the United States and Canada) among its total 1,740 paid subscribers. The English-language edition of JAAOS has a total circulation of 29,000.

Translations a "gift"

All of the JAAOS translation efforts have focused on regions where English speaking and reading skills are very limited McCarren says, or in places where industry is open to sponsoring AAOS products.

"A very small percentage of orthopaedic surgeons in these countries have good English speaking and reading skills, so making the Journal available in their native language is very helpful to them, a real gift," she adds.

McCarren plans to continue to pursue new business internationally. Although her efforts currently are focused on Japan, "We’re open to anything else that might come up in the meantime," she says.


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