Using reporting guidelines for biomedical research

Jennifer de Beyer, United Kingdom

This interactive introductory workshop aims to support language professionals working with biomedical researchers to use and recommend reporting guidelines for manuscript preparation.

Reporting guidelines aid research article preparation by providing the minimum information needed for a particular study type. Many journals, particularly in biomedical research, require reporting guideline use and the submission of a completed checklist alongside a manuscript. However,researchers are often unsure how to find and apply the right reporting guideline. Writers, editors, and translators can help to ensure the research articles they work on are compliant.

The workshop will combine short presentations, discussion, and practical exercises, and will be accompanied by a handout. We will focus on reporting guidelines for research involving humans or animals, such as health research, psychology, and veterinary medicine.

Workshop outline:

  • What reporting guidelines are, why they are needed, and how and when they can help.
  • Using reporting guidelines to analyse manuscripts and flow diagrams.
  • Identifying biomedical study designs (exploratory vs confirmatory, descriptive vs analytic, observational vs experimental, qualitative vs quantitative, longitudinal vs cross-sectional).
  • Choosing an appropriate reporting guideline.
  • Translations of reporting guidelines and opportunities to contribute to future translations.
  • Fitting reporting guidelines into the workflow as writers, author editors, journals, and peer reviewers.
  • Dealing with realities: common objections to reporting guidelines and problems encountered by participants.

Learning outcomes:

  1. Understand what reporting guidelines are and how to use them.
  2. Be comfortable identifying a manuscript’s study design, recommending an appropriate reporting guideline, and highlighting missing information to guide the author.

Register here.

About the presenter

Jennifer de Beyer

After training in laboratory research and working in academic editing, Jennifer de Beyer joined the EQUATOR Network’s UK Centre at the Centre for Statistics in Medicine (CSM), University of Oxford. Here she develops online and in-person training in academic writing and using reporting guidelines for clear, transparent research reporting. She also provides editing and writing support for CSM’s team of medical statisticians and methodologists.

The EQUATOR Network is an international initiative dedicated to improving the quality and transparency of health research. It focuses on research reporting, so that future research is based on a sound body of evidence. Through its four centres in the United Kingdom, Canada, France and Australia, EQUATOR raises awareness of reporting guidelines, provides online resources, develops education and training, and conducts research into research quality and transparency.

Ever thought of running a course on scientific writing?

Ann Bless, Switzerland

Young researchers often lack writing skills. Their supervisors or professors tell them ‘you learn by doing’ and this results in their struggling alone. They would profit from a course on scientific writing.

Attendees will come away with a basic lesson plan and guidance on how to approach teaching researchers/PhD students to write a clear and well-structured article or thesis. We will discuss how to write a catchy title, a well-structured and clear abstract and a convincing conclusion. I have chosen these elements because I hear that most scientists first read these sections of the article before deciding whether to read the rest. If required, we could also talk about the introduction and discussion sections.

This will be an interactive workshop. Attendees will be able to ask questions and I shall share with them my years of experience, my mistakes, the scientists' problems I have tried to solve. Their professors are very often too busy or away travelling so they come to me. Some researchers, from non-European cultures, do not dare ask their professors for advice for fear of losing face; they come to me for advice instead. I do not solve all their problems but at least they have a listening ear.

Register here.

About the presenter

Claire Bacon

For more than 30 years Ann Bless has been running courses on scientific writing and giving workshops at various universities in Europe. She has written a book, Reader friendly scientific articles. Be clear, be readable and has co-authored with Lee Ann Weeks The elements of English editing. A guideline to clear writing.

An iPad workout for language professionals*

Alexander Drechsel, Belgium

Have you ever wondered whether your tablet could be used for professional purposes, rather than just for reading, online shopping, or watching movies? Join an experienced conference interpreter and technology trainer and find out how your iPad can help you get things done faster and better – from reading, writing and reviewing documents to managing projects or knocking tasks off your to-do list while on the go.

We’ll start by discussing how language professionals can set up their devices for multilingual use and how it works seamlessly with your existing hardware. Next, we’ll discuss research and writing – from outlining and mind-mapping to finding the information or turn-of-phrase you’re looking for to writing whenever you want, wherever you are.

After that, participants will tackle collaborative writing and editing on a tablet. You’ll learn how to draft and review text with faraway colleagues, wrangle “track changes” in Microsoft Word or Apple Pages, and up your proofreading game by using audio or a stylus.

Finally, we’ll explore tips and apps that will help you to run your business from your tablet, including to-do lists, reminders, invoicing, and more. We’ll also check out some helpful accessories that are the perfect companion for your tablet.

At the end of this workshop, you’ll feel much more confident using your tablet and be inspired to make the most of it for your work.

* This workshop focuses on iPads, but can be adapted to accommodate both iPad and Android tablet users.

Register here.

About the presenter

Claire Bacon

Alexander Drechsel is a senior European Union staff interpreter, working from English, French and Romanian into his native German. He has also translated several non-fiction books, he blogs on interpreting and technology, and produces two podcasts (The Troublesome Terps and LangFM). Alexander is an experienced technology trainer with many online and offline workshops under his belt, and has given several talks and presentations on technology topics at industry conferences (including ITI, CIOL, BDÜ, ATA, AIIC, and eCPD Webinars). His workshops are insightful, fun and friendly; and they focus on the participants, their skills and expectations.

SENSE Terms and Conditions Online Events

  1. SENSE online events are open to members and non-members of SENSE.
  2. SENSE members should log in before registering to obtain the discounted member price. Discounts are also available for members of SENSE’s sister organizations*. The discount code, obtainable from your society, should be entered on the registration page before clicking the ‘Register and pay now’ button. 
  3. If you require an attendance certificate for registering PE points you must make this known at the time of registration.
  4. A place at an online event is guaranteed on receipt of payment in full. 
  5. SENSE reserves the right to cancel events that have insufficient attendees. Those already registered will receive a full refund.
  6. You may cancel your registration to an online event; cancellations received:
    1. prior to two weeks before the event = 100% refund
    2. prior to one week before the event = 50% refund
    3. within three days of the event = no refund** 
  7. Access codes to online events are distributed by mail shortly before the event is due to commence. 
  8. Attendance is at your own risk. SENSE is not liable for any technical problems attendees may experience with the online platform. We recommend you test your webcam and microphone before the online event commences.
  9. We will do everything within our capabilities to send you all the information you require prior to the event. In the unlikely event that you don’t receive an email or the access codes you are expecting, please at contact us at
  10. Please read all emails and delegate information carefully when it arrives and check that the details are correct. We’re human too and we do also (unfortunately) sometimes make mistakes.
  11. If you have any questions regarding a booking you have made or would like to make, please contact us at


** If you are unable to attend an event, you may arrange for someone to take your place. 

The SENSE 2020 Online Conference features an engaging schedule of presentations and short talks aimed at English-language professionals.

The conference will open on Zoom just after lunch on Wednesday 3 June with a welcome. Then, a series of sessions presented by SENSE members and other language professionals from around the globe will fill the afternoon, interspersed with a networking break. The rest of the conference, taking place on the afternoons of Thursday 4 and Friday 5 June, will proceed in a similar way.

Naturally, the nuts and bolts of translation, editing and language will be a common strand running through the programme, but more diverse topics addressing current and developing trends, such as ‘near-peer’ learning, digital nomadism and networking, are also on the cards. There's also a session on Plain English and language interference, plus – for the first time – a panel bringing together experienced SENSE members and young language professionals from Maastricht University to discuss client acquisition.

Let’s not forget the more practical sides of our business either, with a panel presentation on maintaining productivity as a parent of young children on Friday afternoon.

What is more, Brian Mossop, author of the classic Editing and Revising for Translators, now in its fourth edition, will be joining us as a special guest speaker on Wednesday, marking the celebration of SENSE’s 30th anniversary as a society serving language practitioners in the Netherlands.

Click here to register for the online conference

Sponsored by PerfectIt

Translation slam: Cathy Scott and Peter Smethurst 

How can you translate an advertising concept that doesn’t even exist in your own language? What should you do when confronted with an image that means less than zero to your target audience? Is it possible to get dry, technical messages across in clear and catchy English? Could – or should – you attempt to make a silk purse out of what is clearly a sow’s ear?

Join us at this Translation Slam to tackle some of the tricky issues facing translators who work in advertising, marketing and technical documentation, and feel free to contribute your own ingenious suggestions (or cheeky remarks).

About the presenters

Cathy Scott is a British copywriter who has been in the advertising business for almost as long as the Dulux dog.

After working on many consumer, B2B and healthcare accounts for London ad agencies, she went freelance before setting up shop in the Netherlands. She now operates as a copywriter, translator and editor – often on the same unsuspecting piece of text.

Cathy is a stickler for accuracy, which is why she recently attended a client’s conference in Disneyland Paris so that she could report on it from a position of knowledge. As Welfare Officer of the Dutch branch of the National Union of Journalists, she also takes a keen interest in the underside of the writing profession, and will often be found expressing solidarity with those refusing to join the race to the bottom.

After qualifying as a chartered accountant, Peter Smethurst moved to the Netherlands in 1981. Following jobs in finance and the computer industry, he began as a professional translator 25 years ago, first as an employee and after 18 months as a zzp’er. He specialises in financial and other commercial work.

High-level writing, rhythm and flow, Mike Hannay

Professional editors, writers and translators often comment that the core of their work revolves around playing with the flow of sentences. Yes, lexical and grammatical choices need to be correct and appropriate, and all genre and disciplinary conventions need to be applied consistently, but a lot of the added value that language professionals provide comes from each sentence in the text feeling good, sounding good. The rhythm must be right, and there needs to be balance.

Mike has been thinking about this notion of flow. We can tell when a sentence does not have it, and we will have a whole repertoire of devices for improving flow, but who has sat down and drawn up a categorized list of the most common flow problems encountered in texts written by, say, Dutch-speaking authors or produced by machine translation? Mike does not have such a list, but thinks it would be nice to have one.

He will start the session by presenting some ideas on what he sees as essential elements of flow and what might be useful elements of an editor’s checklist [something you could also rework as the section on flow in a ‘clear writing’ guide]. The idea would then be to see if we can pool our experiences and together take some initial steps towards a categorization in linguistic terms of things to look out for. Mike will bring some example sentences with him, and invite participants to do so too. He would also be glad to hear in advance from anyone who knows of publications which deal with flow or related notions like rhythm in an analytical fashion.

About the presenter

Mike Hannay is emeritus professor of English language and linguistics at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and chairman of the Nationaal Platform voor de Talen.

Copywriting: what is it and could you do it? Cathy Scott

Copywriting is the art of creating concepts and writing words that sell. You may be selling goods, services, brands or ideas: anything from a pot of face cream to a supermarket promotion, a medical device, a new way of working or even a political party. Copywriting normally includes communicating the positive benefits of whatever you are selling, while conveniently neglecting to mention any negatives. This lack of balance (also common to PR) distinguishes it from journalism. During her presentation, she'll be explaining the basics of copywriting, including how copywriters work: 

  • For advertising agencies and direct clients
  • In all sorts of traditional and new media (from print & TV ads to direct emails & Facebook blogs)
  • At any or all stages of the communication path, from creating concepts (headline, visual, strapline) to crafting the web copy
  • On different communications directed towards different target groups within each advertising campaign

Cathy will also outline some of the practicalities:

  • Who you might be working with in a team/agency
  • Why they might want your linguistic and/or creative skills
  • The difference between an in-house and a freelance copywriter
  • Which skills you should have as a minimum (Word, pdf, Excel, PPT)
  • What you might be asked to do (including the boring stuff, e.g. corporate newsletters, packaging materials…)
  • How people work (brief, phone, etc.)
  • What you should do to add value (be honest, but maybe not too much so)
  • How you should behave (proactive, engaged, respectful, honest)
  • How to set up and attract clients
  • Background reading (ad books)
  • Useful sayings (to bear in mind, but perhaps not say out loud)

About the presenter

Cathy Scott is a British copywriter who has been in the advertising business for almost as long as the Dulux dog.

After working on many consumer, B2B and healthcare accounts for London ad agencies, she went freelance before setting up shop in the Netherlands. She now operates as a copywriter, translator and editor – often on the same unsuspecting piece of text.

Cathy is a stickler for accuracy, which is why she recently attended a client’s conference in Disneyland Paris so that she could report on it from a position of knowledge. As Welfare Officer of the Dutch branch of the National Union of Journalists, she also takes a keen interest in the underside of the writing profession, and will often be found expressing solidarity with those refusing to join the race to the bottom.

Translating in architecture, Dianna Beaufort

There is no ‘virgin’ land any more, certainly not in the Netherlands. Every spot has a history, has been surveyed and has zoning. These are the constraints within which every planner and architect must work. Dianna Beaufort will explain some of the jargon in Dutch ruimtelijke ordening and talk about the importance of the written word for architects and planners. They employ a specific language to persuade and justify their proposed designs to the many actors involved in the building industry, from bureaucrats and politicians to clients and contractors. She will discuss the process of architecture, highlight some specifically Dutch practices and cover some of the different kinds of writing that serve this specialized field.

About the presenter

Dianna Beaufort has a background in architectural conservation and heritage planning, and works as a translator and editor in these fields.

From Lada to Lamborghini: tips for gaining and retaining valuable repeat clients, Jenny Zonneveld

Freelance writers, editors and translators are under increasing pressure from agencies driving rates downwards. As freelancers, we need to stand out from the crowd, adapt our working practices, and grow as professionals to ensure we enjoy what we do if we want to continue making a good living. Drawing on more than 20 years’ experience, Jenny will give ideas and tips for professionalising your business that will help you to move out of the bulk market and thus enable you to raise your rates.

About the presenter

Jenny Zonneveld has a business background. Before she became a freelance translator, copywriter, and editor, about 20 years ago, she spent more than 15 years at a firm of management consultants and worked in the UK, USA, Belgium and the Netherlands. She specialised in managing IT and Logistics projects. In her current work, her clients appreciate Jenny for her insight into language matters as well as all things technical. Jenny has built up long-term relationships with her clients, who keep her very busy!

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