LITHUANIA GOES LIVE
July 11, 2012
By Audrey Fraizer
Louise Ganley and Tracey Barron were moving at speeds faster than the speed of ProQA Paramount during the 10 weeks before Christmas.
Like the herding instinct of a Border Collie, the two from the U.K. office nipped at heels—figuratively, of course—relying on their energy and know-how to reach a “go-live” date at Kaunas Ambulance Service (Lithuania) in at least half the amount of time it generally takes for these things to happen.
“We kicked off in October and they wanted it done before Christmas,” said Ganley, PDC clinical support officer. “It was the fastest implementation I’ve ever done.”
The ripples of their pace were felt at tsunami force in Salt Lake City, where Tudy Benson, PDC director of European Operations, and the Translation and Standards Department labored under a “very short time frame” to ready translated Protocol and training materials.
Benson, who directed the contractual agreement and is used to working from a distance, said the Lithuanian implementation was complicated by factors, including the city’s size (the second largest in Lithuania), time and language differences, and the first-time translation of Protocol into Lithuanian.
“It was a whirlwind,” Benson said. “But as Louise said to me, and I have to agree, the stress was something we put on ourselves. We wanted to make sure everything went well.”
The dogged persistence and leadership qualities of Paulis Dobožinskas, director, Crisis Research Center, and the enthusiastic reception by Kaunas Ambulance Service 1-1-2 staff were two factors working in their favor despite the scheduling crunch. Benson said Dobožinskas’ “if we can do it now, why delay?” attitude was the perfect match for dispatchers “eager to soak up everything about Protocol” without the luxury of time on their side.
Benson and Dobožinskas drafted an implementation plan in April at the Navigator 2011 conference held in Las Vegas. Three months later, in July, Benson was on a plane to meet Dobožinskas in Amsterdam to begin preparations. In October, she and Ganley were in Lithuania for the start date, with Barron, International Academies of Emergency Dispatch (IAED) Research and Studies officer, scheduled to arrive several weeks later. Benson returned to the United States to co-pilot the project from behind her desk.
“Tudy was very confident about this,” Ganley said. “She believed in us.”
While the actual translators (Milda Dambrauskiene and Zilvinas Dambrauskas) are native Lithuanians living in the Baltic country, all the backend duties fell to the Translation and Standards Department in Salt Lake City. Translation & Standards Manager Irena Weight identified the full spectrum of products needed for the implementation, their priority level, and deadlines for their completion.
Translation Specialist Dave Ogden prepared the required content and uploaded it into a specialized translation software program for Dambrauskiene and Dambrauskas to complete their translation. Next, Production Artists Julie Green, Chad Iverson, and Alyssa Steiner used the imported translations to create the layout for the Lithuanian Medical Priority Dispatch System(MPDS) cardset and 15 additional products, first concentrating on the necessary materials for the upcoming course.
“It was kind of a tight time frame to get it done,” Green said. “This went to the top of the list.”
The quick turnaround had Proofreader/Assistant Editor Cynthia Murray rapidly checking drafts for consistency between the English and Lithuanian versions while Weight ensured that changes were properly entered into ProQA software. E-mail communication with the translators was naturally delayed by the time difference between the two countries. Noon in Kaunas is 8 p.m. in Salt Lake City. In other words, the three-week turnaround meant strict attention to the clock.
“This was high priority,” Murray said.
Although neither Ganley nor Barron speak the language, they’re the first to admit it’s a tough one to learn and follow. Lithuanian is one of the oldest languages spoken although it wasn’t standardized until a century ago. Calltakers, because of the country’s tourist industry, also handle calls in Russian, Polish, German, and English.
“We learned a little Lithuanian,” Barron said. “But fortunately for us, most places where tourists go are fairly English-speaking friendly.”
Ganley and Barron worked nonstop coordinating the EMD student and instructor courses with the translated teaching tools as they arrived. They organized ProQA Paramount and AQUA training and depended on their Lithuanian translators for answering questions and when ordering food from the local restaurants.