More interesting linguistic notes


A friend of mine, Philip Bazire, a surgeon trained both in the UK and in Spain, and an expert in Medical  Translation saw the last post and made a few comments of his own.

It is a fact that very often Spanish doctors confuse  words/ terms between English and Spanish, and Philip mentions a few of these confusions.

The Spanish word “evolución” when talking about a disease or illness is normally translated as ” clinical course”. It is NOT evolution. This is a false friend. “Antecendentes” could be “past history”, “past medical history” of ” background”, and when a patient refers to pain and, in Spanish, says “irradia” this should not be translated as “irradiates” but “radiates” or even “spreads”; for example – ” dolor torácico que irradia hacia el brazo izquierdo” would probably be translated as ” chest pain that radiates to the left arm”.

We are working on the next interview, which will uploaded before the end of this month. Have a great week.

An Introduction to Medical English


I have been working in the field of Medical English for the last decade, and have decided to put down some of my ideas on this blog, and to open it up to more people and more ideas; in other words start a community dedicated to Medical English in all its different forms and versions. The field of English for Medicine is an enormous one, but one that is of critical importance in this day and age.

I have dedicated the last decade of my life to helping doctors and health professionals on the island of Mallorca to improving their English. It has always seemed to me that the level of medicine practiced here is of a very high level, but that the lack of English is a great barrier. The aim of this blog is to break down this barrier, and also to export my ideas onto a broader stage.

I am interested in the whole field of Medical English, but particularly on the following: communication in medicine (between doctor and patient, doctor and doctor); medical writing, medical terminology, medical research, medical training and medical humanities. Currently I have two hobby-horses, the training of residents, and Clinical sessions in English in a non-English setting.

I am not medically trained but am trained as a teacher with a late interest in medicine. However, I believe that is an advantage as I can look into medicine as an outsider, albeit an outsider with a strong medical sensibility.

Likewise I think that my audience will be as eclectic, as I am aiming this blog not only at Medical professionals wishing to improve their English (this is not another blog helping you learn English, although this is obviously one of its aims), but at researchers, health librarians, teachers, linguists, medical educators, and in fact to all those who have an interest in health/wellness and language. So I am aiming at breadth; in audience and ideas.

I aim to make regular posts, but also want to have guest contributors from different fields, thus anyone is welcome to contribute. So if you wish to contribute please get in touch with me.

The content of the blog will be very varied, ranging from useful language in the Doctor to patient interview, false friends, how to give a presentation, the use of the passive in writing articles, phrasal verbs in health, and I will also link to articles that I have found interesting, or webpages of interest. I will also keep you informed of my recent work, and other things which may be of interest.

So please enjoy this new blog and do not forget to contact me if you wish to send a post, tell your friends about it and let us begin to make this an obligatory port of call for all those interested in the field of Medical English.

Jonathan