Analysis of a Medical Translation : Terminology and cultural aspects

University essay from Växjö universitet/Institutionen för humaniora

Abstract: This analysis deals with the difficulties in translating a medical text from English into Swedish. As primary source, I have used a British textbook about geriatrics called Nursing Older People which is aimed at university students of nursing. The selected chapter is called Person-centred dementia care written by the authors Sue Davies, Barry Aveyard and Ian J. Norman. The translation difficulties have involved terminology and cultural aspects. This analysis shows how these problems were tackled by studying different translation theories, such as Munday (2001) who refers to Koller’s theory about equivalence and Vinay & Darbelnet’s model of direct translation and oblique translation as well as Ingo (2007) who accounts for text sort conventions. The terminological problems involved choosing the most appropriate term for describing diagnosis, diseases, body organs and symptoms. There was a wide variety of terms from old Graeco-Latin terms to English terms coined in the 1990s. Other terms were related to the international field of epidemiology as well as the organisation of care for the elderly, based on the Swedish Social Services Act. A suitable choice was possible by considering aspects like frequent usage of field specific words and collocations in parallel texts. The cultural aspects involved cultural references such as differences between Sweden and the UK as for national institutions and organisations. The solution was to find a cultural equivalent or, when this was not possible, explain the term in a footnote.

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