Health Evaluation and Promotion
Online ISSN : 1884-4103
Print ISSN : 1347-0086
ISSN-L : 1347-0086
40th JHEP conference 2012
Linguistic gaps in medical service
Kanzaburo Okamura
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2012 Volume 39 Issue 6 Pages 855-860


 Linguistic gaps can occur to religious, cultural and other words with wide meanings when the speakers and listeners infer different meanings if only a little. For medical and pharmaceutical words including stomach, intestines, heart, cardia and pylorus, however, both sides hardly have different images.
 Unlike general terms, technical terms are specialized and limited so that anyone can identify the meanings without misunderstanding. If they are taken wrongly, it means the speakers or listeners are not professionally educated. There could be some risk of misunderstanding or misinterpretation among nonprofessional interpreters, volunteers and patient families.
 In fact, looking at medical malpractice cases caused by linguistic gaps in the U.S., they were all without professional or specialized interpreters. The communications were directly made between foreign language speaking patients and the medical staff who were not able to understand the language very much in examination rooms or pharmacies.

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© 2012 Japan Society of Health Evaluation and Promotion
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