Patient Information Leaflet translators in the EU: mapping the hypothetical competences of professional translators and pharmacists-cum-translators

Matilde Nisbeth Jensen

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    The last decade has seen an increased focus on health communication directed at lay receivers. The many challenges associated with effective expert-lay health communication are further compounded in an EU context as written mandatory patient communication is translated into all EU languages. Despite this increased focus on easy-to-understand health communication, many studies have shown that Patient Information Leaflets (PILs), the texts which in an EU context have to accompany all medication informing us about dosage, side effects etc., are often complex, and one study has indicated that PILs translated into Danish were even more complex than their English source texts. It has been assumed that this increase in complexity during the translation process is caused by the fact that the PILs translators were mainly pharmacists. Thus, this paper reports a preliminary study showing that pharmaceutical companies use either medical professionals or translators to an almost equal extent. The hypothetical translation competences of these two groups are then mapped against the PACTE competence model, and discussed from a theoretical perspective to explore whether the difficulties in the translated PILs could be linked to the translators in view of a further empirical investigation.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationTranslation and the reconfiguration of power relations
    Subtitle of host publicationrevisiting role and context of translation and interpreting
    EditorsBeatrice Fischer, Matilde Nisbeth Jensen
    Place of PublicationZurich
    PublisherLIT Verlag
    Number of pages21
    ISBN (Print)9783643902832
    Publication statusPublished - 2012


    • medical translation
    • Patient Information Leaflets
    • expert-lay communication
    • translation competence
    • lay-friendliness


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