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Translating Health. Enhanced English for Interpreters Fujian Normal University. Tongue Twister Review. Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter Which made her batter bitter But a bit of better butter Makes better batter So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter

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Translating health

Translating Health

Enhanced English for Interpreters

Fujian Normal University

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Tongue twister review
Tongue Twister Review

Betty Botter bought a bit of bitter butter

Which made her batter bitter

But a bit of better butter

Makes better batter

So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter

Making her bitter batter better.

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Why medical translators
Why Medical Translators?

Case Study: Logan

Location: Fuzhou, Fujian

Purpose of visit: abnormal chest X-ray follow up on routine examination for student visa

Background: foreign student from America, studying Chinese at a university in China.

Medical Tasks

1st visit:investigate abnormal chest X-ray findings to rule out tuberculosis by bronchoscopy (支气管检查). Fluid is taken from the air ways to test for tuberculosis (TB).

2nd visit: positive test on bronchoscopy requires start of drug cocktail. TB is not active (latent – 蕴蓄). Foreign Affairs health certificate will not be issued until TB test is negative.

3rd visit: Change drug cocktail due to abnormal liver tests

The Leader

(the Doctor)

Handling Problems

Medical ethics and values
Medical Ethics and Values


a practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient.


the patient has the right to refuse or choose their treatment.

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013


  • Identify the cultural barriers that prevent Logan from receiving effective healthcare in China.

  • Interpret to the American student, potential reasons the doctors would say the tuberculosis is active when the positive bronchoscopy test report say that the disease is “non-communicable”

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Homework review
Homework Review

  • Read the article “A Year in Community Health Work” regarding the Taiyuan Community Health Center in Shanxi province.


  • Briefly summarize the barriers the team faced delivering health care to the community.

  • How did they overcome the barriers?

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013


Way of Life

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Luxi Community Center,

Evergreen Family Friendship Services

Shanxi, China

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Medical ethics 2 cases

Medical Ethics: 2 Cases

Protective truthfulness: the Chinese way of safeguarding patients in informed treatment decision

Mei-che Samantha Pang

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong, China

Journal of Medical Ethics 1999; 24:247-253

Cross-cultural Medicine. Ethical Dilemmas in a Cross cultural Context. A Chinese Example

Jessica H. Muller and Brian Desmond

San Francisco Hospital Medical Centre

West Journal of Medicine 1992; 157: 323-327

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Medical ethics and values1
Medical Ethics and Values


a practitioner should act in the best interest of the patient.


the patient has the right to refuse or choose their treatment.

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Case 1: Hong Kong

  • Mrs Chan, aged 29

  • carcinoma of the lung, poor prognosis.

  • husband and sister did not want her to know about her critical condition. Staff told not to tell patient and request is upheld.

  • Patient is noted by nurse to be perceptive, optimistic and curious.

  • Nurse avoids talking to patient or responding to her directly but feels patient should have psychological support.

  • The patient eventually died, still ignorant of her disease.

Case 2: USA

  • Mrs Lee, aged 49, recent immigrant from China to USA

  • Terminal lung cancer with metastases to brain and spine

  • Son is key translator. Will not allow physicians to inform patient of condition.

  • Physicians try to discuss a “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) order with patient without success

  • Patient condition worsens, son begs doctors for intubation. Doctors consult intensive care specialists which agree no grounds for ICU admission

  • Son threatens litigation due to perceived racism

  • Patient suffers a code blue during a family meeting and dies

Medical terminology notes
Medical Terminology Notes

  • Carcinoma- cancer, usually a solid tumor(s) (not blood)

    Lung carcinoma, renal carcinoma, hepatic carcinoma

  • Metastases or “mets”- cancer spread to other body parts

    Breast carcinoma with lung metastases/mets

  • “do-not-resuscitate” (DNR) – an order in a hospital setting to not revive someone who is dying. Does not include treatments to provide comfort.

    The patient’s cancer has a 3 month prognosis so we need to discuss a DNR order with the patient and the patient’s husband.

  • Intubation- placing a tube in the throat to breath

    He was declared brain dead even though he was intubated. The question now is whether to remove the vent.

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

  • No grounds- no basis, no justification, no good reason

    They fired him even though there was no grounds for his dismissal.

  • Litigation- lawsuit

    They threatened with litigation when the doctors did not listen to the family’s wishes.

  • Code blue – a code for medical staff indicating someone requires emergency help; often cardiac or respiratory arrest.

    There’s a code blue in the cafeteria! Quick! Call switchboard!

  • Call a family meeting- a meeting which medical staff, a patient’s family +/-patient discuss and make medical decisions about a patient’s care. Common cultural practice in Western hospitals when there are communication problems.

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Culture and ethics
Culture and Ethics

  • Which medical ethical value does Chinese culture esteem more? Why?

  • Which medical ethical value does Western culture esteem more? Why?

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013

Ping pong debate
Ping Pong Debate

All terminally ill patients should know their diagnosis and prognosis

FNU Language Enhancement 2012-2013


Answer ONE question assigned to you. Prepare a clear, informative instruction addressing the question which may help a foreigner navigating the healthcare system in Fuzhou.

  • Describe the process of drawing blood samples in China. Where do you go? How and where do you pay?

  • What routine immunizations are given in China? Where can you get the injection? What information is given about the injections?

  • How are medications prescribed and dispensed in China?

  • If you are ill, how do you make an appointment to see a doctor?

  • Who takes care of food, clothing for the patient at the hospital?

  • How much money should you bring money to visit to the doctor? The hospital? How and who do you pay?

  • Describe an appointment with the doctor. What kind of tests might they run? What type of questions might be asked?