Translating Pharmaceutical Texts for Non - Specialist Readers

AuthorAna Maria Mangher Chitac
PositionPhD in progress, Doctoral School of Philological Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania
European Integration - Realities and Perspectives. Proceedings 2019
Translating Pharmaceutical Texts
for Non - Specialist Readers
Ana-Maria Mangher (Chitac)1
Abstract: The present paper intends to approach the pharmaceutical text as a genre of medical discourse,
focusing especially on the translation of Patient Information Leaflets (PILs).The aim of this paper is to
investigate the translation issues raised by these texts and to offer some translation strategies i n order to
facilitate their understanding by the non specialist readers. One of the novelty elements of this article consists
in an interdisciplinary approach of the pharmaceutical texts and their analysis from different perspectives: of
translation studies, of linguistics, of pragmatics and of cultural studies. The translation of pharmaceutical texts
represents a difficult process, due to the complexity of the language that encloses terms from all the medicine
fields, as well as the necessity to respect the specific terminology and to integrate the translation in a certain
text typology. The attempt of finding the optimum translation strategies in order to facilitate the understanding
of these texts by the lay - receiver represents another new element of this approach, given that, there are not
many studies in the field literature that focus on this topic.
Keywords: Patient Information Leaflets; medical translation; translation problems; genre analysis; text
1. Introduction
Medical texts to which we consider that pharmaceutical texts are affiliated, have a specific structure and
are characterized by precision in the use of terminology, scientific objectivity, methodological precision
and impartiality in the transmission of information. According to Montalt and Davies “medical language
has been regarded in the same way as any other kind of scientific language: objective, neutral and non-
rhetorical, whose only function was to transmit information, a so called “referential” function. As a
consequence, they contain no cultural or ideological references, and have an uniform and impersonal
style. Each concept is represented by one -and only- one term (univocal) and concepts are precise and
remain stable and unchanging over time”. (2006, p. 50).
2. Patient Information Leaflet-Legislative Approach
Patient Information Leaflet (PIL) represents one of the most common used text genres belonging to
medical discourse, in the sense that Ana Trosborg renders to the concept of genre. In the opinion of the
Danish linguist “Genres are text categories readily distinguished by mature speakers of a language, and
1 PhD in progress, Doctoral School of Philological Studies, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, Romania, Address: 11
Carol I Bvd., 700506, Iasi , Romania, Corresponding aut hor:

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