Breaking Through the Foreign Language Barrier: Resources on the Web

  1. [color=#663300]found this article that offers advice to our international bb members on ways to translate nursing articles.

    [color=#663300]information resources
    breaking through the foreign language barrier: resources on the web
    by barbara f. schloman, phd, ahip (june 30, 2000)

    it seems fitting to address ways of dealing with foreign language communication as part of this ojin issue on "nursing around the world." our relationship with professionals in other lands is changing by virtue of being linked through the world wide web into a global communication network. yet, clearly "it is a multilingual village without a common language" (large & moukdad, 2000, p.43).

    non-english can be seen as a growing factor in the profile of both web content and web users. oclc, the online computer library center, serves as a worldwide bibliographic service utility for libraries. among its activities, the oclc web characterization project strives to measure the structure, size, usage, and content of the web. included is an assessment of what non-english languages are represented on publicly accessible web sites. in 1999, 29 different languages were represented, compared with 24 languages in 1998. multilingual sites comprised 8% of the total. 80% were english-language sites, but this was down from 84% in 1998 (oclc office of research, 1999). at the same time that non-english content is increasing, use by non-english speakers is growing faster than that by english speakers. an estimated 48.7% of current internet users have a language other than english as their first language, up from 20% in 1996 (global reach, 2000).

    the growing presence of the internet increases the communication potential of health professionals across national boundaries. there is evidence of this already. ons online (, managed by the oncology nursing society, provides an example of an online nursing community working to develop supporting relationships with nursing groups in other countries (uhlenhopp, fliedner, morris, & van boxtel, 1998. germenis, kokkinides, and stavropoulos-giokas (1997) report on the increased readership of a non-indexed medical journal, archives of hellenic medicine, when it moved from a limited, national medical audience to one available on the web.

    murray and anthony (1999) report usage of nursing standard online (nso) to be predominantly from english-speaking countries with a growing readership from the far east and continental europe. they observe that the countries accessing are those with high internet connectivity. similarly, ojin statistics for november 1999 showed 7.71% of the user sessions were from non-u.s. sites. forty countries were represented. the most active countries, each with over 150 user sessions, were the united kingdom, canada, australia, hong kong, and japan

    the goal of this column is to describe the various types of foreign language resources that are currently available on the world wide web. this is largely from an english-speaking perspective, although many of the sites could be useful to other web users trying to cross language barriers. obviously, these resources are coarse aids only and no substitute for the language proficiency required in direct patient care of those with a different native language or cultural background.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on May 21, '04
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  3. by   fwmrenkens
    Hi Karen,
    In the Netherlands we also have a language barriere. We teach our nursing students how to search for relevant literature on the specific nursing issues in databases such as CINAHL, pubmed, tripdatabes etc. Due to the language barriere Dutch-english, a lot of nursing terms are not one-on-one translatable in English. I am looking for a dictionary or glossary with specific nursing terms. Do you know if there is one on the internet?
    I did find a few medical glossaries, but the nursing stuff is harder to find.
    Do you have any suggestions?
    Thanks, regards Frieda Renkens, Avans Hogeschool
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