Universite Abdelmalak Essaadi * Ecole Superieure Roi Fahd de Traduction
Turjuman vol:23 issue:2 pages:11-45
While earlier studies examined reader comprehension, this paper in the field of written healthcare communication focuses on potential reader response for original English and translated German patient information leaflets (PILs) and hence patient behaviour. For that purpose the cultural dimension of Uncertainty Avoidance (UA) as a measure of controlling future events following Hofstede (2001) was examined. Hofstede’s study reveals a markedly higher UA index for Germany than for the UK. For this paper UA was defined in terms of analytical criteria which include aspects of epistemic and deontic modality, writer-reader relation and external role relation (ERRO), (causal) explicitation, as well as degrees of explicitness and subjectivity, and explicit uncertainty markers (EUMs). The translation corpus consists of two sections (one informative and one instructive) from 10 PILs (9, 659 words) for medicines treating hypertension and insomnia, taken from the European Medicines Agency (EMA). The findings show matching values for the analytical criteria in the English source text PILs and the German translated PILs to a considerable extent, albeit a higher frequency of explicit uncertainty markers and causal explicitation, and a somewhat higher degree of objectivity in the German PILs. These results, and the paucity of translation shifts for the analytical criteria, may, however, partly be attributed to close translation practice which otherwise transpires in literally translated, unidiomatic phrases in the German PILs. This may raise questions of suitability of translation practice for reader response and patient behaviour with written healthcare communication, notably also for texts in more culturally diverse language communities.