This paper seeks to empirically explore the claim that translated Danish Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) are less lay-friendly than their English source texts. The last two decades have seen an increased focus on providing patients with lay-friendly, easily understood information, enabling them to make informed decisions concerning their health. For this purpose, many new genres have been created, one such genre being the PIL, a mandatory text which in an EU context has to accompany all medication informing patients about dosage, side effects etc. Legally, the PIL genre is required to ensure lay-friendly information as it must be “written and designed to be clear and understandable, enabling the users to act appropriately” (Article 63(2) of EU Directive 2001/83/EC). Despite the legal requirements and the intensified focus on lay-friendly health communication, many studies have shown that PILs are often not optimally lay-friendly (e.g. Pander Maat & Lentz 2010; MHRA 2005), and that even when the English versions are somewhat lay-friendly, in many cases, their Danish translations are less lay-friendly and more complex than their English source texts (Askehave & Zethsen 2002). To further explore this reduction of lay-friendliness occurring in the translation process, this paper will present the research design of a contrastive linguistic corpus analysis of Danish PILs and their English source texts. Focus is on creating an analytical framework of linguistic elements said to increase or reduce text complexity and lay-friendliness, such as nominalizations, the use of passives, expert terminology, sentence length etc. The framework will subsequently be used for corpus analysis of the contrastive corpus consisting of 500 authorised EU PILs. The implications of potentially showing a difference in lay-friendliness between the original PIL and the Danish version could be a reconsideration of the current EU legislation that only the English original must be user-tested to ensure lay-friendliness. Key words: Corpus analysis, expert-lay communication, lay-friendliness, Patient Information Leaflets, translation References Askehave, Inger & Zethsen, Karen. (2002). “Translating for laymen”. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 10 (1): 15-29. Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001. MHRA – Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency. (2005). Always Read the Leaflet: Getting the best information with every medicine. London: The Stationary Office. Pander Maat, Henk and Lentz, Leo. 2010. “Improving the usability of patient information leaflets”. Patient Education and Counseling 80 (1): 113-119.
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International Conference on Communication in Healthcare, 2011