1 Department of Business Communication, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University2 Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University3 Department of Business Communication, Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University
Patient Information Leaflets (PILs) were introduced in the EU as mandatory texts accompanying all medication informing users about dosage, side effects, etc. in order to foster informed decision-making and patient empowerment. By its nature, the PIL genre is complex aiming at instructing lay people about complex medical content, i.e. mediation of specialized medical knowledge across a knowledge asymmetry. Within the EU, this intralingual translation is further complicated by an interlingual dimension as PILs must be translated from English into all other 23 EU languages. Legally, PILs must be “written and designed to be clear and understandable” (EU Directive 2001/83/EC); however, Askehave & Zethsen (2002) found that the Danish translations were more complex than their English source texts. It has been argued that this increase in complexity is related to the competences of the translators as a majority of Danish PILs are translated by pharmacists without translation training and experience (Nisbeth Jensen forthcoming). This paper thus empirically explores the translation choices found in a corpus of 54 PIL translations (27 translated by translators and pharmacists, respectively). Analysis used a contrastive source text/target text linguistic framework focussing on elements such as the use of nominalization, compounds nouns, medical terminology and other formal register. Findings showed significant differences between the two translator groups. My findings revealed that the nature of the translator – a special kind of knowledge mediator - is linked to linguistic complexities thus highlighting that this extra-textual feature also contributes to making PILs difficult for lay people to understand. Word count: 248 References: Askehave, Inger and Zethsen, Karen. 2002. “Translating for laymen”. Perspectives: Studies in Translatology 10 (1): 15-29. EU Directive 2001/83/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 6 November 2001. Nisbeth Jensen, Matilde. Forthcoming. “Patient Information Leaflet translators in the EU: Mapping the hypothetical competences of professional translators and pharmacists-cum-translators”. In: Translation and the reconfiguration of power relations. Revisiting role and context of translation and interpreting, Beatrice Fischer & Matilde Nisbeth Jensen (Eds.). Vienna/Berlin: LIT.