This special issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia New Series - Themes in Translation Studies looks at medical knowledge mediation from the perspective of translation in two complementary and overlapping ways: on the one hand, interlingual translation is of critical importance to accomplish knowledge mediation; on the other hand, ‘translation’ can be a rich metaphor to refer to and explain knowledge mediation in medical and health settings. Both the immediate and the metaphorical uses of translation have a lot in common both theoretically and in practice, and this special issue is an invitation to explore those interfaces.
Innovations in medical knowledge brought about by research are meant to improve clinical practice and ultimately the lives of patients. The communicative continuum across which medical knowledge is transferred and distributed is wide and complex, ranging from the lab to the mass media. At every stage of that transfer process there are multiple phenomena of recontextualization and reformulation between different knowledge communities with different knowledge backgrounds and needs —researchers, physicians, nurses, patients, students, technicians, managers, journalists, general public, etc.—, both within a given language and between different languages and cultures. The actual roles —as well as the potentialities— of translation and translators in these phenomena of recontextualization and reformulation of medical knowledge are the main focus of this special issue of Linguistica Antverpiensia.
For example, in the area of research that involves human experimentation, the needs faced by patients and health professionals motivate research processes, which can give rise to clinical trials, in which informed consents have to be obtained from the individuals participating in the trials. The results of clinical trials are often ‘translated’ into research articles which are eventually published in biomedical research journals. In their turn, these research articles are ‘translated’ into clinical guidelines aiming to assist health professionals in the diagnosis and treatment of patients. These research articles and clinical guides —and many other genres— are also often translated into other languages as well as being adapted into all sorts of texts for patients and the general public in the form of educational and popularizing genres, which in their turn may also be translated interlingually.
In a like manner, patient information leaflets (PILs) are summarized and simplified interlingual and intralingual adaptations of longer, more complex documents that are produced, often in a different language, for the development and approval of medicines, such as core data sheets and summaries of product characteristics. A summary of product characteristics of a given medicine usually gives rise to press releases as well as to advertisements addressed to health professionals, patients, and even the general public.
These are just a few of the multiple recontextualizations and reformulations that may take place in the two examples mentioned. The problems posed by such processes of intra- and interlingual knowledge mediation are varied —ranging from adaptation of terms to changes of structure to influence of the institutional context—, and involve not just equifunctional translation but also heterofunctional/transgeneric translation.
We invite proposals dealing with one or more of the following possible tracks:
1. Knowledge mediation/translation between researchers and health professionals
2. Knowledge mediation/translation between researchers and patients
3. Knowledge mediation/translation between health professionals and patients
4. Knowledge mediation/translation between researchers and the general public
5. Knowledge mediation/translation between health professionals and the general public
6. Cultural issues in knowledge mediation/translation, such as different ways of conceptualizing health, disease, pain, risk, safety, etc.
7. Medical knowledge mediation/translation at specific moments of history
8. Heterofunctional/transgeneric translation in medical knowledge mediation
Practical information and deadlines
Proposals: abstracts of approximately 500 words, including some relevant bibliography, should be submitted by 1 June 2011
Notification of the acceptance of the proposal: 1 September 2011
Articles: 1 February 2012
Notification of the acceptance of the article & queries: 1 April 2012
Publication: November-December 2012
Languages: English, French, German and Spanish