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Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms: Bridging Language and Medicine Across the Atlantic

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Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms: Bridging Language and Medicine Across the Atlantic

“First Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms Released After Eight Years of Work”

After over eight years of hard work, the first Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms has been released, which aims to provide a common medical language that promotes the Royal National Academy of Medicine of Spain (RANME) and the Latin American Association of National Academies of Medicine of Spain and Portugal (ALANAM).

This digital, navigable, open-access work contains over 70,000 medical terms that aim to facilitate communication between the population and health professionals on both sides of the Atlantic in an increasingly globalized world. It features 95% common scientific and technical terms, with only 5% presenting variability, including more familiar terms such as symptoms, common diseases, or objects.

Lexicographer Cristina González, coordinator of the Medical Terminology Unit of the RANME, highlighted the importance of preserving one’s native language when communicating with medical professionals. This necessitates finding consensus on terms to reflect the most common, while also respecting the variability of each one.

The dictionary also helps navigate terms in several languages, providing English equivalents in its content. Additionally, the dictionary has detected terms that have emerged in English and has proposed immediate translations into Spanish, aiming to resist the incorporation of Anglicisms into Spanish without first adapting to morphology, spelling, and grammar.

With words like “flu” being preferred over “influenza” and “spicule protein” recommended over “protein spike,” the dictionary aims to offer Spanish equivalents for Anglicisms while also acknowledging cases where the English term is more widespread and has been maintained.

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The release of the dictionary also saw the pandemic’s terms come in at a “dizzying speed.” Despite this, the dictionary managed to reach a consensus on the terminology, considering factors such as the disease’s terminology and recommended use of Spanish terms over English.

This collective work of 13 academies of Medicine included biomedical specialists alongside lexicographers, etymologists, translators, computer scientists, and coding experts. It has resulted in a constantly updated tool that serves doctor’s office, medical students, as well as other professional profiles and individuals seeking consultations.

In just three months of existence, the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms has received over 300,000 visits, reflecting its impact and importance. With over 500 million Spanish speakers around the world, the dictionary aims to bridge the gap in the doctor-patient relationship, research, dissemination, translation, and teaching in the medical field.

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