< Back to previous page


Science popularization in English and translated Dutch patient information leaflets: specialized versus lay terminology and explicitation

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

AbstractInformation in patient information leaflets (PILs) must be comprehensible for lay readers. For that purpose popularization strategies can be applied. These include explicitation of scientific terms as well as replacing scientific terms with lay terms. Increased comprehension may entail increased patient compliance, as a result of decreased uncertainty. We analyzed scientific versus lay medical terminology and other explicitation strategies as a measure for uncertainty avoidance (Hofstede, 2001) in a corpus of 12 English PILs and their Dutch translations. Although Dutch-speaking societies have a higher uncertainty avoidance index than English-speaking societies such as the UK, the Dutch PILs contain a similar number of instances of explicitation as the English PILs. But, uncertainty avoidance is reflected in an overall higher amount of lay terminology in the Dutch PILs, notably in section 4 (Possible side effects). From this it appears that terminology in the Dutch PILs of our corpus is oriented more towards a lay audience than that in the English PILs. However, the apparent higher scientific orientation of the English PILs may be related partially to the Latin-based origin of medical scientific terminology and the higher Latin-based character of general English terminology compared to Dutch, rather than a higher scientific orientation in the English PILs as such.Keywords:explicitation, lay terminology, specialized terminology, medical terminology, health information
Journal: Parallèles
ISSN: 2296-6684
Issue: 2
Volume: 30
Pages: 35 - 52
Number of pages: 18
Publication year:2018