New Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms

After more than eight years of work, this pan-Hispanic dictionary of medical terms was released three months ago, the first with a common medical language, which has promoted Royal National Academy of Medicine of Spain (RANME) And this Latin American Association of National Academies of Medicine of Spain and Portugal (ALANAM),

It is a digital, navigable, open access work with over 70,000 medical terms that facilitates communication between populations and health professionals on both sides of the Atlantic in an increasingly globalized world.

Of the total words, 95% are common, they are more scientific and technical words, and variability is present in only 5%. “It’s a more everyday language like symptoms, common diseases or objects.” Lexicographer Cristina González, coordinator of the Medical Terminology Unit of RANME.

“When a person gets sick, he speaks in his native language and that is what he uses to tell the doctor what is happening to him and that language should be preserved,” he emphasizes. Are. Professor José Miguel García Sagredo, Co-Director of the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms,

Therefore, it is necessary to agree on terms such as break water (breaking water), lazy eye (lazy eye); Net (out of breath); Pupil (contact lenses) or Gothari (drop counter).

“The consensus centers on the definition of the term,” the professor says.

“There is no word that says it is better than another country,” says Christina Gonzalez. What we strive for is to reach consensus among everyone on the most common, but respecting the variability of each one.

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Experts consulting the Pan-Hispanic online dictionary of medical terms. EFE/Ana Soteras

If I look for a mask…what will I find?

An example of a word with obvious variability is “mask”. If we look at it in the dictionary, it presents synonyms of its meaning (chinstrap, face mask, mask…even maskAlthough this term is discouraged by experts).

Its English equivalent also includes, among others (mask), countries of use captured on a map, which include a nomenclature or code that includes all medical terms and which can help, for example, to expand on related terms in field work.

“If there are words within the definition that the user does not understand and are in the dictionary, click and it takes them to another definition,” explains the lexicographer.

In addition to the simple search, there is a search in English (but the answer is a translation in Spanish) and an advanced search that allows more precise possibilities such as, for example, detecting words that are not recommended, others that Languages ​​come from, or which words are used in some countries or others.

Anglicisms: their equivalents in Spanish are better

Scientific and technical language uses English as a language of international scientific exchange, but this does not mean that the English language is incorporated into Spanish without first adopting the morphology, spelling and grammar, as neologisms do. Happens with (new words).

“An important task is to immediately detect when a new word or terms have emerged in English and to offer an immediate translation into Spanish,” says the co-director of the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms.

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José Miguel García Sagredo, co-director of the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms. EFE/Ana Soteras

Hard work between the medical academies of Spain, Portugal and the Americas (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic, Uruguay and Venezuela) has also reached a consensus on Anglicism: where Spanish If there is an alternative, it is recommended over the English word.

It’s better if we talk about the flu influenza one of two Fever Or is it more appropriate to use “spicule protein”spike protein”In reference to coronavirus.

But there are also cases in which this has not been possible and given its widespread use the word has been retained in English. is the case of bracket or fixed dental equipment.

“There is no way to say it in Spanish that it has been conquered. That is why now our intention is to be very conscious of discovering new words to influence and propose the word in Spanish before they are consolidated in English,” says Cristina González.

More complex or controversial words

Over the years of work, there have been some bumps in the road. The 2020 coronavirus pandemic also entered the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms.

“Terms were entered into at a faster pace” during the time of confinement and teleworking, but there was no problem of consensus and one example was how the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus was called. covidIn feminine gender, recalls lexicographer.

Professor José Miguel García Sagredo also mentions monkeypoxwhich was recommended by the World Health Organization to be called mpox,

“We started a survey and all the academies agreed that there is no stigmatizing problem about monkeypox in our countries, apart from the obvious one in Spanish” mpoxexplains the doctor who is also an expert in genetics.

enrich coordination

This pan-Hispanic dictionary of medical terms began its journey more than eight years ago as a result of the collective work of thirteen academies of medicine, combining the knowledge of lexicographers, etymologists, translators, computer scientists and coding experts as well as biomedical experts. Was also included. Other.

“A coordination task that is quite complex, but also very rich,” says the head of RANME’s medical terminology unit, where the information was centralized.

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Cristina González, coordinator of the Medical Terminology Unit of RANME. EFE/Ana Soteras

“We dedicate ourselves to creating a structure for that word, we give it an etymology, English equivalents, a codification, if any, we decide how many meanings it has and we also decide whether we “From a linguistic point of view, the word that is considered correct is a word that is vernacular in Spanish,” explains the expert.

Later, a certain person is sought, who is a medical expert, and then other experts from other disciplines are reviewed, such as pharmacologists, oncologists, etc.

After this, a validation process is opened to the members of the Spanish Academy and it is sent to the other twelve American Academies so that they can present the variables to be used in their countries and reach consensus. A task that is supported by computer tools that facilitate it.

The dictionary is a living tool, constantly updated, which serves not only for the doctor or medical student in the office, but also for other professional profiles and individuals who wish to freely consult this dictionary. .

and in the future artificial intelligence It can help in locating new words, but also, “the vocabulary present in the dictionary can help precisely with the paradox of truth that artificial intelligence must have when asked or in any situation in the real world.” “To be used as a tool for the process.” Professor says.

In three months of existence, the Pan-Hispanic Dictionary of Medical Terms has received more than 300,000 visits, the majority from Spain, followed by Argentina, the United States, and Mexico.

Any favorite terms? “Chile Arsenaleros”, is the answer from the lexicographer of the Royal National Academy of Medicine of Spain. “They’re scrub nurses and I think that’s a good term because it’s metaphorical, it’s like a battle that would be fought in the operating room.”

On both sides of the Atlantic, a shared language and medicine for the benefit of doctor-patient relationships, but also for research, dissemination, translation and teaching in a world of more than 500 million Spanish speakers.

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