Scientific journal
European Journal of Natural History
ISSN 2073-4972
ИФ РИНЦ = 0,283


Nurgaliyeva A.K. 1 Muratbekova Sh.S. 1
1806 KB
English is the language of international communication for all of mankind. It allows all people to communicate with each other, regardless of nationality and place of residence. The meaning of English in the modern world is so great that its knowledge is not a privilege or a luxury. Any educated person is obliged to speak English, as it is his key to further self-education and self-improvement. This language is a living communication tool for scientists around the world. After all, international conferences, the study of world’s experience and the exchange of scientific information occur only with the use of English. The aim of the research is to assess the necessity of the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” within the framework of postgraduate medical education. The results will allow to determine the level of English proficiency, and give information about real needs and interests in this field. The main tasks are associated with the identification and elimination of problems when using English medical literature. A survey was conducted among 50 master’s program students and residents of KSMU (Karaganda State Medical University). It has been established that all respondents are aware of the practical importance of studying of specific features of medical translation as a necessary link in training of highly educated specialists.
language competence
professional-oriented english
medical translation
specific training
postgraduate medical education
1. Nazarbaev N.A. Social modernization of Kazakhstan: 20 steps towards the society of universal labour //Kazakhstani truth. – 2012. – No. 218-219. – 10th July.
2. Markovina I.Y., Shirinian M.V. Learning a foreign language at a post-graduate level: needs and prospects for the future (based on the experience of Russian medical universities) // Bulletin of Moscow State Linguistic University. – 2012. – No.3 – P. 54-61.
3. Yurchuk G.V. Development of language competence in the process of English learning by the students of a medical high school //Bulletin of Krasnoyarsk State Pedagogical University named after V.P. Astaphyev. – 2011. – No. 3(17). – P. 218-223.
4. Pavlova E.V., Laptev T.G. Specifics of the translation of different terms when translating from English into Russian //Inter-Expo Geo-Siberia. – 2014. – No.2. – P. 59-63.
5. Message of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan to Kazakhstani people. – 10th January, 2018.

“Kazakhstan should be accepted all over the world as a highly educated country, whose population uses three languages. They are: the Kazakh language is the state language, the Russian language as the language of interethnic communication and English is the language of successful integration into the global economy”, Nursultan Nazarbayev said [1]. Today, integration of Kazakhstan into the world community depends on the awareness and realization of a simple truth: the world is open to those who can master new knowledge through mastering the dominant languages. The special significance of English cannot be overestimated in the modern world. It is used by a huge number of people on the planet. For most of them, it is not a native language, but it is being studied due to various circumstances. There is unbelievable willingness for learning English in all segments of society, from childhood to schoolchildren, students, young professionals.

Modern medical literature, information on new achievements in diagnosing of various diseases, methods of treatment is presented mainly in English. Due to the pervasive introduction of the principles of evidence-based medicine, the use of English-language databases is important. In particular, these are MEDLINE, Best Evidence, Clinical Evidence, EMBASE, and Cochrane Library. In searching for evidence-based information, it is necessary to develop an adequate search methodology (keyword search, search according to the names of authors, etc.), which requires knowledge of the English language and skills of translation of medical literature.

The volume of special information belonging to different fields of knowledge is rapidly growing in the modern world. However, the level of the specialist’s knowledge is largely determined by one of his most important professional qualities – the ability to work with the text containing necessary information, including the text in a foreign language. Nowadays, the problem of performing by a specialist this type of activity is one of the most urgent problems; and the knowledge of a foreign language is one of the conditions for its solution. The ability to perform effective information retrieval and work with sources of professionally relevant information is, on the whole, one of the factors of realizing the urgent tasks of the modern society and, first of all, optimizing the use of resources and time, as well as human efforts for scientific and technological development [2].

As a result of the analysis of the scientific sources, we have determined that vocational competence is an integral part of professional competence as an integrative quality of personality, the basis of which is intellectual activity aimed at developing skills to operate with professional foreign language terms and concepts, solve tasks of a professional nature with the help of the variety of linguistic means, have a sufficiently high level of communication skills and be able to perform cognitive, creative and professional activity in a foreign language environment. [3].

The in-depth study of the English language is especially important in postgraduate medical education. Deep knowledge of English is necessary for full-fledged research and development, since without this knowledge, it is impossible to use information of evidence-based medicine; it is extremely difficult to work with medical and laboratory equipment. Young specialists are not fully able to take advantage of the capabilities of the modern computer and information technology to solve professional problems. Knowledge of the English language is necessary for conducting theoretical and experimental studies, preparing theses, abstracts, reviews, reports, publication of papers, participation in conferences.

The importance of profound knowledge of English is also declared in the basic principles of Karaganda State Medical University. Its knowledge will promote the development and strengthening of partnerships at the national and international levels, ensuring high competitiveness of the university in the internal and external markets of educational services, scientific, clinical and innovative activities.

Medical translation is an expression (in written or oral form) of special scientific and medical information that has already been expressed in another language, by its means. Distinctive difficulties in the translation of medical literature are the abundance of abbreviations, the availability of many special terms, grammatical and stylistic features of texts.

The importance of the equivalence of medical translation is extremely considerable, it seems appropriate to quote Hippocrates: “Do no harm,” because inaccurate translation can lead to improper treatment, and even to the death. The case of Willy Ramirez will suffice to illustrate this point. The 18-year-old Mexican entered the Florida hospital in a coma in 1980. The friends who brought him to the hospital did not speak English. In conversation, they often used the word “intoxicado”. As it turned out later, they sincerely believed that Willie could poison himself with poor-quality food. There was no interpreter in the hospital, so the doctors were forced to seek help from a medical orderly who spoke both languages. But it is one thing to speak a foreign language, and it is quite another one to be able to translate from one language into another language, especially taking into account all the subtleties of special terminology. Medical orderly translated the Spanish word “intoxicado” as the English word “intoxicated” – a state of alcoholic or narcotic intoxication. Doctors began to give him drugs specifically from drug overdose, especially since some symptoms were similar. After a while it turned out that Ramirez had a cerebral hemorrhage, which could have been avoided if the doctors had given the right medicines. The young man was paralyzed, and he remained an invalid for life. The word “intoxicado” is now known as a “71 million dollar word”, because it was Willy who was paid exactly that kind of cash compensation.

When translating medical terms from the English language, there are such difficulties as the discrepancy in the grammatical structure of languages, the possible ambiguity of the term, the variability of the composition and the heterogeneity of modern special terminology, as well as the complexities associated with the developed system of abbreviation and the tendency to shorten terms. Modern authors also note the additional difficulties that arise when the interpreter does not understand the appropriate terminology in the translating language, does not understand the subject of speech, does not know how to use the dictionary properly, when the translator lacks background knowledge about the country of the language.

When translating international and pseudo-international terms, the interpreter must take into account the differences in the traditions of their use in English and Russian-speaking medical practice; take into account the asymmetry of the volume of values of English and Russian terms; carefully analyze the context; use special reference literature (monolingual and bilingual dictionaries). When translating into Russian the terminological neologisms, it should be remembered that the language elements do not necessarily require a literal translation (dictionary correspondence). A feature of the translation of terminological neologisms is the impossibility of preserving the sequence of components of the original term due to typological differences in the grammatical systems of the English and Russian languages, which dictates the need for using a combined translation. [4].

Educational aim of the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” is learning and development of practical skills of translation from English into a mother tongue and vice versa and formation of the basis of the terminological competence required for professional interaction.

Learning outcomes:

  • knowledge of translation peculiarities of anatomical, clinical, pharmaceutical terms from English into a mother tongue and vice versa;
  • understanding of authentic texts of professional directions, mentality peculiarity, national character and household culture of English speaking community;
  • applying knowledge and understanding in practice: to develop skills of evaluate, comprehend critically and process scientific information obtained in English;
  • pronouncing points of view, evaluation of ideas and forming of conclusions: to develop ability to solve independently particular tasks of professional activity while translating;
  • reproducing personal understanding and skills: to have skills of organized efficient partnership in conditions of group professional communication;
  • ability to continue further individual study: to demonstrate knowledge of basic principles of independent work on translation of original medical books.

The aim of the research is to assess the necessity of the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” within the framework of postgraduate medical education.


1. to develop a questionnaire on the need for the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” within the framework of postgraduate medical education.

2. to conduct questioning among master’s program students and residents of KSMU.

3. to develop recommendations for wider implementation of the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” within the framework of postgraduate medical education.

Material and methods: the survey was conducted among 20 master’s program students and 30 residents of KSMU. Methods:

– sociological research method (questionnaire);

– statistical, for processing the data obtained in research, using computer programs (Microsoft Excel, etc.).

Questionnaire covered the following issues:

1. Do you consider it necessary to study English medical literature?

A) it is necessary;

B) it is not necessary, all information is available in Russian and Kazakh;

C) sometimes there is a need.

2. How often do you use English medical literature?

A) often;

B) sometimes (1-2 times a year);

C) never.

3. What problems do you have when using English medical literature?

A) there are no problems, I freely translate and use new knowledge in my practical activities;

B) there are problems with translation and use of information written in English in practical medical activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan;

C) I do not use English medical literature.

4. Do you consider the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” useful?

A) yes;

B) no.

5. What problems of medical translation would you be interested in? (multiple answers may be considered)

A) grammatical features of medical translation;

B) special features of medical translation (terms, abbreviations, etc.);

C) other (indicate what would be interesting to you);

D) I do not consider the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” to be useful.

The results of the survey were as follows:

1. 100 % of the respondents consider it necessary to study English medical literature.

2. 64 % of the respondents often use English medical literature, 19 % – sometimes, 17 % – never.

3. 64 % of the respondents freely translate English medical literature and use information written in English in their practical activities; 19 % of the respondents have problems with translation; 17 % of the respondents have never used English medical literature.

4. 100 % of the respondents consider the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” to be useful.

5. 18 % of the respondents are interested in grammatical and special features of medical translation, 82 % of the respondents are interested only in grammatical features.


Medical translation is a very complex and time-consuming activity that requires a special approach. It can cover several directions and a range of texts at once. They include scientific articles and documents, medical reports and annotations to medications, excerpts from the history of disease and scientific research, etc. Therefore, both the reputation of a scientist and the life of a person will depend on the competence of the translator.

In order to improve the quality of postgraduate education, a wider use of English medical literature is necessary. In this connection, there is a need for an adequate translation, which is possible only with special knowledge. The introduction of the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation” will contribute to a more accurate understanding of the modern medical data by young specialists, and simplify their practical application. The course is focused on the learning and development of practical skills of translation from English into a mother tongue and vice versa. The main selection principle of educational material is the development of systemic concept of methods, means and strategies of lexical, grammar and stylistic units’ transformations during bilingual translation. Types of translation transformations are also considered.

The following issues will contribute to acquiring of in-depth knowledge in the elective discipline “Fundamentals of Medical Translation”:

A) The forms of medical translation. Full translation, abstract, annotation. Translation of medical records and patents.

B) Grammatical features of medical translation of scientific literature.

C) Medical abbreviations and acronyms. Graphic, lexical and syntactic abbreviations. The most commonly used abbreviations.

D) Medical terminology. Variants of translation of medical terms.

E) Translation of proper nouns. Transcription, transliteration.

F) Headlines of medical articles. Types and features of translation of English headlines.

G) Equivalence of the translation. Types of transformations in the translation process.

Thus, it should be noted the need to find options for expanding the teaching of a foreign language in the system of postgraduate professional education. The creation and inclusion of additional disciplines, such as “Fundamentals of medical translation”, can contribute to this task.

Our results are correlated with earlier studies and developmental principles not only of the university, but also of the state as a whole. For example, the emphasis on the in-depth study of the English language was made in the last message of the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan N. Nazarbayev to the people of Kazakhstan, January 10, 2018: “It is necessary to accelerate the creation of our own advanced educational system covering citizens of all ages. The key priority of educational programs should be the development of the capacity for constantly adaptation to changes and assimilation of new knowledge. The future of Kazakhstani is the deep knowledge of the Kazakh, Russian and English languages. It is necessary to update the training programs in technical and vocational education taking into account international requirements and digital skills ... Universities need to actively implement joint projects with leading foreign universities and research centers. It is required to attract foreign managers to universities, open campuses of world universities” [5].

In conclusion, we would like to express gratitude to our scientific advisor – the Head of Foreign Languages Department, c.p.s., associate professor V.A. Burmistrova.