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Languages for Medical Doctors?

 Language Learning Forum : Languages & Work Post Reply
23 messages over 3 pages: 13  Next >>
Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 3654 days ago

498 posts - 905 votes 
Speaks: Russian*, English
Studies: Spanish, Greek, Azerbaijani

 Message 9 of 23
01 May 2013 at 1:19am | IP Logged 
Medulin wrote:

In Brazil, Doctors without borders use only Brazilian Portuguese, since their work in Brazil is restricted to doctors with Brazilian citizenship. No foreign (that is non-Brazilian) doctors allowed. This restriction was imposed by the Brazilian government, in order to protect Amerindians.

What do you mean? Protect them how?
2 persons have voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3271 days ago

1199 posts - 2192 votes 
Speaks: Croatian*, English, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Norwegian, Hindi, Nepali

 Message 10 of 23
01 May 2013 at 8:59pm | IP Logged 
I don't know. If you kill an Amerindian in Brazil you are jailed for good. If you kill a non-Indian, you get 10-20 years. Amerindians are more protected in Brazil than regular Brazilians. Health of Amerindians is more cared for by the state than the health of nonAmerindians: C3%A7%C3%A3o_%C3%A0_Sa%C3%BAde_dos_Povos_Ind%C3%ADgenas C3%A7%C3%A3o_%C3%A0_Sa%C3%BAde_dos_Povos_Ind%C3%ADgenas
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 3769 days ago

3335 posts - 4349 votes 
Speaks: Portuguese*, Norwegian, French, English, Italian, Papiamento
Studies: Mandarin, Georgian, Russian

 Message 11 of 23
02 May 2013 at 11:06pm | IP Logged 
"Jailed for good" doesn't exist in Brazil. I don't see where this assumption comes from.
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Senior Member
Czech Republic
Joined 3612 days ago

3277 posts - 6778 votes 
Speaks: Czech*, FrenchC2, EnglishC1
Studies: Spanish, German, Italian

 Message 12 of 23
03 May 2013 at 12:18am | IP Logged 
Well, looks like our translators are a bit faster than the Croatians and we have a lot of
original textbooks (I just got an awesome new one, better than the foreign ones. But that
is more of an exception). This varies a lot. Friends who were abroad for some time have
typically two kinds of experience: most is done/learnt/spoken about in English (for
exemple in Thaiwan), or most is in the language of the country and the English spoken is
quite a crappy one.

I just realized there is one language, apart from Spanish, that you might find extremely
useful. The Sign Language. I have witnessed once how complicated is communication between
a deaf patient and doctor not knowing the SL. Yes, they got things done but it would have
been much more comfortable and practical for both sides had they used the language. So,
that might be an option to consider.
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Trilingual Triglot
Joined 2849 days ago

39 posts - 43 votes
Speaks: English*, Tagalog*
Studies: German*, Japanese
Studies: Hungarian

 Message 13 of 23
07 June 2013 at 4:44pm | IP Logged 
I agree with Spanish especially if you wish to practice in the USA.

Also, the trend in other countries in Asia is medical tourism. For example, many people
(especially from Japan or Korea) go to the Philippines or Thailand for certain procedures
as they can get quality inexpensive medical services. It would help if one can speak
Japanese, Korean, Chinese or even Arabic.
1 person has voted this message useful

Senior Member
Joined 2856 days ago

544 posts - 1141 votes 
Speaks: Finnish*, English, Swedish
Studies: Russian

 Message 14 of 23
15 June 2013 at 12:11pm | IP Logged 
I'm applying for medical school and I want to specialize in neurology too. I'm pretty sure learning languages as a neurologist would be greatly beneficial, because many of the neurological diseases people have impaire or prevent their self expression, especially through a language that is not the person's native one, so knowing that person's native language be it English, Spanish or Chinese would not harm if not outright improve your capabilities of communicating and treating your patient. All languages have their own concepts of pain and it is rather mandatory to know what sort of pain is in question.

If you were to learn Finnish and practice medicine here for example, you should really know the differences between särky, kirvely, polttelu, jomotus, polte, tuska, viiltävä/pistävä kipu and so on.
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Senior Member
Russian Federation
Joined 5200 days ago

9753 posts - 15778 votes 
4 sounds
Speaks: Russian*, English, FinnishC1, Latin, German, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese
Studies: Danish, Romanian, Polish, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Croatian, Slovenian, Catalan, Czech, Galician, Dutch, Swedish

 Message 15 of 23
15 June 2013 at 7:19pm | IP Logged 
Actually the lack of cognates is a far more important issue, as demonstrated here ;)
(I knew all of these, a tad unsure about viiltävä maybe)
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New Zealand
Joined 3461 days ago

37 posts - 78 votes 
Speaks: English*, Spanish
Studies: French, Yiddish, Latin, German, Italian

 Message 16 of 23
04 August 2013 at 2:37pm | IP Logged 
I am a second year doctor in New Zealand.

English of course is by far the most useful language for a doctor to be fluent in for both research and caring for patients.

For reading journal articles, most articles are published in English, although occasionally you will find something that
isn't and will only have the abstract translated. These are rare but they tend to be French or German articles, although
I've seen Portuguese, Finnish and others.

For day to day clinical work, besides English, the choice will really depend on what is spoken by patients in your region.
In Auckland, New Zealand where I work, speaking Mandarin, Hindi and Samoan would be very useful. I have only had the
opportunity to use Spanish twice, and I have never had a Japanese or French patient.

I'm fairly sure it isn't just a problem here, but many elderly emmigrate to different countries and do not learn the local
language despite living there upwards of 10 years and despite having free language courses to attend. I don't know what the
reason for this is: laziness? arrogance? fear? a way of holding power over their family? not realising that they are capable?
their family not supporting them to learn it? something else? This is a huge problem when they need to seek medical attention.

Latin and Ancient Greek are not very useful and I have gotten by without explicitly learning them. Obviously many diseases
and body parts are named in Latin however this doesn't require you to know much about Latin grammar.

Edited by jeronz on 04 August 2013 at 2:40pm

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