Intended for healthcare professionals

Views & Reviews From the Frontline

Transforming translation

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 25 January 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e596
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner, Glasgow
  1. destwo{at}

I am British linguistically, barely able to order coffee in three broken European languages. Is it laziness? The truth is that there is no pressing incentive to learn different languages—I don’t live in Sweden. But I have travelled, getting by not badly with a phrase book and that internationally recognised lingo, exaggerated sign language. For much of communication is non-verbal.

Languages have become more of a concern in the past decade in the NHS, given the rise in immigration from around the world, even to inner city concrete tower blocks in Glasgow. Immigration …

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