Program Archive
Viewing convention Program information from 2009

Session Details

Tuesday, 29 December

586. Translation and Medicine

9:00–10:15 p.m., 308, Philadelphia Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Thomas Lawrence Long, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

Presider's Annotation:
Adopting the theme for the 2009 annual convention of the Modern Language Association, the special session Translation and Medicine offers rhetorical, historical, and methodological analyses of medical and nursing discourses and practices. The panel of one physician, two nurses, and a respondent who is a scholar of English appointed to a nursing school limn “translation” as a linguistic, cultural, professional, and figurative phenomenon. Medicine and nursing are fundamentally semiotic: symptoms are somatic signs that the health practitioner must read and translate into a diagnosis, a diagnosis that must be translated into a treatment, with both the technical diagnosis and treatment requiring translation for the patient’s comprehension. In “The Widening Gyre: Transcription and Translation in the Medical Sciences” Rishi Goyal, MD, MPhil, senior resident in the Department of Emergency Medicine at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, offers a rhetorical analysis of the trope of “translation,” a nested metaphor that appears in genetics (the “transcription” and “translation” of the molecules of DNA), in the transfer of the laboratory science of genetics into medical treatment (“translational medicine”), and in the communication between physician and patient (in which the technical language of diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis are translated into lay terms). In “Nursing: In a Language They Can Understand” Anne R. Bavier, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the University of Connecticut School of Nursing, offers an historical analysis of the professionalization of nursing, as a field of technical practice and as a discipline of scientific research in which a variety of forms of translation have occurred. In “Challenges of Translation in Instrument Development” Elizabeth Lee, PhD, FNP-BC, a nurse researcher, offers a methodological analysis of her recent study of linguistic and cultural translation of a widely used clinical assessment instrument (originally developed in American English) for readers whose primary language is Chinese.

1. “The Widening Gyre: Transcription and Translation in the Medical Sciences,” Rishi Goyal, Columbia Univ.

2. “Nursing: In a Language They Can Understand,” Anne Bavier, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

3. “Challenges of Translation in Instrument Development,” Elizabeth Lee, Temple Hill Acad.

Author Comment
Subject: Thanks
My thanks to the three fine presenters and to the audience who braved the chill and the last session of the last night of the convention.