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Impact of Language and Culture on Medical Writing

Language and Writing
Workshop profile:
Medical communicators who want to broaden their awareness of potential communication errors resulting from different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. In contrast to workshop PTF8 "Cross-Cultural Communication", which offers in-depth insight into cross-cultural working environments, this workshop will focus on cultural aspects that influence our medical writing and understanding.
Medical texts are often perceived as ‘culturally neutral’. English is now generally used as the lingua franca in medical and scientific documentation. It is claimed that using a ‘common language’ ensures comprehensibility across audiences with different linguistic and cultural backgrounds. Experience shows, however that various types of—sometimes subtle—cultural and linguistic issues arise in medical documentation despite this, because both the medical writer and the target audience have been shaped by their own cultural and linguistic backgrounds and approach the text with their individual previous knowledge. An awareness of some of the differences determined by background can help to avoid misunderstandings and communication errors. This workshop intends to raise the awareness of cultural issues in medical documentations and communication and to offer solutions of how to avoid them.
Previous title: Medical Writing in a Globalized Environment: Impact of Cultural and Linguistic Background in Medical Documentation We will look at the following questions: Where do cultural and linguistic issues come up in medical documentation? In what way are they relevant? How can we address them? How can we avoid typical pitfalls? Examples will focus on English, given its role as lingua franca.