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Translation Aid

A Practical Language Translation Aid for Health Care Professionals

We developed a practical tool for use by doctors, nurses and other allied health care professionals when they encounter a patient who does not speak English, especially when a translator is not immediately available.

To use this, simply use the pull down menu to select the language you need, and then either print out the 4 pages, or use them on the computer screen. You can link these files to a desktop. There is no charge for the use of this tool.

The translation list contains about 165 commonly used words and short-phrases for the 15 most commonly spoken languages in Ontario. We asked persons working in the health care field to phonetically translate these words into English. This means that each key word/phrase is written in English, read out loud in English, but as it sounds in the native language.

While we have done our best to make sure that the translations were done correctly, we cannot assume responsibility for errors that may exist, such as omission of important words, or incorrect translation or pronunciation of certain words. We also recommend contacting a patient's family member or friend, or finding a translator, when detailed information is required, such as patient consent for a procedure, or determining the nature of a complex patient problem. We hope that you can provide us with feedback to make this better.

You can e-mail us at:

Joel G Ray, MD, M.Sc., FRCPC
Chaim Bell, MD, PhD, FRCPC