Cultural Differences with Medicine

Cultural Differences with Medicine | One Hour Translation

Over the past years there’s been a huge increase in people from Eastern countries migrating to the West, all looking for a better quality of life, and this includes better working conditions.

Over the past years there’s been a huge increase in people from Eastern countries migrating to the West, all looking for a better quality of life, and this includes better working conditions.

From a medical perspective, and by this we mean health professionals ranging from pharmacists to clinicians, this can often be quite infused by the demands of some patients or clients for what we might call ‘unconventional drugs’, such as medicinal plants.

Unconventional Treatments by Western Standards

These treatments that are being requested are often completely alien to our culture, but at best they might be harmless and at worst perhaps counter-productive. This doesn’t change the fact that patients are often misunderstood, or are hesitant to speak with a professional for these types of alternative treatments.

Miscommunication in the Medical Field Can Be Dangerous

As medical translators, we can certainly understand the havoc that can be caused by miscommunication, or no communication at all; and one can only imagine the damage this might cause in the medical arena. That’s why it’s so important to translate treatments or medications used in other cultures to enable health professionals to become more aware and to acquire new knowledge, thus knowing what their patients are talking about and to be able to provide the service that they are requesting.

‘Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Maghreb’

The downloadable online publication called Guide to the Medicinal Plants of Maghreb shows intercultural understanding, with the underlying reason for this work being the increasing influx of immigrants from Maghreb (North Africa) to Barcelona in Spain. Clearly highlighted in this book is the need for intercultural understanding due to the phenomena of immigration.

According to this book, these people, particularly in the early days of contact with our culture (meaning from the time of their arrival until their adaptation to the new environment) require a level of understanding of their characteristics and their circumstances by the indigenous population. Regarding patient care, the book points out that it can be very difficult for physicians to make a proper diagnosis, and because of this, conventional medicine in conjunction with traditional, concomitant remedies from other cultures must be considered.