Medical Chinese for health workers

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  • Updated.jpg This entry is out of date, and will not be updated, August 2018


See also Aboriginal health | Finding health information for British Columbians Bc flag.png | Medical Punjabi for health workers | Multilingual resources for patients

Several start-ups produce medical translation apps such as Canopy Apps via iTunes Canopy Medical Translator.

What is medical Chinese?

Medical Chinese is a starting point " help the medical interviewer learn to conduct a simple but thorough history and physical examination in Chinese. This includes a combination of words, simple phrases, and intermediate-level sentences, arranged under sections for taking a medical history and for physical examination, as well as a glossary of body parts/organs and common diseases. Some knowledge of basic Chinese is helpful." (See also Medical Punjabi for health workers)


The purpose of this entry is to help those who want to communicate with Chinese Canadians in health settings by steering them to useful websites, and other information. Information on medical Chinese is focussed on translation or basic terms for speakers but is difficult to locate. Canadian medical schools are working on developing medical Chinese curricula and compiling lists of materials for students who want culturally-sensitive information for Chinese-speakers. The goal of this wiki entry is to help reduce linguistic and cultural barriers for UBC medical faculty and students. The Chinese American Medical Society (NYU Medical School) has developed a programme for Medical Chinese and a Medical Chinese Teaching Module. The National Library of Medicine also produces an excellent series of lists entitled Asian American Health. Medical education and primary care need to address issues of culture, language, and health literacy in communicating with these patients so that appropriate questions are asked, and accurate information is exchanged between patients and their providers. However, the content presented above, while useful, is not always relevant in the Canadian context.

Canadian & international contexts

In Canadian urban centres, especially in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal (though not exclusively), growing numbers of Chinese-speaking citizens and communities are built around a blend of Canadian and Asian cultures. Canadian society is extremely diverse; and this is reflected in the many languages and ethnic groups spoken across the country. Increasingly, those same, numerous ethnic, cultural and linguistic groups come to health libraries to seek assistance from health librarians. Often, their goals are to find information in their mother tongue about Canadian health care or how to obtain reliable information about diseases, diagnostic tests and medical procedures. Within most institutions, there are often patient education materials written specifically by nurses and other health workers to communicate with Chinese-speaking patients.

Due to a high number of Chinese-speaking patients in the United States, MedlinePlus (U.S.) provides access to health information in Chinese.

Patient education materials


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Cultural competencies are important in delivering patient care

US links


Several start-ups produce medical translation apps such as Canopy Apps via iTunes Canopy Medical Translator.


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