Friday, 9 May 2008

Haben sie schmerzen?

I'm always bemused by leaflets that say on them "please ask if you require this leaflet in other formats" If you only read braille - or Gujarati - how are you going to read that sentence to enable you to know that there is a leaflet for you? How many hospitals really keep leaflets in the complete range of possible languages, just in case?

Sometimes things are more pressing than a leaflet. That's when the Red Cross Emergency Multilingual Phrasebook is useful. It works a little like the menu in a Chinese restaurant - every phrase has a number allotted to it. So a number 10 is "have you any pain?", a 20 is "do your ankles swell?" and 25 is "do you smoke?" You select the question from your English version and point to the same number on the foreign language version. All the questions require a yes, no or pointing at something answer. Really very ingenious.

There is a Link to the resource in the National Library for health specialist library on Ethnicity and Health. The library covers cultural issues and illnesses specific to some ethnic groups.

Another communication resource is Sign Translate, which translates from English to British Sign Language and 12 minority languages.

Language isn't the only difference in health. The BBC has a guide to religions, so if you want to know how Mormons feel about contraception, or the Muslim thinking on abortion it's the place to visit. Ethnicity Online from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cambridgeshire WDC is no longer being updated, but has a range of resources around ethnicity. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (which replaced the Commission for Racial Equality among others) has information on rights around race.

We've plenty of books in the library covering cultural issues and the different customs around health and especially death and dying.

(c) creative commons attributed

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