Publication details [#5719]

Rouleau, Maurice. 1995. La langue médicale: une langue de spécialité à emprunter le temps d'une traduction [Medical language: switching into LSP when translating]. In Boulanger, Jean-Claude, ed. Technolectes et dictionnaires [Technolects and dictionaries]. Special issue of Traduction Terminologie Rédaction (TTR) 8 (2): 29–50.
Publication type
Article in Special issue
Publication language


Since an LSP develops out of the perceived need of specialists to intercommunicate in a precise and non-ambiguous manner, the use of such a language will necessarily be restricted to insiders, i.e. specialists. It is not sufficient that the translator be familiar with the terms and expressions of a given LSP; he or she must also be able to incorporate them into a coherent discourse that faithfully reflects the usages peculiar to that field of specialization. These particularities of use embrace the terms employed: the way they have developed and the relevance of their etymology; the needs that impelled the creation of these terms; the specific use of adjectives. The particularities of use also extend to the discursive framework: the choice of preposition, the use of tenses, and so on. Learning an LSP is, thus, in many respects similar to learning a second language. Translators who specialize in the field of medicine must be familiar with medical language if they wish to produce an idiomatic text. However, like all specialists, they will only use this language in the exercise of their profession; once the translation is finished, they will switch back to normal discourse.
Source : Abstract in journal