Medical resources and contacts in non-english languages

Doctor, Patient and Society 420, UBC Medicine, Self-Directed project 2006-2007






"When I am sick, I am not bilingual." (Drouin and Rivet, 2003)


British Columbia is home to diverse multicultural groups speaking languages other than english as their primary tongue. However, the majority of health care practitioners interact with their patients in English. The province offers translation services (Provincial Language Service), however access is limited, the service is costly, and patients prefer interacting directly with a physician. A survey of the French speaking population of the Lower Mainland indicated that patients do not favour the use of medical translators and  wait much longer periods prior to seeking medical attention for health concerns when it would be necessary to utilize these services or attempt to communicate with a doctor in english (Resosante, 2005).


Many medical students and medical professionals possess skills in languages other than English (see statistics for UBC medicine classes of 2009 and 2010). As medical students, we feel that offering medical care in a patient’s first language may greatly increase that patient’s ease, understanding, and facilitate diagnostic and emotional support. This website was developed as part of a DPAS 420 independent project, to provide resources, opportunities and contacts for students wishing to gain medical vocabulary and experience practicing medicine in their second languages.