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Main arrow Archive of previous Issues arrow ╣4 2012 (26) arrow Establishing priorities for translation of WHO publications into russian based on expert survey
Establishing priorities for translation of WHO publications into russian based on expert survey Print
Monday, 08 October 2012

A.A. Kulikov
Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the Office of the United Nations and other international organizations, Geneva, Switzeland

Summary. In the article, the problem of multilingualism in the World Health Organization (WHO) is studied. Using the historical analysis, it is demonstrated that multilingualism was laid as the basis of WHO activity. WHO uses 6 official languages (English, Arabic, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and French). All official documents are translated into these languages. But not all WHO publications are translated. Herewith, up to the present time the decision about translating WHO publications was determined mainly by WHO programs with no consultations with the member-states. At the present time, we have an urgent need to change the priorities in translating WHO publications into official languages and introduce the procedure of consultation with the member-states. Expert survey was carried out to establish priorities in WHO publication translation into Russian. Leading researchers engaged in the institutes of the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation and the Russian Academy of Medical Sciences, including Professors, Deans, Heads of University departments and Rectors of Medical Universities, were interviewed together with Directors of Health care departments of Russian regions and chief physicians of multi-field hospitals. In total there were 84 experts recruited. Expert poll was carried out on a voluntary basis. The results of the expert survey has demonstrated that WHO publications are very important and reliable information sources for many experts, they widely use WHO publications in their work, but the majority of users prefer to read WHO publications in Russian as it helps to save time to reviewing the information and gives the opportunity to present official references while preparing documents and proposals for health care authorities, for providing researches and publication of scientific articles. But, the number of WHO publications translated into Russian is less than required. While establishing priorities of translation WHO publications in Russian, most experts believe that analytical and statistical information should be translated first of all, as well as methodical publications on new research methods, data processing, etc. More than a half of the experts identified WHO clinical guidelines as important information needed to be translated. It is desired to increase the number of pages of the WHO and WHO EURO web sites that should be translated into Russian especially those concerning such urgent problems as statistics, health systems, non-communicable diseases. It is also necessary to develop a more user-friendly search engine for Russian readers.

Keywords. World Health Organization, multilingualism, Russian language, priorities, expert survey.


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