Translating for Laymen

Inger Askehave, Karen Korning Zethsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearch


This article presents some of the final results of a Danish research project concerning the readability and user‐friendliness of patient package inserts translated from English into Danish. According to EU legislation, product information about medicine — the so‐called patient package insert – must be included with all pharmaceutical products in order to inform and protect consumers. However, sometimes, instead of informing consumers, patient package inserts confuse and perhaps even scare them. There are two major reasons for unsuccessful inserts. The first is the relation between the expert language used in the product summary (which is meant for pharmaceutical experts) and the non‐expert language required for the insert. The second factor is weaknesses in translations of inserts from English into Danish. In this article we will focus on the translation factors. Using examples of Danish patient package inserts translated from English we will discuss pitfalls in these translations, introducing the notion of competing skopoi in relation to the end‐users of the target text.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives - Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)15-29
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2002
Externally publishedYes

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