Role of language in global health - your thoughts

14 August, 2019

Dear all,

In response to our editorial in the May issue of The Lancet Global Health (The true meaning of leaving no one behind https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30176-7/fulltext ) and a Comment on the importance of language in global health research (Plaidoyer contre l'exclusion des francophones dans la recherche en santé mondiale https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30175-5/fulltext - English version here https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30175-5/attachment/66111968-489c-4d8b-8893-c83a2e831021/mmc1.pdf), we have received letters from several regions of the world that show how much the issue resonates at various levels. We just published four of them in the current issue, in English and other relevant languages for each region:

English: the lingua franca of scientific research (Raoul Kamadjeu) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30258-X/fulltext [Click here for French version https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30258-X/attachment/23ce46ef-752e-4a4e-a616-ec6e8dbf29ef/mmc1.pdf]

Towards making global health research truly global (Senjuti Saha et al) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30259-1/fulltext [Click here for Bangla version https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30259-1/attachment/71c2673c-14d9-4d17-8638-c165da53c194/mmc1.pdf]

On the true meaning of leaving no one behind (Oscar J Mujica et al) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30257-8/fulltext [Click here for Spanish, Portuguese, and French versions] https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30257-8/attachment/f1167235-016a-4516-8f23-f6a773c3e9e0/mmc1.pdf

Reaching across the linguistic divide in management and leadership education (Erika Linnander et al) https://www.thelancet.com/journals/langlo/article/PIIS2214-109X(19)30256-6/fulltext [Click here for French version] https://www.thelancet.com/cms/10.1016/S2214-109X(19)30256-6/attachment/8324d8ae-5c90-4210-aad0-696b5821fe18/mmc1.pdf

What are your thoughts about the points raised in the letters? Should we just give in to the dominance of English as the language of global health or demand that other languages be given more space and consideration? Could artificial intelligence and improved machine translations be the solution? I would love to know what the HIFA community thinks of this.

All the best,

Anne

HIFA profile: Anne Roca is a Senior Editor at The Lancet Global Health, London, UK. Before joining The Lancet in 2016, she worked for the Pan American Health Organization for almost 10 years, as a Technical Advisor on topics related to epidemiology, multilingual information dissemination, and knowledge management. She was also an independent consultant for several years, assisting researchers, NGOs and other institutions in sharing the product of research through writing, editing, and management of information. She holds a Masters degree in Public Health from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a member of the HIFA working group on Multilingualism.

http://www.hifa.org/projects/multilingualism

http://www.hifa.org/support/members/anne-1

Email: a.roca AT lancet.com