Do we also need a common natural language for science?

Evidence-based medicine in Russia: the challenge and the hope

From: Scientific American Community » Blogs » Sciam Observations

by Merrill Goozner [SciAmEditors ]

Edited by Merrill Goozner at 06/16/2008 12:19 PM

© 1995-2007 Scientific American Inc.

The author interviewed Prof. Vasiliy Vlassov, "professor of research methodology at the Moscow Medical Academy and head of the Society of Specialists in Evidence-Based Medicine," about the state of medicine in Russia today.

Prof. Vlassov introduced two language related issues in his interview:

  1. Access to western medical literature is only available in English.
  2. An attempt to make the Journal of the American Medical Association available in Russian failed because of poor quality translations.

My Comments:

This article makes it clear that by having access to western medical literature Russian health care services would improve.

The language factor in this story confirms once again that language can save lives. Moreover, this article clearly shows a need for scientists to have a common natural language to communicate with and not just a common mathematical language.

In the distant past this common natural language was once, Greek, Latin, and in the Soviet Union, it was Russian. Today that natural language is English.

Ought professional ethical duties take precedence over political or national considerations? Should Russian doctors, and their equivalent world wide, learn English or wait of a translation?

Tags: English, Langauge, Russian, Medicine, "evidence based medicine", communication, translation

1 comment:

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