Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
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Development of Circulating Support Environment of Multilingual Medical Communication using Parallel Texts for Foreign Patients

Authors: Mai Miyabe, Taku Fukushima, Takashi Yoshino, Aguri Shigeno


The need for multilingual communication in Japan has increased due to an increase in the number of foreigners in the country. When people communicate in their nonnative language, the differences in language prevent mutual understanding among the communicating individuals. In the medical field, communication between the hospital staff and patients is a serious problem. Currently, medical translators accompany patients to medical care facilities, and the demand for medical translators is increasing. However, medical translators cannot necessarily provide support, especially in cases in which round-the-clock support is required or in case of emergencies. The medical field has high expectations from information technology. Hence, a system that supports accurate multilingual communication is required. Despite recent advances in machine translation technology, it is very difficult to obtain highly accurate translations. We have developed a support system called M3 for multilingual medical reception. M3 provides support functions that aid foreign patients in the following respects: conversation, questionnaires, reception procedures, and hospital navigation; it also has a Q&A function. Users can operate M3 using a touch screen and receive text-based support. In addition, M3 uses accurate translation tools called parallel texts to facilitate reliable communication through conversations between the hospital staff and the patients. However, if there is no parallel text that expresses what users want to communicate, the users cannot communicate. In this study, we have developed a circulating support environment for multilingual medical communication using parallel texts. The proposed environment can circulate necessary parallel texts through the following procedure: (1) a user provides feedback about the necessary parallel texts, following which (2) these parallel texts are created and evaluated.

Keywords: multilingual medical communication, parallel texts

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

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