Translation Problems caused by Social Gaps

Junji Eguchi

19 November 2003


As there are many differences in medical systems between Japan and those in other countries, some terms seem hard to translate accurately. I will bring up some examples of my longtime questions for discussion, and would like to grope for the best (second best) solutions with the audience. Also I would like to ask the audience about the difference (nuance) of some terms. Especially, the "feelings" or "impressions" of native English speakers should be welcomed.

医学部 (igakubu) the medical department.
医科大学 (ikadaigaku) a medical college [university].

*Japanese-English translations are taken from Kenkyusha's Shin-Eiwa Chujiten.

* Also I presented an extra question regarding the naming of the facilities in one medical university, which is as follows:

大学 (daigaku) Medical University
医学部 (igakubu) Faculty of Medicine
医学科 (igakuka) School of Medicine

I think it is unnatural as English hierarchy that "School" is under "Faculty," and "Department" should be used in place of "School," but a retired teacher of the university told me that they did not like to use "Department" because this term is used to define each course under "igakuka." (like "循環器内科: Department of Cardiology," although this may be the usage mainly used in hospitals).

If anybody knows similar cases of naming in American or European universities, your advise is welcomed.

MD [abbrev.] Doctor of Medicine. [from L. Medicinae Doctor.]
PhD [abbrev.] Doctor of Philosophy. [from L. Philosophiae Doctor.]

*English definitions are taken from Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

[Jpn] [Practical Translation (?)] [Formal Translation]
医学士 (igakushi) Doctor of Medicine (MD) Bachelor of Medicine
医学博士 (igaku-hakushi) Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) Doctor of Medical Science

* One of the audience said that MD is the titles for clinician and PhD is that for researchers, and "PhD in Medical Science" is not unnatural to him (despite the comment ・ in Appendix II).

director [n.]

  1. a person who is in charge of an activity, department, or organization.
  2. a member of the managing board of a business.
  3. a person who directs a film, play, etc.
Example     ○○○○, MD

Clinical Director, Adult Leukemia Program
Department of Adult Oncology
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

What should be the best translation?

社長 (shacho) president (CEO?)
副社長 (hukushacho) vice-president
取締役 (torishimariyaku) director / executive
 専務 (senmu) managing (executive) director
 常務 (joumu) managing (executive) director (★(英)ではa managing directorは「社長」).
 執行役員 (shikko-yakuin) operating (corporate) officer
部長 (bucho) the head [chief, director] of a department [section]
課長 (kacho) the chief [head] of a section; a section chief.
係長 (kakaricho) a subsection chief
主任 (shunin) a chief; a head; a manager

* Too many rankings in Japanese company!

* One of the audience said that director of what is not so important in US society (unlike in Japanese society), and another audience said that the structure differs in companies, and the power and role of "director" can be varied in each company.

助教授 an assistant professor; an associate professor (准教授) (★「准教授」(associate professor) の地位は「正教授」(full professor) と「助教授」(assistant professor) の間にくる).

full professor [n.] <chiefly N.Amer.> a professor of the highest grade in a university.
associate professor [n.] <N.Amer.>an academic ranking immediately below full professor.
assistant professor [n.] <N.Amer.> an academic ranking immediately below an associate professor.
instructor [n.] <N.Amer.> a university teacher ranking below assistant professor.
  lecturer [n.] a person who gives lectures, especially as a teacher in higher education.
  emeritus [adj.] having retired but allowed to retain a title as an honour:

[Jpn] [Eng]
教授 (kyouju) (full) professor
 名誉教授 (meiyo-kyouju) emeritus professor
 主任教授 (shunin-kyouju) professor & chairman
助教授 (jokyouju) associate professor
講師 (koushi) assistant professor
助手 (joshu) (assistant) instructor

* One of the audience said that "Associate Professor" is recommended for Jokyouju and "Lecturer" for Joshu by 文部科学省(Monbu-Kagakusho; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology).

Health Maintenance Organization, HMO

An HMO is the most common form of managed care. All health services are delivered and paid for through one organization, often under one roof. An HMO requires its participants to use only certain health providers and hospitals, usually those within its own network. See also IPA, PHO, POS, and PPO. (taken from Mental Health Glossary)

Jpn Translation for HMO:

健康維持組織 (kenko-iji-sosiki) 123 hits in Google search
健康維持機構 (kenko-iji-kiko) 75 hits
健康医療団体 (kenko-iryo-dantai) 53 hits
健康管理機関 (kenko-kanri-kikan) 23 hits
健康維持機関 (kenko-iji-kikan) 8 hits

cf. Jpn. Translation of World Health Organization (WHO)

世界保健機関 (sekai-hoken-kikan) 555,000 hits (MOFA [外務省], WHO Kobe Center)
  世界保健機構 (sekai-hoken-kiko) 55,100 hits (formerly used)

*Does anybody know why the Japanese name of WHO was changed?

* One of the American audience said that the HMO system is very complicated even for Americans, and it seemed very hard to me to simply define the actual image of HMO. Also, none of the Japanese audience seemed to be satisfied with either of the Japanese translations as above.

biologic not listed in COED; defined as the synonym of biological in Readers' and Shin-Eiwa Chujiten.
biological [adj.] of or relating to biology or living organisms.

cf. economic [adj.] of or relating to economics or the economy.
    economical [adj.] giving good value or return in relation to the resources or money expended.

Despite the definitions above, Stedman's Medical Dictionary lists 10 terms including "biologic," not "biological": biologic assay; -- chemistry; -- control; -- evolution; -- hemolysis; -- immunotherapy; -- psychiatry; -- response modifier; -- time; -- valve; -- vector.
Also Stedman's lists 4 terms including "biological": biological coefficient; -- half-life; -- sampling; -- standard unit.
Although Stedman's defines "biologic" and "biological" in the same column, I wonder what is the difference of those two adjectives.

* I am sorry that we could not discuss this topic because of time limitation.


Two special guests were present at the meeting; Mr. Tom Lang, Principal of Tom Lang Communications and Training, and Dr. MaryAnn Foote, Director of the Medical Writing Department at Amgen Inc.

A Certificate of Appreciation was presented to Mr. Tom Lang in recognition of outstanding and generous contributions to MITA and his significant promotion of understanding of medical writing, medical communications, and medical statistics in Japan.



Appendix I : English names of 大学医学部・医科大学 [back to TOP]

1. School of Medicine or Medical University

In Universities (having multiple departments/faculties, 「大学医学部」), "School of Medicine" and "Medical School" are mainly used (42 in 56 cases). In "Graduate Universities (大学院大学)," "Graduate School of Medicine" seems to be the standard name.

In Colleges (not having other department/faculty, 「医科大学」) , "Medical University" is most used (14 in 33 cases), however "School of Medicine," "Medical School," and "Medical College" are also used (8, 6, 5 cases respectively). Some 医科大学 changed their names as "Medical University" from "Medical College" when they established 看護学部/学科 (School [or Department] of Nursing).


総合大学 (Sogodaigaku)

医科大学 (Ikadaigaku)

School of Medicine 42 (75.0%) 8 (22.2%)
  ・・・ University School of Medicine
  School of Medicine, ・・・ University
  Graduate School of Medicine
Medical School 3 (5.4%) 6 (16.7%)
Faculty of Medicine 11 (19.6%)
  ・・・ University Faculty of Medicine
  Faculty of Medicine, ・・・ University
5 6
College of Medicine 1 (2.8%)
Medical College 5 (13.9%)
University of Medicine 1 (2.8%)
University of Medical Science 1 (2.8%)
Medical University 14 (38.9%)
Total 56 33

2. Worldwide tendency

Hits in Google
Medical School 6,990,000  
School of Medicine 5,800,000  
College of Medicine 1,750,000  
Medical College 1,420,000  
Faculty of Medicine 1,190,000 mainly used in British Commonwealth? (Canada, Australia, etc.)
University of Medicine 1,130,000 mainly used as "University of Medicine and ..." pattern
Medical University 409,000  
Faculty of Medical Sciences 18,300  
University of Medical Sciences 6,990 mainly used in Iran?

3. List of all 大学医学部・医科大学 in Japanese and English

【総合大学 "Universities"】

北海道大学大学院医学研究科/医学部 Hokkaido University School of Medicine
弘前大学医学部 Hirosaki University School of Medicine
東北大学大学院医学系研究科/医学部 Tohoku University School of Medicine
秋田大学医学部 Akita University School of Medicine
山形大学医学部 Yamagata University School of Medicine
筑波大学医学専門学群 University of Tsukuba School of Medicine
群馬大学医学部 Gunma University Faculty of Medicine
千葉大学大学院医学研究院 Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University
日本大学医学部 Nihon University School of Medicine
帝京大学医学部 Teikyo University School of Medicine
順天堂大学医学部 Juntendo University School of Medicine
東京医科歯科大学大学院医歯学総合研究科 Graduate School, Tokyo Medical and Dental University
   ―医学部 Tokyo Medical and Dental University School of Medicine
東京大学大学院医学系研究科 Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
   ―医学部 Faculty of Medicine, The University of Tokyo
慶應義塾大学医学部 School of Medicine, Keio University
昭和大学医学部 Showa University School of Medicine
東邦大学医学部医学科 School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Toho University
杏林大学医学部 Kyorin University School of Medicine
浜市立大学医学部 Yokohama City University School of Medicine
北里大学医学部 School of Medicine, Kitasato University
東海大学医学部 School of Medicine, Tokai University
新潟大学医歯学総合研究科/医学部 Niigata University Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences
富山医科薬科大学医学部 Faculty of Medicine, Toyama Medical and Pharmaceutical University
金沢大学大学院医学系研究科 Kanazawa University Graduate School of Medicine
   ―医学部 Kanazawa University School of Medicine
信州大学医学部 Shinshu University School of Medicine
岐阜大学医学部 School of Medicine, Gifu University
名古屋大学大学院医学系研究科 Nagoya University Graduate School of Medicine
   ―医学部 Nagoya University School of Medicine
名古屋市立大学大学院医学系研究科 Nagoya City University Graduate School of Medical Sciences
   ―医学部 Nagoya City University Medical School
藤田保健衛生大学医学部 Fujita Health University School of Medicine
三重大学医学部 Mie University Faculty of Medicine
京都大学大学院医学研究科 Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine
   ―医学部 Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine
大阪大学大学院医学系研究科 Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine
   ―医学部 Osaka University Faculty of Medicine
大阪市立大学大学院医学研究科/医学部 Osaka City University Medical School
近畿大学医学部 Kinki University School of Medicine
神戸大学大学院医学系研究科 Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine
   ―医学部 Kobe University School of Medicine
鳥取大学医学部 Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University
岡山大学大学院医歯学総合研究科 Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry
広島大学大学院医歯薬学総合研究科/医学部 Hiroshima University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences
山口大学医学部 Yamaguchi University School of Medicine
徳島大学医学部 School of Medicine, The University of Tokushima
愛媛大学医学部 Ehime University School of Medicine
九州大学大学院医学研究院/医学部 Faculty of Medical Sciences, Kyushu University
福岡大学医学部 School of Medicine, Fukuoka University
久留米大学医学部 Kurume University School of Medicine
長崎大学大学院医歯薬学総合研究科/医学部 Nagasaki University School of Medicine
熊本大学医学部 Kumamoto University Medical School
鹿児島大学医学部 Faculty of Medicine, Kagoshima University
琉球大学医学部 Faculty of Medicine, University of the Ryukyus

【医科大学 "Colleges"】

札幌医科大学 Sapporo Medical College
旭川医科大学 Asahikawa Medical College
岩手医科大学医学部 Iwate Medical University School of Medicine
福島県立医科大学 Fukushima Medical University
自治医科大学 Jichi Medical School
獨協医科大学 Dokkyo University School of Medicine
埼玉医科大学 Saitama Medical School
防衛医科大学校医学教育部 School of Medicine, National Defense Medical College
日本医科大学 Nippon Medical School
東京医科大学 Tokyo Medical University
東京女子医科大学 Tokyo Women's Medical University
東京慈恵会医科大学 The Jikei University School of Medicine
聖マリアンナ医科大学 St. Marianna University School of Medicine
金沢医科大学 Kanazawa Medical University
福井医科大学* Fukui Medical University
山梨医科大学* Yamanashi Medical University
浜松医科大学 Hamamatsu University School of Medicine
愛知医科大学医学部 Aichi Medical University School of Medicine
滋賀医科大学* Shiga University of Medical Science
京都府立医科大学 Kyoto Prefectural University of Medicine
関西医科大学 Kansai Medical University
大阪医科大学 Osaka Medical College
兵庫医科大学 Hyogo College of Medicine
奈良県立医科大学 Nara Medical University
和歌山県立医科大学 Wakayama Medical University
島根医科大学* Shimane Medical University
川崎医科大学 Kawasaki Medical School
香川医科大学* Kagawa Medical University
高知医科大学* Kochi Medical School
産業医科大学 School of Medicine, University of Occupational and Environmental Health, Japan
佐賀医科大学* Saga Medical School
大分医科大学* Oita Medical University
宮崎医科大学* Miyazaki Medical College

*: Might have changed English name since 2003.10.1, because of integration into "university."

Appendix II : 【日本医学英語教育学会メーリングリストから】 [back to TOP]
 (Excerpts from the Mailing List of Japan Society for Medical English Education [JASMEE])

@ [問題提起]某大学医学部で留学生アドバイザーをしているJASMEE会員からの問合せ(抄)

1.英文の学位記の中身:個別の専門領域(Ex. 泌尿器科学)が記載されているかどうか。


 私はアメリカの文系のことしかよくわからないのですが、私の分野で知る限りではDiplomaというものは最小限の情報しか載せないものだと思うのです。医学系の場合は、例えばMedical Sciences In Neurosurgeryといった風になっているのでしょうか。そちらでは同様な問題に出くわしたことはありませんか。大学の知名度の問題もあるのでしょうか、それとも、日本の医学系Ph.D.全般がこれらの国(特に英国式医学制度の国)では認知されてないのでしょうか。


It is hereby certified that
  Date of Birth:
having satisfied all requirements of the Course of the Division of Medicine,
in the Graduate School and having successfully submitted
  a Doctoral Thesis,
was admitted to the degree of
DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in Medical Sciences
  on DATE
  Degree Number:



A [別の会員からの投稿]

 貴大学において日本語の英訳版として、全学統一の形式で授与し始めたものとしてお示し下さった文書に、一つだけ気になる語句があります。それは、DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in Medical Sciencesで、これはある種の矛盾語法ではないかということです。

 これまで私は、Doctor of Philosophyには(Doctor of Medicine)は含まれていないと考えておりました。その根拠は、ウェブスター大辞典 (Webster's Third Internationalのphilosophyの項)やNEOD (THE NEW OXFORD DICTIONARY OF ENGLISH)のDoctor of Philosophyのdefinitionにa doctorate in any faculty except law, medicine, or sometimes theologyとあるからです。(小学館のランダムハウス英和大辞典にも同じような記述があることを只今知りました。)



B Aへの返信

 先生のおっしゃるPh.D.に関する定義についての矛盾は私も感じています。9年前にこちらでスタートしてから、すぐ留学生達から英文学位の発行を求められるようになりました。当時は「医学博士」の英訳はDoctor of Medical Scienceでした。ところが指導教官も受入れの際、言葉としてはPh.D.を使っており、ここで勉強すればPh.D.が取れると思ってやってきた留学生達がいざ学位を受け取る時になって、授与されるのはPh.D.ではないことに驚いたのです。その際、バングラの学生からはDoctor of Medical Scienceなんて母国では認知されない。Ph.D.でなければ評価されないと悲鳴をあげました。先生方も慣用的に名刺でM.D.,Ph.D.を使っておられますが、本来はD. of M.S.であり、D. of M.S.=Ph.D.ではないと思うのです。(ただ、Doctor of Medicine はMedical Doctorと混同されやすいためPh.D.を使っているとも聞いたことはあります。)

 従って、DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in Medical Sciences (Medical Scienceでは?)はおかしいのかも知れません。(後略)


C ABへの新たな投稿


 米国とカナダのみが医学部や法学部が大学院です。4年制の大学を卒業してから医学部に入りますので、医学部自体が大学院に相当します。医学部に入る時点で既にBachelor of Science(理学士)を持ってますので医学部卒業の時点で医学士Bachelor od Medicineを出すわけにいきません。従って医学部卒業と同時に医学博士Doctor of Medicineが与えられるわけです。

 ところが英国を始めヨーロッパの多くの国の医学部は高校から入学します。日本の医学部が6年制であるのに対してヨーロッパの医学部は5年制です。これは一般教養の中に人文系がなく自然科学系のみだからです。ですから同じ英語圏である英国でも医学部卒業と同時に与えられるのは医学士Bachelor of Medicineです。英国では卒業して大学院もしくは研究して初めて医学博士Doctor of Medicineが与えられます。私のオックスフォード大学医学部脳神経外科のPotter助教授はこの両方を持ってました。

 ところで米国の医学部ではPh.D.も出してます。私の留学したニューヨーク州立大学アップステート医学部には医学部School of Medicineと医学系大学院Postgraduate School of Medicineの二つがあります。4年制の大学を卒業した人が医学を志す場合に二つの道があります。臨床医を目指すのであればSchool of Medicineに入って4年後にMDをもらい、USMLE = United States Medical Licensing Examination米国医師国家試験に合格しなければなりません。しかし臨床医を目指さず解剖学や生理学の基礎医学者になるのであればPostgraduate School of Medicineに入り、解剖学や生理学の講座に入り、4年間単位を取りかつ学位論文審査に合格すればPh.D.、例えば生理学教室で研究すればPh.D. (Physiology)がもらえます。MDを先に取ってからPh.D.を貰おうとすると8年もかかります。そこで最近ハーバード大学などではMD-PhDコースができています。6年間で両方貰える制度です。

 問題は米国・カナダとヨーロッパ・アジアとの教育制度の格差をどう調整するかです。われわれは両国の差をよく知ってますが、問題は米国人が他国の事に関心が薄い点です。英国の医師が米国に留学するとき、Bachelor of Medicineでは不利益処分を受ける可能性があるので、米国内ではDoctor of Medicineと言う称号をあえて使ってます。そこで終戦直後にフルブライト財団が日本の医学部卒業生を米国に留学させた場合、米国人が理解していないため、医学士をあえてDoctor of Medicine (MD)、医学博士をDoctor of Medical Science (DMs)と翻訳することにしたそうです。最終的にこの決定を下したのが文部科学省なのか外務省なのかは知りません。

 以上の歴史的背景と米国内の実情を無視して議論しても始まりません。このような外国と文化や教育制度の差から来る混乱は、本来政府が統一見解を示すべきです。官庁まかせでは解決されません。政府、文部科学省、厚生労働省、外務省が意見調整した上で統一見解を示すまでは、私が前回のお便りで提案したように、各機関の長(学長、医学部長など)が裁量権でその大学での統一見解を示すしかありません。浜松医科大学では私の提案で、学位以外の問題でも、教授をProfessor & Chairman、助教授をAssociate Professor、講師をAssistant Professor、助手をAssistant Instructorと翻訳することにしたわけです。米国には一つの講座に複数の教授がいます。私のいたニューヨーク州立大学アップステート医学部の脳神経外科ですら教授が三人もいました。ただしChairmanは一人です。このような米国の実情を熟知していれば教授を単にProfessorとするのは明らかな誤訳です。



@ Question Raising

Do you know whether;

1. Any doctoral degree states the specific area for the degree? (ex. Urology or other area)

2. If so, is it custom in medical field?

3. Students from nations under British medical education system (such as Egypt, Bangla Desh, etc.) have troubles in getting admiration of his doctoral degree from Japanese medical schools?

A student from Bangladesh complains her that he would have some trouble in his homeland if the English degree does not state the specific area for the degree. If it is true, the English format for the degree should be altered, but she does not know such cases (in Liberal Arts field in US).

Her university's doctoral degree is awarded as "DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in Medical Sciences."

A Reply 1

"DOCTOR of PHILOSOPHY in Medical Sciences" seems to have a contradiction in terms. According to the New Oxford Dictionary of English, "Doctor of Philosophy" is defined as "doctorate in any faculty except law, medicine, or sometimes theology).

B Reply to A

Formal translation for「医学博士」(igaku-hakushi) should be "Doctor of Medical Science." But, as some teachers told the students that they will by awarded "Ph.D.," the students are shocked when they know the degree awarded to them is not Ph.D., just before completing his course. At that time one student from Bangla Desh complained that "Doctor of Medical Science" would not be recognized in his homeland.

Some Japanese doctors states "M.D., Ph.D." in their name card, but it should formally be "D. of M.S."

C Reply to AB

Medical education systems are different in countries, such as:

1. Medical education in Canada and US is done in medical schools, where postgraduate students only are admitted. Graduates are awarded Doctor of Medicine (M.D.). There are some universities which have both School of Medicine and Postgraduate School of Medicine, and those schools award M.D. and Ph.D. respectively.

2. Medial education in European countries is done in universities or colleges for 5-year period. Graduates are awarded Bachelor of Medicine. The graduates can obtain Ph.D. after studying in postgraduate schools.

3. Medical education in Japan is done in universities or colleges for 6-year period. Graduates are awarded 医学士 (igakushi), and they can obtain doctoral degree 医学博士 (igakuhakushi) after studying in postgraduate schools.

The problem is that American people do not care about foreign systems, and as British doctors may suffer troubles if they use "Bachelor of Medicine," they dare to use "Doctor of Medicine" in US. Also the Fulbright Foundation in Japan decided to the translate 医学士 (igakushi) as Doctor of Medicine (MD), and 医学博士 (igakuhakushi) as Doctor of Medical Science (DMs), when they send out students to US after World War II.

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