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Medical Dramas & Medical Interpreting–––The Good Doctor 醫學劇集及醫學傳譯 —《良醫》

Updated: Mar 9, 2021

The Good Doctor is a TV drama about an autistic surgeon named Shaun Murphy. He has an unhappy past, but he also has superb skills. To save patients’ lives, Shaun always challenges the mindsets of other doctors.


One of the episodes is about the protagonist, Shaun, teaching some new doctors about how to perform surgeries correctly. He was first told to guide them only, but not to interrupt them. But it seems that Shaun does not quite understand the instructions.

In the show, many medical terms related to neurology, including those on surgical operations, tools required for surgery, medication and methods applied for patients are introduced. Besides names of common diseases and symptoms, one needs to gain knowledge about the operation of the whole industry. We may not need to translate the entire process of the surgical operation to the target audience in our future tasks, but we may encounter some of the terms, especially when we are translating a doctor’s suggestion, and explanation to the patients about how his/her diseases can be cured. For example, how the surgical operation is carried out, what anesthesia medications will be used and the possible risks of surgeries.

In our interpreting practice, we have also learnt that it is important to conduct enough research and studies before translating for a specific industry. If possible, participating in the industry helps a lot, because you can know what specific terms are commonly used in their industries. If not, watching related TV dramas can also provide us with a brief understanding, but we should make sure that the information is accurate.


Interpreting for children in a medical setting requires a great deal of caution and attention. A majority of children probably won't be able to understand all the medical terminology that is commonly used and there is a need to explain in a more direct way to ensure a positive healthcare outcome. For example: rephrase standard medical terms such as “cardiologist” to “heart doctor”, “dressing change” to “changing clothes”, etc. Also, tips for pediatric interpreting include a better self-control, including pausing more often and speaking at a slower pace. Sometimes, there are cases similar to the episode of the drama, the pediatric patient’s parents would like to keep health information hidden from the patient, like the fact that he was actually suffering from terminal bone cancer. As an interpreter, to tell or not to tell, the answer varies by cases. While the parents’ perspective is understandable, evidence in support of truth-telling should be provided. There are concerns about withholding information from a patient. In complex medical situations, most clinicians would not treat patients who are unaware of their diagnosis or prognosis. And all the above are advice on how to determine how much information should be revealed to pediatric patients.


Unexpected things such as conflicts between patients and doctors may happen during a medical consultation or surgery. A medical interpreter should be capable of handling emergencies and keep themselves calm. In The Good Doctor, the main character, Shaun Murphy, is an autistic surgical doctor. Therefore, in many situations, he loses his control of emotions and becomes irrational and anxious especially when he is provoked by one’s action or verbal behaviour. A medical interpreter should be responsible for meditation between two parties. Also, in urgent situations, such as emergencies in surgery or accidents, a medical interpreter should keep calm and make themselves accountable for the accuracy of the interpretation. In The Good Doctor, there was an accident and 25 casualties were sent to the hospital with serious injuries. If there were interpreters, they should stay calm and focus on the accuracy of the interpretation. In medical interpreting, if the interpreter misinterprets a single word, it can cause very serious consequences.


《良醫》是一部講述一名患有自閉症的外科醫生Shaun Murphy的電視劇。他雖然有一個不愉快的過去,卻擁有高超的技術。為了確保拯救病人的生命,他經常挑戰其他醫生的思維和想法。


其中一集講述主角Shaun 教導新入職的醫生如何正確地完成手術。一開始他只是被要求從旁指導他們,不要插手。但Shaun 似乎不太明白指示。

電視劇使用了非常多的有關腦神經科的醫學名詞,當中包括相關手術、手術用具、藥物,以及醫治病人的方法的詞語。除了常見的疾病和症狀的名稱,了解整個行業的運作也是必要的。我們在將來未必需要翻譯整個手術的過程,但我們可能會遇到部分的專有名詞,尤其是當我們翻譯醫生的建議,或醫生解如何讓病人康復。例如手術如何進行,會使用哪一種麻醉藥,以及手術的潛在的風險。


我們練習傳譯時,也明白到為特定行業翻譯前要做足夠的研究和。如果可以的話,參與該行業對我們有很大的幫助,因為我們可以知道該行業通常會運用甚麼專有名詞。否則觀看相關的電視劇也能讓我們對此有一定的了解。但前提是要確保資訊是準確無誤。


在醫療環境中為兒童傳譯需要注意更多層面。 兒童普遍無法理解常用的醫學術語,因此有必要以更直接的方式解釋,以確保取得積極有效的療效。 例如將專業醫學術語“心臟病專家”改為“心臟病醫生”,將“換衣”改成“換衣服”等。此外,兒科傳譯有特別的溝通技巧,例如有頻率地暫停和注意對話速度等。當面對部分情況,類似於戲劇情節中患者的父母希望隱藏他實際上患有晚期骨癌的健康信息。 作為傳譯員,隱瞞還是不隱瞞的答案因情況而異。 儘管父母的觀點是可以理解的,但應表示患者完全明白自身面對的情況對治療是有必要的。 隱瞞健康信息不利於複雜的醫療情況,大多數臨床醫生不建議對不知情的患者進行治療。 建議綜上考慮去確定應向兒科患者透露多少信息。


在醫療諮詢或手術期間,很大機會會發生意料之外的事情,包括患者與醫生之間的衝突。醫學傳譯員需要在處理緊急情況時保持冷靜。在《良醫》中,主角Shaun Murphy是一位自閉症外科醫生。在許多情況下,如果他被他人的行動或言語所激怒,他將失去控制情緒的能力,並且失去理智和感到焦慮。醫學傳譯員應負責雙方的調停。此外,在某些緊急情況下,例如手術中的緊急情況或事故,醫學傳譯人員在任何情況下亦需保持冷靜,並對傳譯的準確性負責。在《良醫》中,在突發的交通意外中有25人受不同程度的傷而被送往醫院。如果當時有傳譯員,他們應該保持冷靜,並專注於傳譯的準確性。因為在醫療傳譯中,即使傳譯員錯誤傳譯了一個單詞,亦將導致非常嚴重的後果。


Glossary:

Anaphylaxis 過敏

Biopsy 活體組織切片

Bone-marrow 骨髓

Congenital heart defect 先天性心臟缺陷

Cyst 囊腫

Lesion 病變

Local anaesthetic 局部麻醉

Nystagmus 眼球震顫

Oncologist 腫瘤科醫生

Osteosarcoma 骨肉瘤

Pathology 病理報告

Pulmonary artery 肺動脈

Temporal bone 側頭骨


Prepared by:

KIANG Hin Cheung, Henry

YAU Oi Ying, Henrietta

CHAN Hiu Laam, Annie

LEE Wing Ping, Jack


Edited by:

Dr. Janice Pan



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