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Why should we translate Cochrane reviews into French?

Date and Location




Friday 20 September 2013 - 10:30 - 12:00


Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author

Lawrence Mbuagbaw

Contact person

Lawrence Mbuagbaw
Abstract text
Background: The efforts of the Cochrane Collaboration to produce up-to-date high quality health evidence are undermined by language barriers. People in many regions of the world where disease and poverty are rife do not speak English and therefore are unable to benefit from many Cochrane products. A number of translation efforts are underway but there are still many challenges to be overcome. What is the argument for translating reviews into French? The first reason is equity. It is unfair that something as surmountable as language should limit access and utilization of a resource as important as the Cochrane Library. The second is that if we hope to alleviate the burden of disease we must target the regions of the world where it is highest. This region is arguably Africa where the highest numbers of French speakers reside. Thirdly, French public health publications do not respond to the needs of French-speaking developing countries. What are the challenges in developing useful French translations for developing countries? The most important challenge is dedicated man-power for French translations. The second involves setting up a mechanism for establishing priorities, such that the translations are relevant to the people who need them the most. The third challenge is creating dissemination mechanisms that correspond to the users. The fourth challenge is collaboration between all the entities involved in translations such that efforts are not duplicated. The fifth is engaging more French-speaking researchers in the production of Cochrane reviews so that the first four obstacles are less onerous. Conclusion: Despite current efforts, we can do more to reach non-English speakers, by enhancing and streamlining our efforts, and establishing priority topics for translation and dissemination.