We live in a world where we are bombarded on a daily basis with news, most of which unfortunately relate about natural disasters, human lives being lost, war zones and terrorism. 

For those with good English skills, the range of international resources for keeping up to date is outstanding. Besides the well-known news channels and radio stations, blogs are a valid option to learn what is happening in the world today. Using English to absorb information from around the world is one thing, being able to use English actively to save lives is another!

Sad but true, there is a lot of suffering in the world today; although we have become somewhat immune to scenes of violence, famine, and catastrophes, there are still some who want to make a difference and lend a hand to those in need.

Imagine for a minute if you were abroad and were dealing with a health issue during your vacation; your local nurse, doctor or other medical professionals involved in your case are unable to communicate with you because they can’t speak your language. The alternative is to use a globally accepted language: English. What happens though when the communication in English is insufficient? Do you feel safe and secure, or do you rather feel lost and scared? Are you at ease with the diagnosis and the treatment plan the medical staff is recommending to you? In a few words, do you trust professionals speaking an alien language when your life is in their hands?

In this case, a translator would be the ideal choice, as he or she would attempt to bridge the communication gap, restore trust between you and your doctor, even help you with your recovery by highlighting the “do’s” and the “dont’s” of your treatment plan as prescribed by your medical care team.



Let’s move beyond your ruined holiday and see the bigger picture. In this context, the work of Translators without Borders who, among other projects, raised awareness about the Ebola pandemic in the local communities in their native language, is noteworthy and essential, as information in a language that is widely understood does save lives.

Emergency and crisis situations in the world can be difficult to tackle even when rescuers and victims speak the same language. But when a doctor takes part in a multinational mission, his first challenge is linguistic; failing to speak a language that everyone understands is a scenario for disaster.

Nowadays, many doctors and healthcare staff choose to spend a great deal of their time abroad, as volunteers, like the Doctors Without Borders (MSF), or as members of multinational medical teams in hospitals around the world. The need for effective communication in order to establish the safety of patients and staff is crucial. The chance that English is elected as the default communication language within the multicultural medical team is extremely high.

Additionally, medicine is a field where innovation and research are constant: an appropriate terminology baggage is necessary in order to describe new techniques and developments, and apply them within a treatment protocol.


So, let’s see how English can save lives

  • Better English means better care and support for international patients and social sensitive groups, e.g. refugees, children
  • Better English establishes better trust between doctor and patient, therefore, efficient treatment
  • Better English means clearer, and possibly correct pronunciation that prevents misunderstandings and facilitates the correct medical approach
  • Better English means better interaction with colleagues; in a supportive and collaborative environment, the chance of mistakes is drastically reduced
  • Better English can support further training, perfecting skills and ushering collaborations with a global medical audience


If you are active in the field of Medicine or Healthcare and you feel it’s time you develop your language skills to extend your qualifications and offer a broader and superior service to your patients and peers, contact ProEnglish and discover more about our Special Flavours services.

1 Comment

  • ProEnglishFatal mistakes in English - ProEnglish

    April 27, 2016 at 10:50 am

    […] Healthcare and how English can help facilitate the work of doctors and their multi-national team in How English Can Save Lives! It cannot be stressed enough how clear and effective communication in the Healthcare sector, namely […]


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