Constructing Meaning: A Systemic Functional Review of Translated Health Texts and Community Narratives
Villarreal, Ana C.
MetadataShow full item record
This study uses Systemic Functional Linguistics as a theory and a tool to analyze written text about pediatric cancer that have been translated from English to Spanish. The basic premise is that current translations are not culturally and linguistically adapted for the target community. Based on the work of Halliday, this study analyzes national and local translated texts directed to caregivers with the purpose to shed light on the functionality of the available information. To complement this research, community members were interviewed to present their own construction of the illness and their perceptions on the linguistic services received. All text and narratives were analyzed using the tools provided by SFL to elucidate the Interpersonal, Ideational and Textual Metafunction as they are realized by the translator’s choices. Other tools provided by SFL such as word clouds and pinpointing the choice were also used to show the differences among the English and the Spanish versions of the texts. Translated health texts are used as means of health promotion and dissemination of health information; however, the legibility and the linguistic choices made by translators are not culturally aligned to be of service to the community. This study shows how the translations could use alterative choices, as proposed by SFL, to convey the meaning according to the specific needs of the community. The ultimate goal is the future creation of a computational software capable of translating health material that is culturally and linguistically appropriate to empower the patients in regard to their health decision-making.