Medical Translation: Dosage or Posology?
Thread poster: hetongzhi

hetongzhi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
Member (2008)
Finnish to English
+ ...
Sep 4, 2009

I was recently thrown for a loop when I translated something from a SPC into English as dosage and it was thrown back changed to posology. I queried some doctor friends or relatives of mine, some of whom had been in the business for decades, and not a soul ever heard of, not to mention used the term. More digging showed that it is the term used in para 4.2 of the EMEA standard language for product characteristics for pharmaceuticals. I was really taken aback. My research showed that posology is the science or study of dosage but it isn't the same thing as dosage itself -- e.g. you take this amount of this medicine. I have written to the EMEA to suggest the obvious -- if they use a term that few doctors, let alone patients use or have heard of, what is the point?

Any experiences or views on this score would be appreciated.


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jlrsnyder  Identity Verified
Canada
Local time: 01:33
Member (2006)
French to English
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According to Termium Sep 4, 2009

According to Termium, acceptable translations for the French term, 'posologie', are 'treatment dosage,' 'dosage schedule,' and 'dosage regimen.'
'Posology' is "that branch of medical science dealing with the dosage of medicines."


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Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:33
Member (2004)
English to German
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SPCs are regulated texts and knowing the guidelines does help Sep 4, 2009

hetongzhi wrote:

My research showed that posology is the science or study of dosage but it isn't the same thing as dosage itself -- e.g. you take this amount of this medicine. I have written to the EMEA to suggest the obvious -- if they use a term that few doctors, let alone patients use or have heard of, what is the point?


An SPC does not contain a section on you take this amount of this medicine and SPCs are not for patients.

If you want to specialize in this area http://www.emea.europa.eu/htms/human/qrd/qrdtemplate.htm might be a good start.


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xxxAguas de Mar
My two cents Sep 5, 2009

I have always seen "dosage" in English; "posologie" in French, and "posología", in Spanish.
Any chance that the person who corrected your document has a Romance language as his/her mother tongue, and thus "posology" comes across as a more suitable term? That is all I can think of...


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MMUlr  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 06:33
English to German
+ ...
Nothing to add ... Sep 5, 2009

Siegfried Armbruster wrote:

An SPC does not contain a section on you take this amount of this medicine and SPCs are not for patients.

If you want to specialize in this area http://www.emea.europa.eu/htms/human/qrd/qrdtemplate.htm might be a good start.



I second Siegfrieds statement completely, that's what it's all about: knowing the specific SPC structure and wording.


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Marjolein Verhulsdonck-Roest
Netherlands
Local time: 06:33
Member (2009)
English to Dutch
+ ...
Same goes for every other EU language Sep 5, 2009

When translating an SPC or PIL into any EU language (on medicinal products intended for the European market), you HAVE to follow the QRD template... and that's all there is to it.

I applaud your optimism, but don't think that writing to the EMEA will do much good. In the Netherlands consultations have been underway for some time now to improve the readability of Dutch PILs for patients (in other words: change the QRD template, oh blasphemy!), but it's very slow going.


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Alexander Chisholm  Identity Verified
Local time: 06:33
Italian to English
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Ditto Sep 5, 2009

Follow the guidelines.

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hetongzhi  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 00:33
Member (2008)
Finnish to English
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TOPIC STARTER
Further Comments Sep 7, 2009

1) If you look up posology and 4.2, you will find that the topic on SPCs involves dosage recommendations. Not for a specific patient, but considerations for dosages that should be taken into account, e.g. for patients over 60 years of age.

2) the overwhelming number of medical dictionaries I have consulted refer to posology as the "science of dosages/dosing." -ologia in Greek is the study of and poso is quantity. So, in a course on pharmacology I can understand the use of the term but in instructions for dosage?

3) a number of sources use posology/dosage as interchangable terms

4) Google has about 79,000 references to posology and 26 million for dosage -- an indication of the relative usage of both terms.

My original question arose because of translation from Finnish to English (annostus), and I know that posology is a relatively unknown concept in Finnish medicine.

While I certainly won't hit my head against a brick wall, I am entitled to question whether the best terminology is being used. My own view is that "guidelines for dosage" would make more sense in 4.2.

[Edited at 2009-09-07 11:27 GMT]


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Wendy Cummings  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 05:33
Member (2006)
Spanish to English
+ ...
yes Sep 9, 2009

I had noticed exactly the same thing, but since the SPCs I was translating were not for "official use" (more information purposes, although still for a pharma company) I felt I could get away with changing it to posology.

I do feel however, even if i/we disagree with them, that we shoudl stick to the published guidelines if doing an official translation of the SPC. They are there for a reason, and until they are officially changed, the aim is to ensure consistency. It is not hard to imagine a lay patient seeing one SPC that says posology, and another that says dosage, and becoming confused.


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