Medical translation aid – necessity the mother of invention...
“What happens if I need to go to the doctor or the hospital? I can’t speak the language so can’t explain what the problem is?”
This is one of the biggest concerns of Brits who have ambitions to move abroad, and why so many of them get cold feet!
But now a British couple, living in Brittany, have come up with a simple, practical and very effective solution!
Called the Medicarte Translation Aid, the solution is a pocket-sized spiral-bound pack, on each page of which is the English explanation for a common – and not-so-common – medical problem. On the reverse of the page is the French translation which can be read by the attendant doctor or nurse so that they immediately understand exactly what they are dealing with.
“Medicarte was invented and developed primarily to enable safer travel,” says inventor and company director Dawn Cox. “It is a very basic, but vital aid in times of accident and emergency. It is not a concise dictionary, a phrase book nor a medical journal. It simply provides accurate, one-way communication to medical staff or emergency services should you have no other means of expressing yourself. And we are very proud of it!
“We honestly believe that Medicarte will be beneficial to travellers and expats alike and a vast majority of our feedback comes from customers who just feel content in the knowledge that, should something happen, they would be able to convey many of the details required for a preliminary diagnosis.”
The Medicarte Translation Aid was developed in consultation with various medical professionals in Brittany, including doctors, nurses and pharmacists. Phrases in the pack include such explanations as:
This is an emergency... please contact emergency services for me
I or my friend has severe chest pain
I or my friend has severe breathing difficulties
I or my friend has severe bleeding
I or my friend has severe head pain
My friend is not breathing
My friend is having symptoms of a stroke
My friend is unconscious
I have recently had an operation and do not feel well
I am pregnant and think there are complications with my pregnancy
...and many more
Dawn and her husband Lawrence are both builders and moved to Brittany from Chatham in Kent in 2001 to renovate a property into a gite. And it was whilst Dawn’s parents were visiting Brittany that Dawn’s father fell ill. This was the birth of the Medicarte Translation Aid idea.
“I was able to phone an ambulance and go with him to the hospital to explain what had happened, his symptoms and give the medical staff all of his details. But it broke my heart when I had to leave him in the hospital, knowing that he was stuck in a strange place, worrying about his health, yet unable to communicate anything to anyone.
“Having lived in France for a number of years I knew that the idea that 'everyone speaks English' was completely untrue. So, armed with a pair of scissors, some cardboard and a black marker pen I set to work. I tried to think of the things my dad would need to say - he needed the loo, he was cold, could he take a stroll, etc., and set about writing the English on one side and the French on the other...and so Medicarte was born.
“That was five years ago now, and after 11 days in hospital, my Dad fortunately made a full recovery!”
Since then, Medicarte has developed enormously and now incorporates all conceivable scenarios - from communicating minor ailments to a doctor, to coping with hospital stays, and culminating in the ability to ask someone to contact emergency services for you. “I must admit, it has been a long and lonely road. I have a full time job and have been working on Medicarte evenings, nights and weekends for nearly two years. As the concept of Medicarte is so simple, my greatest priority was Intellectual Rights protection, which I now have inside out and backwards covering all different areas of the world!
“The Medicarte Translation Aid – developed out of practical necessity – exists to help people,” continues Dawn. “We are proud to have invented the only medium that addresses emergency health issues in this way, and we are safe in the knowledge that Medicarte will be there to help you, if ever you should need it.”
Dawn hopes that the Medicarte Translation Aid will soon be widely available in pharmacies throughout France and via other outlets including shops at airports, Channel ports and on cross-Channel ferries. And plans are at an advanced stage to create alternative language versions, including English/Spanish, French/Spanish, English/Italian and English/Portuguese.
The English/French pack is now available online at a cost of 17.5 euros directly from the Medicarte website: http://www.medicartetranslationaid.com
Also available via Amazon for £13.99.