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English-to-Spanish translation challenges: nurse practitioner

7/31/2013 by Susana Schultz

As promised on a previous blog, this is the first article on the subject of challenging English terms to translate. Nurse Practitioner is one of them. Why? Because there is a tendency to translate it literally and that would create an incorrect translation. In order for a translation to make sense, it has to describe something that exists in the target language, in my case, it has to make sense in Spanish. There is no position in the medical field in Latin America and Spain that comes close to what a Nurse Practitioner is or does: there is no translation for it. Why? Because a Nurse Practitioner in the U.S acts pretty much as a doctor, seeing patients, prescribing medication, actually writing prescriptions under his or her name, but he or she does not have a doctorate degree, although they have taken extensive and additional courses beyond what an RN does. What an NP does in this country is something that is reserved to medical doctors in our countries.

We at Strictly Spanish have been leaving it in English because all our Spanish translations are for use in the U.S. We figured that no translation would even come close, short of calling them doctors, which they are not.

How have you been handling this challenging term? Drop me a line and let me know.

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