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  • Title

    Taxonomy in the Austrian Translation of the ICNP®
  • Contact
    Franzsiska Perhab
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  • Project Date
    October 2007 to Present
  • Abstract
    When reading the American version of the ICNP®-handbook, it is striking that the majority of terms remain the same, repeat themselves, and are not replaced by synonyms in the different entries. There is a logic behind this system: hyponyms and hypernyms, as well as related terms are instantly recognizable – even at first glance, in the case of the online handbook. In order to establish a semantic relation (which is irrevocably the purpose of the ICNP®-Index), we had to bear in mind with the English-German translation of the handbook that not only the meaning of the translated term would not be altered, but also that the exact same term would be used in other entries as well. We often encountered difficulties in having the term make sense in the various different entries. For instance, translating “supporting” with “Betreuung,” as one of our colleagues has done, is inappropriate since a) “Betreuung” is a noun and b) “supporting”/“unterstützen” is used repeatedly within the hierarchy: The definition of “vertreten/befürworten” is translated as “Unterstützen mit spezifischen Merkmalen: etwas oder jemanden durch Argumente empfehlen.” For this definition, “betreuen” is the inappropriate hypernym. “Betreuen” is better used to translate the term “attending” With the ICNP® handbook we are operating in the realm of biology (in the farthest sense). Therefore, the biological taxonomy, which is structured hierarchically, is applicable. Our terms are thus structured in levels (and follow a logic similar to the familiar taxons Regnum, Subregnum, Phylum, Subphylum, Classis, etc.). Had we built on a purely linguistic taxonomy, we would have various groups of terms, but no clearly defined hierarchical structure. We saw another advantage in using a biological taxonomy methodology in the fact that the ICNP® handbook is available digitally and online over the internet. The online handbook has hypertextual features: when searching for a term, all entries in which this term in mentioned, appear. Hyponyms are listed: If one searches for the term “Schock,” the terms “Anaphylaktischer Schock” and “Neurogener Schock” appear as so-called “Kinder-Terme” (“child-terms”). This is not a hypertext per se – one cannot click on any term within another term’s definition and be forwarded to this term’s definition. Nevertheless, a net-like structure is formed through logical connections. The taxonomical classification method is frequently criticized for its nomenclature and requires more fundamental discussion. Since medicine is an ever developing discipline, such discussions are not our job. Taxonomy is also criticized for the arbitrariness of the categorizations when they are separated from their cultural environment – therefore, taxonomy is not universally applicable. ICNP® does not lay claim to universality – on the contrary, we were careful in our translation to include region-specific terms and vocabulary. Austrian terms can and should differ from Swiss terms, since the goal was for the users of the given country to optimally understand the classification. We were careful to use both scientific terms as well as terms frequently used by Austrian nurses. The two terms are separated by a slash (e.g., “niedriger Blutdruck/ Hypotonie”) Preposition to the translation of ICNP® Version 1.0 from English into German, September 2006.
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