Category Archives: glossary

Patient safety terms in Finnish

Some time ago I found a patient and drug safety terminology publication from year 2007, “Potilasturvallisuussanasto. Lääkehoidon turvallisuussanasto“. It as been compiled by Stakes (Sosiaali- ja terveysalan tutkimus- ja kehittämiskeskus, from year 2009 a part of THL Terveyden ja hyvinvoinnin laitos) and Rohto (Lääkehoidon kehittämiskeskus, now also apparently part of THL).

These glossaries, including many definitions, have been compiled by specialist working groups. I have picked up the terms in English and Finnish and listed them below; for definitions and explanations, please see the actual publication. Also remember the context: these relate strictly to patient safety and medication safety, and it is possible that other terms can be used, too.

Patient safety terms:

  • patient safety = potilasturvallisuus
  • barriers, defences = suojaukset
  • nonconfirmity, error = poikkeama (for the explanation why “virhe” isn’t used, please refer to the actual publication, page 6)
  • patient safety incident = vaaratapahtuma, potilasturvallisuustapahtuma
  • near miss = läheltä piti -tapahtuma
  • adverse event = haittatapahtuma
  • harm = hoitohaitta
  • adverse effect (of medical care) = haittavaikutus
  • patient injury = potilasvahinko

Drug safety terms:

  • drug safety =  lääketurvallisuus
  • adverse reaction, adverse drug reaction (ADR) = lääkkeen haittavaikutus
  • serious adverse reaction = lääkkeen vakava haittavaikutus
  • unexpected adverse drug reaction = lääkkeen odottamaton haittavaikutus
  • pharmacovigilance = lääketurvatoiminta
  • medication safety = lääkitysturvallisuus
  • medication error = lääkityspoikkeama
  • error of commission = poikkeama tekemisen seurauksena
  • error of omission = poikkeama tekemättä jättämisen seurauksena
  • prescribing error = lääkkeenmääräämispoikkeama
  • dispensing error = lääkkeen toimituspoikkeama
  • administration error = lääkkeen antopoikkeama
  • medication safety incident = lääkehoidon vaaratapahtuma
  • adverse drug event, ADE = lääkehaittatapahtuma
  • underuse =lääkkeen alikäyttö
  • overuse = lääkkeen ylikäyttö
  • drug abuse = lääkkeen väärinkäyttö
  • co-medication = yhteiskäyttö
  • duplicative therapy = päällekkäiskäyttö
  • polypharmacy = (tarpeeton) monilääkitys
  • harmful interactions = haitalliset yhteisvaikutukset

Clinical trials: terminology sources

When translating clinical trial documents, one has to use specific terminology. Here are some sources for Finnish and/or English clinical trial terms:

Ohje hyvän kliinisen tutkimustavan noudattamisesta (translation of “Guideline for Good Clinical Practice”) – also contains terms in Finnish and English, and their definitions in English. A paper version available free of charge from Lääketietokeskus.

Potilasturvallisuussanasto, Lääkehoidon turvallisuussanasto by STAKES and Lääkehoidon kehittämiskeskus ROHTO (2007); some patient safety concepts are also discussed here (terms in Finnish, Swedish and English)

Some terms and definitions can be found the site of the Turku Clinical Research Centre

Vapaaehtoinen ja valistunut. Mukana lääketutkimuksessa” (Lääketietokeskus). A brochure for people planning to participate in a clinical trial; contains also a basic glossary.

Ihmisperäisiä näytteitä ja näytetietoja koskevaan lainsäädäntöön liittyvää sanastoa (BioMediTech)

Lääkealan turvallisuus- ja kehittämiskeskuksen määräys: Kliiniset lääketutkimukset (2012). This document also contains a glossary with definitions (pages 3 to 7)

Rokotetutkimuksen sanastoa. Vaccination trial vocabulary. Tampereen yliopisto /University of Tampere.

Lääkealan T & K-sanastoa (Drug research and development terms). Orion.

Lääketutkimuksen suunnittelu ja toteutus A.D. 2001, by Harry Scheinin (Finnanest Vol 34 Nro 3 2001): an article that contains useful information and terms


Small glossary on adverse effects

Thanks to Emma Goldsmith’s blog I found the site called “European database of suspected adverse drug reaction reports” (EU:n tietokanta epäiltyjä haittavaikutuksia koskevista ilmoituksista).

On the site there is a small glossary that may be useful. The words explained in Finnish (and in other languages) are the following: haittavaikutus (adversed drug reaction, ADR), riski-hyötysuhde (benefit-risk balance), Euroopan talousalue, ETA (European Economic Area, EEA), tehokkuus (effectiveness), teho (efficacy), epidemiologia (epidemiology), EudraVigilance, kansallinen lääkevalvontaviranomainen (national medicines regulatory authority), farmakoepidemiologia (pharmacoepidemiology), lääketurvatoiminta (pharmacovigilance), signaali (signal), spontaani ilmoitus haittavaikutuksesta (spontaneous report of a side effect).

The glossary in Finnish with definitions can be found here. The glossaries in other languages can be found on the pages of each respective language.

However, I don’t like the word “signaali“; to me it is very obscure a term in Finnish in this context. It has been used in texts I have seen but I think another Finnish term would be more appropriate.  The term “signaali” appears at least in the papers called “PRAC recommendations on signals for update of the product information” (Signaaleihin perustuvat PRACin suositukset valmistetietojen päivittämistä varten).

According to this glossary, signaali is “Tieto, joka viittaa lääkkeen ja haittavaikutuksen väliseen uuteen mahdolliseen yhteyteen tai jo tunnetun yhteyden uuteen näkökohtaan ja jota on tutkittava tarkemmin.”

According to Kielitoimiston sanakirja, signaali is tietoa välittävä merkki”. This dictionary explainst that the word can also be used descriptively, e.g. “Hallituksen talouselämälle antama signaali”.

OK,  may be “signaali” can be used then but I would still ask if there is any possibility to find a better word  for these adverse reaction purposes in Finnish?




Health care glossaries for those who work with refugees

These downloadable glossaries are from year 1993, but might be useful in some situations. The languages are Finnish and one of these: Albanian, Serbocroatian, Vietnamese, Somali, French, Arabic, Persian, Kurdish (Sorani), Swedish, English and Russian. They have been published by the Finnish Ministry of Social Affairs and Health.

Terveyssanastoja eri kielillä turvapaikanhakijoiden ja pakolaisten kanssa työskenteleville:

A short glossary of drug studies (FI-FI)

A new site called Lää has been launched by Lääketietokeskus (Pharmaceutical Information Centre Ltd) The goal of the site is e.g. to help recruit of volunteers for different clinical trials and to provide information about them in general.

On the site there is also a short glossary (FI-FI) that lists the main terms related to drug studies. You can find it under “Tietoa lääketutkimuksista”. This glossary might be of help to someone who is not familiar with the terminology yet.

On their main website, the Pharmaceutical Information Centre Ltd tells about their mission as follows:  Pharmaceutical Information Centre Ltd (Lääketietokeskus Oy) is a modern drug information and skills development company. Our best-known services and products are Pharmaca Fennica ®, Kodin Lääkeopas™, Lää, Lää and pharmaceutical seminars.

Dental glossaries (including Finnish) seem to be scarce

Some time ago I translated some marketing material for dental instruments from English into Finnish. It was difficult to find the terms!  I managed to find only a couple glossaries on the Internet:  Hammasalan sanakirja (by Tapio Suonperä) and the one-page Finnish-Finnish-Latin vocabulary (by Tapio Jokela and Jonne Repo). Both are listed on the website of the Association of Finnish Dental Technicians – the link page includes some English terminology sources as well. Also the Duodecim online dictionaries have some dental vocabulary.

However, many of the terms I needed were not included in the sources mentioned above. So had to search for them in different bilingual user instructions. Although dental technology is not within the scope of my blog title, I’ll list some of the terms I found here, just in case someone else needs them in the future. Comments are also welcome!

backfill = täyttäminen,downpack = tiivistäminen, extruder = pursotin, lip hook = huulikoukku, paper point = paperinasta, plugger = täppäin, taper= kartio (or something starting with “kartio”), sealer = sealeri/tiivistysaine, smear layer = preparointijätekerros, verifier = kokomitta.

Disclaimer: I have not done any profound terminology search, only a search for the needs of one particular translation assignment, and the terms above may have different Finnish counterparts depending on the context and the client (dental instrument manufacturer). One term may have several translation alternatives. Probably many dental professionals use jargon that is derived from English. However, the dental technology terminology would offer a good theme for reseach for a translation student interested in medical (dental) terminology.