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Medical English Resources

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I’m looking for free online medical English resources for an advanced client who may look for work as a pharmacist in the Tokyo area. He already has much of the scientific and medical vocabulary, so it’s the colloquial vocabulary and cultural aspects that we’ll be working on for the most part. Of course, my perspective is American, and I mostly know about what Americans expect to happen in a pharmacy. I have a slight knowledge of what British customers are used to, and no idea at all regarding the expectations of Indian, Dutch, Hong Kong, and other customers who may well find it easiest to speak English in a pharmacy. So we’ll work on clarification and repair strategies as well.

Searching Google for relevant websites hasn’t been very fruitful, because there are so many low-quality commercial websites, language schools, etc. However, I’ve found a few:

EnglishMed has been the richest resource so far because of the cartoons. The animated dialogues are amusing and a good chance for my client to hear British English. My only problem is that I really wonder whether British pharmacists actually behave this way, or whether his attitude is there to add comic relief to the dialogue. From my perspective he sounds a bit rude and off-putting. I wouldn’t go back to this guy… Still, Flash-based cartoons like this are a great way to make dialogues more interesting for English learners, and I hope I can learn to make them myself someday. Other than the cartoons, the exercises are too generic or obscure (gap-fills using Ovid quotes?) to be helpful to my client.

Hospital English seems to be under construction. I found the medicine flash cards useful; the pharmacist sections less so.

YadaYada English has a dialogue, some phrases, and some vocabulary for pharmacy interactions.

Really reaching, I found a couple of dialogues (1, 2) at ALC.

Talking Medicine is a pay site. The modules available as free “samples” (with registration) are not relevant enough to my client’s situation for me to consider paying for any of the other modules.

Actually, I haven’t found a good book either, but a very kind soul in the ELT World Japan forum is sending me one that’s only sold in Japan. I’ve seen a few medical vocabulary books, aimed at first-year medical students, which may be worth a look, but nothing’s jumped out at me so far.

Of course, the reason I’m not just making up my own dialogues is because what native speakers imagine to be a typical interaction or speech act and what actually makes up a realistic, common interaction are often two wildly different things. But since I’m having trouble finding resources, I have to admit that I’m kind of tempted to just lurk in my neighborhood Walgreen’s and take notes!

I’m sure I’m missing high-quality websites, because it’s just so hard to find them among all the questionable commercial pages. If you have anything to recommend that’s relevant to a pharmacist, please leave a comment. Thanks!

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