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New Multilingual Feature on MedlinePlus!

From the National Library of Medicine (NLM):

On May 7, 2008, MedlinePlus debuted a multilingual feature, providing access to high quality health information in languages other than English and Spanish. This new service benefits people who prefer to read consumer health information in their native language. It also helps the information professionals and health care providers who serve them. Over the years, many of you have requested this enhancement. Your suggestions helped us to develop this important service.

The new collection contains over 2,500 links to information in more than 40 languages and covers nearly 250 Health Topics. Continuous growth is expected.

Users can navigate the new collection of health information in multiple languages either by language or by topic. A page listing all of the languages covered will be linked from the MedlinePlus homepage, http://medlineplus.gov. Users can browse these languages or link to the page listing all of the topics covered. In addition, a languages box will display on the English Health Topic pages. The languages box lists the languages with links on that topic in MedlinePlus. The languages box also links users to the collection of health information in multiple languages.

Users can also search the new collection of health information in multiple languages. A new collection called Multiple Languages appears on the MedlinePlus search results pages. Look for an update to the MedlinePlus Search Tips in the near future.

Finally, an interactive world map teaches users about the number of people who speak nine of the languages in the MedlinePlus collection. The languages – Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese – are among those most frequently spoken at home in the United States other than English, according to the U.S. census.

The MedlinePlus collection of health information in multiple languages is not meant to be comprehensive. Instead, as with our English and Spanish collections, MedlinePlus staff selects materials according to our quality guidelines (quality guidelines specific to the new collection are available at http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/languages/criteria.html). Materials must be produced by the United States Federal government or a U.S.-based organization, such as a medical association or a hospital. The producer must describe the translation, review and updating process. In addition, the content must be appropriate for a U.S. consumer audience, and it must be authoritative and current. MedlinePlus staff also looks for English equivalents to the multilingual information.

As always, NLM welcomes your comments and suggestions about MedlinePlus. A “Contact Us” link appears at the top of every MedlinePlus page.

Thank you,

The MedlinePlus Team

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