I apologize sincerely for the long absence. This spring has been very intensive between publication deadlines, research stays and conferences. However, that time has allowed me to learn more that will aid me in (hopefully) continually enriching the content of this blog. Though this post will serve mostly as an update regarding the two projects mentioned in previous posts for those who are interested, next week´s will be back to the regular content.
First, the research stay in the United States went well. This project sought to encourage medical professionals to participate in a survey on the use of Spanish dialect variants by Latino patients in the medical setting. The goal of the survey is to create a catalog of the variants that occur in this setting that includes indicators of frequency, importance and country of origin. This catalog could then be used both in reference material design and Spanish for medical professionals course development. Though the survey does not close until May 31st, as of yesterday170 individuals have signed up to take the survey.
The second study that was being conducted in parallel looked at the use and effectiveness of medical Spanish reference materials. In the end, twenty-one medical professionals across the US participated in the survey for that study. The results of the survey and a proposal for a more effective reference system was presented in the AESLA (Asociación española de lingüística aplicada – Spanish association of applied linguistics) Conference in Sevilla two weeks ago. Though many of the responses reflected known weaknesses in current resources, one surprising need came up over and over again: the desire to be able to tailor the resource in such a way as to receive the most relevant responses to the provider´s setting first. For example, a provider working in OB-GYN could mark that specialty in their preferences and receive search results listed in order of relevance to that field. The proposed design takes into account this need along with the others mentioned in order to create a reference resource that can be more quickly and easily used in the medical setting. The paper version of the presentation will be published in May.