Resource: Medical English Dictionary Online

Today we offer a short introduction to the Medical English Dictionary Online (, a resource for people looking to translate difficult medical terms from English to Japanese and Japanese to English. Provided by the 医学情報研究所 (igakujōhōkenkyūsho), or Medical Information Organization Network (an NPO), this site has a wealth of information useful to people either trying to convey everyday medical information or utilize complex terms that may not be found in a standard dictionary. Here’s a brief run-down of a typical search.

The site offers a very easy catch-all search function at the top (see above), where you can input either English or Japanese terms for a generic search. I, for example, put in the term “stroke,” as I’ve had to actually come up with and use this term in Japan before. Click the 英和|和英 button to search for your English or Japanese equivalent. On the results page, scroll down past the dictionary advertisements and you’ll find several sections of information (though not every search will yield this much).

The first entries provide a number of words, but as you can see, not all are medical and many fulfill other definitions of “stroke,” such as 運筆, referring to brush strokes. Take note of the words marked with [医] (for 医学, or medical science), which provide a number of technical medical vocabulary options for your purposes.

The next section (seen above) offers 成語 seigo, or set phrases, which are particularly useful if you’re looking for a specific type of condition that falls under a larger category. I hope I never have to use the word “dysphagic stroke,” but now I know it’s 嚥下困難発作. Below this there’s also a 説明setsumei section that, in a brief sentence, explains more about specific (and probably the most used) terms out of the medical ones offered. This is really helpful if you’re not sure exactly what something is or the kinds of words that are typically used to describe a condition.

This particular search did not bring up any English to English explanations (英英) or example sentences (例文) which can also appear on a typical search page.

In addition to the search function, the left and right columns on the main page offer a huge variety of options (listed in Japanese only) for access to medical information. We can’t possibly list them all here, as there are links to sites on diseases, guides to idiomatic English phrases used in offices, lists of Latin names of diseases with the Japanese counterpart, English to Japanese and Japanese to English lists of anatomical terms, and dozens more. The information is not only general medicine, either, but includes ophthalmology, dentistry, anesthesiology, and other specialized subjects. Furthermore, there are lists of specific local clinics and hospitals for some areas.

Because the majority of the site lists its options in Japanese and there is no furigana to speak of, it’s suggested that those unfamiliar with Japanese medical terms use an add-on like Rikaichan or Rikaikun for easy access to the pronunciation and general meaning here. However, it’s simple enough to use the 英和・和英 search option without such aids if you just want a quick way to find a term.

Hope the Medical English Dictionary Online is useful to you!

About Paula

Paula lives in the vortex of academic life. She studies medieval Japanese history.
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1 Response to Resource: Medical English Dictionary Online

  1. Pingback: Sunday Morning Medicine | Nursing Clio

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