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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 56 (2014) 3, 157 - 161

Short report

The DSM: background and translation

M.W. Hengeveld

background The dsm-i (1952) and dsm-ii (1968) were based on the etiological concepts prevailing at the time and, as a result, the inter-rater reliability was inadequate. The dsm-iii (1980) developed from the need to increase the reliability of the classifications. Undeniably, the attempt to increase the reliability reduced the validity of some of the classifications. The importance of the dsm-iii and successive editions should not be overestimated. The dsm is not a ‘bible of psychiatric diagnostics’, but is merely a classification system. Successive editions of the dsm have had a major influence on the language of psychiatry. This means that the Dutch translation needs to be of a high standard. aim To discuss the problems involved in translating the dsm-5 into Dutch. method By way of illustration, a number of problems are presented which arose with the translation into Dutch of the American terms for psychiatric disorders in the dsm-iii and -iv. In some places this has led to the use of unusual, unfamiliar words and phrases. The translators of the dsm-5 face similar and new dilemmas. results The examples demonstrate how important it is to keep as close as possible to the American terminology. In the Dutch version of dsm-5 the translation in many places remains closer to the American original. This means giving careful attention to different shades of meaning, which in turn can give rise to classification problems. conclusion The translation of the dsm-5 into Dutch is important. The translation of the title ‘Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (dsm-5)’ as ‘Handbook voor de classificatie van psychische stoornissen – dsm-5’ demonstrates clearly that the dsm-5 is certainly not a ‘diagnostic bible’.

keywords CHAM-system, DSM-III, DSM-III-R, DSM-IV, DSM-IV-TR, DSM-5, Dutch translation