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Tijdschrift voor Psychiatrie 45 (2003) 6, 327 - 332

New research

Translation and communication problems in diagnosing a depressive mood among berber patients living in Holland.

D.W.G.M. Tijdink, J. van Es

background  Difficult communication between Moroccan patients with a poor knowledge of Dutch and native professionals can lead to problems while trying to diagnose a depressive mood.
aims  Determination of hampering communication by the following factors: (1) translatability of Dutch words into Berber language; (2) failure to recognize the significance (referral to a depressed mood) of complaints mentioned by Berber patients; (3) difference in experiencing or expression of complaints between Berber patients and natives.
  Twenty-five psychiatrists filled in a questionnaire and four professional translators and four therapists of Berber origin were interviewed.
  All three investigated factors appeared to possibly hamper the communication between patient and therapist. Some Dutch words like gloomy, depressed and dejected can be poorly translated into the Berber language. Berber patients can describe their psychological complaints in a way Dutch therapists are not able to recognize (for example disgrace or homesickness). Finally Berber patients appear to express their complaints in a different (non psychological) way and to show different behaviour from native patients.
  Problems with translating words relating to a depressive mood as well as transcultural aspects hamper communication between Dutch therapists and Berber patients when diagnosing a depressive mood.



keywords berber patients, depressive mood, diagnosis, translation, translationproblems