Hektoen International

A Journal of Medical Humanities


Peter Arnold
Sydney, Australia


According to Google,1 the language spoken by most people is English (1.5 billion), followed by Mandarin (1.1 billion) and Hindi (0.6 billion). However, of our approaching 8 billion, many more speak another language besides those 1.5 million in the top bracket. This other language has hundreds of “dialects,” which might obscure appreciation of its universality.

These many dialects can be grouped as “‘glishes.” In my hobby editing papers for non-native-English-speaking friends and for medical journals, I have turned many writings in the following “languages” into the English of King Charles’s Royal Physician: from across western European languages through to Chinglish: Frenglish, Deutschglish, Hunglish, Polglish, Russglish, and even Farsglish.

A reader might well ask, “How do these languages emerge?”

The answer, as I once explained in an article in the International Journal of Epidemiology,2 is that many non-native-English-speaking medical researchers have their paper translated into English and then accept the English translation as an accurate reflection of their research. Their own English is not good enough to appreciate subtle changes which have occurred because the translator is no scientist.

I have recommended that non-native-English-speaking medical researchers Google this page3 to find competent scientific/medical translators who will understand the science.



  1. “Most spoken languages.” Google.
  2. Peter Arnold. “Which English is English?” International Journal of Epidemiology 47, no. 2, (April 2018):360-1. https://doi.org/10.1093/ije/dyy043.
  3. “International medical English translators.” Google.



DR. PETER ARNOLD is a retired family doctor and professional editor in Sydney. Former Chairman, Australian Medical Association.


Spring 2023  |  Sections  |  Literary Vignettes

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