English-French Glossary for Medical Learners, Doctors and Nurses
Welcome to the world of language jobs!
Portal for Language Professionals and their Clients
translation jobs
Home Free Glossaries Free Dictionaries Post Your Translation Job! Free Articles Jobs for Translators


Use More Glossaries
Use Free Dictionaries
Use Free Translators
Post Your Language Job
Find Translation Jobs
Ask Questions
Submit Your Glossary
Read Translation Articles
Register Translation Agency
Submit Your Resume
Obtain Translation Jobs
Subscribe to Free Newsletter
Buy Database of Translators
Obtain Blacklisted Agencies
Vote in Polls for Translators
Read Translation News/Feeds
Advertise Here
Read our FAQ
Read Testimonials
Use Site Map
Look for Translation Jobs
Buy Translation Agencies List
Buy Marketing Ideas
Buy Money-Saving Ideas
Buy Time-Saving Ideas
Buy Freelancing Ideas
Download Free Software
Read Testimonials
Read More Testimonials
Read Even More Testimonials
Read Yet More Testimonials
Become Our Customer
Use Other Free Resources
English-French Glossary for Medical Learners, Doctors and Nurses

Tunis - Tunisia,
MA in translation: medical translation across French and English,
Assistant teacher and PhD student in audiovisual translation,
more precisely film subtitling e-mail: benslamiaf @ yahoo . fr
research interests: pragmatics, translation studies, translation theory, audiovisual translation

Become a member of TranslationDirectory.com at just $12 per month (paid per year)


Use the search bar to look for terms in all glossaries, dictionaries, articles and other resources simultaneously


The glossary includes the database studied and its commentaries. It is worth noting that the database has not been taken from dictionaries but from similar English and French texts of anatomy. The glossary presents the reader with the database which is divided into sections of vocabulary and classified into medical topics areas. Moreover, the glossary is divided into similar and different sections. Each section is followed by a commentary. In each commentary, some problematic lexemes are selected and analysed linguistically. Accordingly, there will be a prediction of native medical students’ errors as well as a hint to the translation pitfalls that they would encounter during the translation process of medical items from and into the SL (the SL in this study being English or French).





Abduction Abduction
Anteroposterior Antéro-postérieur (e)
Axial Axial (e)
Caudal Caudal (e)
Coronal Coronal (e)
Coronal Plane Plan Coronal
Cranial Crânial (e)
Distal Distal (e)
Dorsal Dorsal (e)
Horizontal Horizontal (e)
Intercostal Intercostal (e) 
Ipsilateral Ipsi-latéral (e)
Longitudinal Longitudinal (e)
Median Médian (e)
Palmar Palmaire
Plantar Plantaire
Posteroanterior Postéro-antérieur (e)
Posterolateral Postéro-latéral (e)
Proximal Proximal (e)
Radial Radial (e)
Tibial Tibial (e)
Transverse Plane Plan Transversal
Transverse Transverse
Ulnar Ulnaire
Ventral Ventral (e)
Vertical Vertical (e)


Anterior Aspect Vue Antérieure
*Anterior Surface Face Antérieure
*Axial (Transverse) Section Plan Transversal ou Axial
*Axial Section Coupe Axiale
Cross Section Vue en Coupe
*Dorsal Surface  Face Dorsale
Frontal Aspect Vue de Devant
*Horizontal Section Coupe Horizontale
*Inferior Surface  Face Inférieure
Lateral Aspect Vue de Profil
*Lateral View  Vue Latérale
Laterally De Profil / Latéralement sur les Côtés
*Median Section Coupe Médiane 
*Median Structure Face Médiane
*Palmar Surface Face palmaire
*Posterior Aspect Vue Postérieure
*Posterior Surface Face Postérieure
*Sagittal Section Coupe Sagittale
Structure Above Vue par au-dessus / vue de dessus
Structure Behind Vue de Derrière
Structure in Front Vue de Face
*Superior Aspect Vue Supérieure
*Superior Surface Face Supérieure
*Transverse Section  Coupe Transversale
Viewed from in front Vue de Face
Viewed from the Lateral Side Latéralement / Vue de Profil


Aspect Aspect
Face Face
Section Section
Structure Structure
Surface Surface


The starred phrases, in other words the technical phrases which include words such as “aspect, section, structure, surface, and view” seems to be the hardest terms to translate and accordingly the hardest to learn because they include the above semi-technical terms. The second other component of these phrases (such as dorsal, axial, horizontal or palmar) is technical and similar across French and English. Thus, they are automatically and easily translated from and into the TL. Nevertheless, the semi-technical vocabulary are harder to translate than the technical terms because they are totally different across both languages.

What is also noticeable is that the French technical word “vue is translated differently into English. It has three alternatives in English: “view, structure and aspect”. This adds to the confusion since the FML who will have to choose between the three alternatives.

The English words “aspect, section, surface, structure” do exist in the French language and if translated using the same words in French; the ML will only get faux amis. It is the same case for the French word ‘face’ when translated into the English word ‘face’ (visage in French); the translation ends up into faux amis. Hence, a prior knowledge of these terms’ meanings is essential while translating to avoid confusion.

Until now, little has been said about the possibility that a term can be a combination of both technical and semi-technical, which adds another level of complexity to the task of learning and translation of medical words. Lowe has alluded to this in his discussion of Newmark (1992: 3.5). This thought will be expanded later in the second part of this chapter.



Flexion Flexion
Extension Extension
Adduction Adduction
Rotation Rotation
Axe Axe
Inferior Inférieur (e)
Internal Interne
Peripheral Periphérique
Plane Plan
Superficial Superficiel (le) 
Superior Supérieur (e)
Vertically Verticalement
Central Central (e)
External Externe


Above En Haut / Au Dessus / Au Dessus De
Ahead of En Avant de / devant
Aspect Vue
At the Bottom En Bas
At the Bottom of En Bas de
At the Top  En Haut
At the Top of  En Haut de
Backwardly Vers L'arrière
Backwards De Derrière/En Arrière
Behind En Arrière de / Derrière
Below En Bas
Deep Profond
Obliquely Forwards Obliquement en Avant
Down En Bas / En Dessous / Sous
Downwards Vers le Bas
Forwards En Avant /Vers L'avant
From Above Downwards De Haut en Bas
In Front of Devant
Section Coupe
Structure Vue de
Surface Face
The Lower Inférieur (e)
The Upper Supérieur (e)
Under Sous / Au Dessous de
Up En Haut
Upwards Vers le Haut
View Vue


The above semi-technical descriptive terminology is different across French and English except for the words written in italics which are the same across the TL and the SL. We notice that the semi-technical phrases that are classified under the heading of ‘different’, are hard to translate since there is not the least similarity between these terms. They are mainly Anglo Saxon words, which adds to the difficulty of their transfer.

 Notice that the French word “inférieur” has two alternatives in English: inferior and the lower. Also “supérieur” is translated into superior and the upper. This is an example of a dual vocabulary operating since the same word take two alternatives in the TL, which denounces a lack of consistency within the English language.


A*Anterior Antérieur (e)
B*Posterior Postérieur (e)


For both A*& B*, the French and the English words are the same except for minor spelling differences. Antérieur and postérieur are used in both a scientific and a non-scientific context in French. They convey the same meaning when technical and semi-technical. Therefore, NFLs, presumably face no problems when reading the two words in English. They can find out the equivalence easily. On the other hand, NEMLs have to relearn the semi-technical meaning in French since there is no semi-technical use of anterior and posterior in English. Indeed, it takes time to visualise and use correct descriptive vocabulary since medical students and doctors have to think in terms of space, which is often difficult.

If we sum up this immediate situation for this subset of vocabulary, we can reach the following schema:

- NFMLs learning descriptive technical English no difficulty.

- NEMLs learning descriptive semi-technical French a difficulty, because the vocabulary is new and therefore different. They have to be learned.

Let me put it differently :

The NFMLs are able to recognise and produce the English equivalents of “antérieur and postérieur”. However, the NES can recognise and produce the French technical equivalents of anterior and posterior but not the semi-technical ones. Surely, the point is that because these words are semi-technical and in regular use in French, the technical terminology will be easier than when NELs learn the technical vocabulary. Once learned, they should easily understand technical French.

The NEL finds this aspect of technical English difficult (Lowe, personal communication). Therefore the French have an advantage when learning technical French and technical English.


Lateral Latéral (e)


Lateral in English is mainly technical with the exception of ‘lateral thinking’. Here it becomes semi-technical and has for meaning ‘a way of solving problems by considering a range of ideas that may not seem logical or relevant at first’(Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary1995: 665). However, latéral in French is purely technical.

Sometimes, semi-technical has a different meaning when used technically and non technically but here it does not.




Bronchiole Bronchiole
Cartilage Cartilage
Cavity Cavité
Costodiaphragmatic Recess Recéssus Costo-diphragmatique
Costomediastinal Recess Recéssus Costo-médiastinal
Diaphragm Diaphragme
Epiglottis Epiglotte
Glottis Glotte
Intrapulmonary Intrapulmonaire
Intrapulmonary Bronchi Bronches Intrapulmonaires
Larynx Larynx
Lobe Lobe
Lobule Lobule
Nasal Cavity Cavité Nasale
Nasal Septum Septum Nasal
Negative Pressure Pression Négative
Oesophagus Oesophage
Oropharynx Oropharynx
Oxygen Oxygène
Parietal Pariétal (e)
Pleural Pleural (e)
Pleural Cavity Cavité Pleurale
1*Pleural Sac Sac Pleural
Pulmonary Pulmonaire
Pulmonary Arteries Arteres Pulmonaires
Pulmonary Circulation Circulation Pulmonaire
Pulmonary Lobes Lobes Pulmonaires
Pulmonary Orifice Orifice Pulmonaire
Pulmonary Trunk Tronc Pulmonaire
Pulmonary Veins Veines Pulmonaires
Recess Récessus
Respiration Respiration
2*Respiratory Respiratoire
Respiratory Bronchiole Bronchiole Respiratoire
Respiratory Epithélium Epithélium Respiratoire
3*Serous Séreux (se)
Serous Membrane Membrane Séreuse
Terminal Branches Branches Terminales
4*Thoracic Thoracique
Thoracic Cage Cage Thoracique
Trachea Trachée
Visceral Viscéral (e)
Vocal Cord Corde Vocale


5*Alveoli Alvéoles
6*Alveolus Alvéole
7*Blood Vessels Vaisseaux Sanguins
Breathing Respiration
Breathing Apparatus Appareil Respiratoire
8*Bronchi Bronches
9*Bronchial Tree Arbre Bronchique
Bronchitis Bronchite
10*Bronchus Bronche
Chest Wall Parois Thoraciques
Fissure Scissure
Fold Pli
11*Hilus of the Lung Hile du Poumon
Horizontal Fissure Scissure Horizontale
Interlober Fissures Scissures Interlobaires
Layer Feuillet
12*Layers of Pleura Feuillets Pleuraux
Lower Lobe Lobe Inférieur
Lung Poumon
13*Lung Walls Parois des Poumons
Medistinum Médiastin
Middle Lobe Lobe Moyen
Mouth Bouche
Nose Nez
Nostrils Narines
Oblique Fissure Scissure Oblique
Parietal Pleura Plèvre Pariétale
Pharynx Pharynx
Pleura Plèvre
Pulmonary Pleura Plèvre pulmonaire
Pulmonary Vessels Vaisseaux pulmonaires
14*Respiratory Tract Voies Respiratoires
Ribs Côtes
15*Root of the lung Racine du Poumon
16*Serous Fluid Liquide Séreux
Thoracic Wall Parois Thoraciques
17*Upper Lobe Lobe Supérieur
Venous Blood Sang Veineux
Vestibular Folds (False Vocal Fold ) Plis Vestibulaires
Visceral Pleura Plèvre Viscérale
Vocal Fold (True Vocal Fold) Plis Vocaux
Wall Parois


1* The equivalent for sac pleural is pleural sac and not pleural bag as it might be expected by the EML. On the other hand, there is an overlap between French and English terms within the English language itself, which facilitates the recognition and the production of the French equivalent by the NFML. This is due to the French word sac which remains the same across both languages. What is required is to pay attention to the word-order.

2* The suffix ‘-tory’ in English is translated into ‘-toire’ in French. This case generates a kind of regularity as for the production of the French equivalent of all English scientific medical terms ending with ‘-tory’. (We will see in the analysis part to what extent this regularity case and quite other regularities of suffixes dealt with in this commentary are tenable).

3* Serous has as equivalent séreux   for the masculine and séreuse for the feminine. The suffix ‘-ous’ for medical adjectives in English is translated into ‘-eux’ or ‘-euse’. This rule can be helpful for the production of the French equivalents of English words ending with ous. Note that the same process of production is used for the equivalence of Venous and Veineux (se).

4* The suffix ‘-ic’ is translated by ‘-ique’.

5* & 6* The word Alveoli is an English plural which is the equivalent of the plural French alvéoles. The English singular, being alveolus, corresponds to the French singular alvéole. The English medical language is using Latin singular and Latin plural.

7* The English noun blood is translated into a French adjective Sanguin and not du sang as it might be predicted since sang is the equivalent of blood. So we have a French adjective for an English noun. In this case, the whole phrase blood vessels must be looked up in a dictionary or learned to avoid any confusion or false production.

8* & 10* There is a difference in the ending of these words of Latin origin which is important in both French and English. It points out to whether the word is singular or plural. More attention is required to be paid to the irregular endings of these words.

9* The suffix ‘-ial’ is translated into ‘-ique’.

11* This is a case of word for word translation. Hilus becomes hile and of the lung becomes du poumon.

12* Again an English noun for a French Adjective. Pleura is translated into pleureaux which is an adjective and not into des plèvres as the learner might expect.

13* This case is different from the previous cases. We have an English noun lung for a French noun des poumons not a French adjective pulmonaire.

14* The word tract is translated into voies. This equivalent have to be learned since the two words are totally different.

15* There is an English noun lung for a French noun poumon.

16* The French learner will rather opt for fluide when reading the English word fluid and will be misled into a false translation since they are Faux amis.

17* Upper is not easy to recognise. We notice here that in the English phrase, upper is used but not superior, though superior lobe is possible in English. Here note how common vocabulary is sometimes acceptable in English even in a technical text and the two may coexist



Aortic Arch Arc Aortique
1*Atrioventricular Orifice  Orifice Atrio-ventriculaire
Atrium Atrium
2*Auricle Auricule
3*Capillary Capillaire
Circulation Circulation
Circulatory System Système Circulatoire
Coronary Sinus Sinus Coronaire
Ectoderm Ectoderme
Frontal lobe Lobe Frontal
General Circulation Circulation Générale
Inferior Venae cavae Veines Caves Inférieures
Lymph Lymphe
4*Lymph Drainage Drainage Lymphatique
5*Lymph  nodes Lymphonoeuds/Noeuds Lymphatiques
6*Lymph Sinus Sinus Lymphatique
7*Lymph trunk Tronc Lymphatique
Occipital Lobe Lobe Occipital
Oxygen Oxygène
Pump Pompe
8*Portal System Système Porte
9*Pulmonary Pulmonaire
Pulmonary Veins Veines Pulmonaires
Superior Venae Cavae Veines caves supérieures
Temporal Lobe Lobe Temporal
Tracheobronchial Nodes Noeuds Trachéo-bronchiques
Valve Valve
Valvule Valvule
Venous Return Retour Veineux
Vein Veine
Veins Veines
Ventricles Ventricules


10*Auricle Oreillette
Blood Sang
11*Blood Stream Courant Sanguin
12*Circulatory System Appareil Circulatoire / système Circulatoire
Fourth Ventricle Quatrième Ventricule
Left Ventricle Ventricule Gauche
13*Lymph Duct Canal Lymphatique
14*Right Chambers Cavités droites
15*Systemic Circulation Grande Circulation
16*Vena cava Veine cave
17*Venae cavae Veines caves
Venous Blood Sang Veineux
Vessels Vaisseaux
18*Viscera Viscères
19*Viscus Viscére


1* The suffix ‘-lar’ becomes ‘-laire’.

2*& 10* Auricle is either translated by its homonym auricule or by oreillette.

3* The suffix ‘-lary’ becomes ‘-laire’.

4* & 5* & 6* & 7* We have an English noun lymph for a French adjective lymphatique.

5* The word nœuds is easy for recognition but not for production. When the EMLs know the meaning of the word nœuds, the word knot is expected to be the closest word to them for producing the English equivalent of noeuds. Node would be more complex for them.

8* Here is an English adjective portal translated into a French noun porte.

9* The English suffix ‘-ary’ is translated by the French suffix ‘-aire’.

11* The English noun blood for a French adjective sanguin.

12* System is replaced by appareil or système in French. They are interchangeable.

13* The word duct is translated into canal, which is not easy to produce by a French learner. In this case the equivalence must be learned or at least known in advance, since the two words are technical and completely different.

14* This case presents a translation problem. When reading the English word chambers, it will be easy to recognise by the FMLs but hard to produce because the French equivalent will not be chambres as it might be expected but rather cavités. Notice that the English word chambers calls to mind the French word ‘chambres’.

15* The two concepts are totally different from a linguistic and semantic point of view since systematic has nothing to do with grande, which is misleading for the learner.

16* & 17* Vena cava is an English of a Latin origin. Once the FML knows the concept in French, it is easy for him to translate into his native language. Thus, it presents no difficulty for the reader or the learner. However, the difference between the French and the English ending is important to the FML.

18* & 19* Viscera is an English plural having the French equivalent viscères. The English singular is viscus has the French singular viscère.



Abducent Nerves Nerfs Abducens
Accessory Nerves Nerfs Accessoires
Alar Lamina Lame Alaire
Axone Axone
Central Nervous System Système Nerveux Central
Cerebral Cérébral (e)
Cerebral Hemispheres Hémisphères Cérébraux
Cerebrospinal Cérébro-spinal (e)
Cortex Cortex
Cranial nerves Nerfs Crâniens
Diencephalon Diencéphale
Dura Mera Dure-mère
Ectoderm Ectoderme
Encephalon Encéphale
Ependyma Ependyme
Facial Facial (e)
Facial Nerves Nerfs Faciaux
1*Ganglion Ganglion
Glossophayingeal nerves Nerfs Glosso-pharyngiens
Hypoglossal Nerves Nerfs Hypoglosses
Hypothalamus Hypothalamus
Lateral Ventricle Ventricule Latéral
Meninge Méninge
Mesencephalon Mésencéphale
Metencephalon Métencéphale
2*Motor Fibres Fibres Motrices
Myelencephalon Myélencéphale
Nerve Nerf
Nerves Nerfs
3*Nerves Fibres Fibres Nerveuses
Neural Tube Tube Neural
Neurons Neurones
Oculomotor Nerves Nerfs Oculo-moteurs
Olfactory Nerves Nerfs Olfactifs
Optic Nerves Nerfs Optiques
Peripheral Nervous System Système Nerveux Périphérique
Rhombencephalon Rhombencéphale
Telencephalon Télencéphale
Thalamus Thalamus
Trochlear Nerves Nerfs Trochléaires
Vestibulocochlear Nerves Nerfs Vestibulo-cochléaires


4*Brain Cerveau
5*Brain Stem Tronc Cérébral
6*Cephalic Flexure Courbure Céphalique
Cerebellum Cervelet
Cerebrospinal Fluid Liquide Cérébro-spinal
Cortex of the Cerebrum Cortex Cérébral
Dorsal Root Corne Postérieure
7*Ganglia Ganglions
Grey Matter Substance Grise
Horns Cornes
Lamina Lame
Laminae Lames
8*Medulla Moelle
9*Medullae  Moelles
10*Nerves Cells Cellules Nerveuses
11*Neural Crest Crète Ganglionnaire
Neuralgia Névralgie
Neuroglia Neuroglie
12*Pontine Flexure Courbure Pontique
13*Spinal Cord Moelle épinière
14*Spinal Nerves Nerfs Rachidiens
Sulsus Limitaris Sillon Limitant
Third Ventricle Troisième Ventricule
Trigeminal Nerves Nerfs Trijumeaux
Ventral Root Corne Antérieure
White matter Matière Blanche


1* & 7* The English words are of Greek origin. They are similar across French and English in the singular form but different in the plural form. The latter is obviously harder to find out.

2* An English noun motor for a French adjective Motrice.

3* & 10* In both cases, we have an English noun for a French adjective. Nerveuse may be possibly translated by the NEL into nervous and not into nerves. The point is that  Nerveuse is an adjective and what first comes to their mind is the adjective nervous.

4* There is no use for the word mind, only brain is used. Thus the word brain is technical in medical English but not mind.

5* This equivalence predicts a false translation since the French word tronc will not be translated into trunk. Also the word brain will not be translated into cerveau. Both translations into either French or English are misleading because they are completely different from each other. In fact, during their translation, people try to use what they know from their general knowledge of the language and do not dig deeper into the meaning of the word in order to find the equivalent. That is why their first thought goes to semi-technical words or words they know from everyday language, instead of specific technical words.

6*&12* Courbure is not translated into curve which is its the direct English equivalent but into flexure. Thus, when reading an English medical version, the word flexure is hard to translate and must be checked in a dictionary.

8* & 9* Again English words of Latin origin.

11* & 13* & 14* For these four cases, the translation has to be learned for there is neither linguistic nor semantic equivalence between the two versions. All the French and English terms are technical.



Abdomen Abdomen
Abdominal Cavity Cavité Abdominale
Abdominal Oesophagus Oesophage Abdominal
Abdominal Abdominal (e)
Anal Canal Canal Anal
Anus Anus
Artery Artère
Ascending Colon Côlon Ascendant
1*Descending Colon Côlon Descendant
Digestif Digestif (ve)
Diaphragm Diaphragme
Digestion Digestion
Duodenum Duodénum
Epigastrum Epigastre
Fundus Fundus
2*Gastric Gastrique
Gastric Arteries Artères Gastriques
Glands Glandes
Hypochondrium Hypochondre
Mediastinum Médiastin
Oesophagus Oesophage
Pancreas Pancréas
Pelvis Pelvis
Rectum Rectum
Reflux Reflux
Salivary Glands Glandes Salivaires
Sigmoid Colon Côlon Sigmoïde
Sphincter Sphincter
Transverse Colon Côlon Transverse
Tube Tube


3*Alimentary Canal Tractus Digestif
4*Alimentary Duct Conduit Digestif
5*Alimentary Tract Tube Digestif
Body Corps
Coeliac Trunk Tronc Coeliaque
6*Digestive Tract Appareil Digestif
7*Gastric Juice Suc Gastrique
Gastric Vessels Vaisseaux Gastriques
8*Large Intestine Côlon
9*Lips Lèvres
10*Liver Foie
11*Mouth Bouche
Orifice Ouverture
12*Small Intestine Intestin Grêle
Stomach Estomac
Submucous Sous-muqueux (se)
Suprarenal Glands Glandes Surrénales
Trunk Tronc

Faux amis

Alimentary Alimentaire


1*&2* The English suffixes ‘-ing’ and ‘-ic’ are translated simultaneously into the French suffixes ‘-ant’ and ‘-ique’.

3*&4*&5*  The word alimentary is predicted to be translated into alimentaire. They are faux amis. Digestif would be the French equivalent of alimentary

6* Contrary to the three last examples, the English word digestive has nearly the same equivalent in French. Thus, the French word digestif has two alternatives in English: alimentary and digestive. Here again is an example of dual vocabulary operating within the same language.

7* & 8* & 9* & 10* & 11* 12* These technical phrases are completely different across French and English. They have to be learned or known in advance so that no complexity would be added to the task of translation. 



Agranular Agranulaire
Apocrine Apocrine
Cartilage Cartilage
Cartilaginous Cartilagineux
Cellular Activity Activitè Cellulaire
Cellular Division Division Cellulaire
Cellular Particles Particules Cellulaires
Chromatin Chromatine
Chromosome Chromosome
Collegen Fibres Fibres Collagènes
Cytoplasm Cytoplasme
Cytosome Cytosome
Elastic Cartilage Cartilage Elastique
Elastic Fibres Fibres Elastiques
Endocrine Glands Glandes Endocrines
Endoderm Endoderme
Endothelial Tissue Tissu Endothélial
1*Endothelium Endothélium
Enzymes Enzymes
Epidermis épiderme
2*Epithelial Tissue Tissu Epithélial
Exocrine Glands Glandes Exocrines
Fibres Fibres
Holocrine Holocrine
Hyaline Cartilage Cartilage Hyalin
Intercellular Intercellulaire
Ion Ion
Keratin Kératine
Lysosomes Lysosomes
Mammary Glands Glandes Mammaires
Membrane Membrane
Mesothelium Mésothélium
Mesothelium Tissue Tissu Mésothélial
Metabolism Métabolisme
Metabolites Métabolites
Mitochondria Mitochondrie
Molecules Molécules
Muscular Tissue Tissu Musculaire
Neoplasm Néoplasme
Nuclear Membrane Membrane Nucléaire
Osteocytes Ostéocytes
Particles Particules
Proteins Protéines
Pyloric Glands Glandes Pyloriques
Replication Réplication
Ribosomes Ribosomes
Sebaceous Glands Glandes Sébacées
Secretion Sécrétion
Serous Membrane Membane Séreuse
Simple Epithelium Epithelium Simple
Stratified Epithelium Epithélium Stratifié
Substance Substance
Thyroid Gland Glande Thyroïde
Tissue Tissu


3*Bacteria Bacteries
4*Bacterium Bacterie
Bony Osseux (se)
5*Cell Cellule/Cellulaire
6*Cell Membrane Membrane Cellulaire
7*Cell Regeneration Regeneration Cellulaire
Ciliated Cells Cellules Ciliées
Cubical Cubique
Filamentous Filamenteux (se)
9*Golgi Apparatus Appareil de Golgi
Layers Feuillets
Mucous Muqueux (se)
10*Nuclear Chromatin  Chromatine du Noyau
11*Nucleoli Nucléoles
12*Nucleolus Nucléole
Nucleus Noyau
Spherical Sphérique
Suprarenal Glands Glandes Surrénales


1*& 2*Endothelium and endothelial have their similar consecutive equivalents as endothélium and endothelial. MLs has only to pay attention to the ending of these two words. they have the choice whether to use lial for an adjective or lium when it comes to a noun. Confusion of both endings will lead to a total collapse in meaning.

3* & 4* The English word is of Latin origin. Differences between the singular and the plural is at the level of the ending of words.

5* the word cell in English has two translations in French: an adjective (cellulaire) and a noun (cellule), which is confusing.

6*&7* We have an English noun cell for a French adjective cellulaire.

8* These acronyms when written in full letters become different across English and French. Acronyms consist of the first letters of the composing words. In English it is ‘deoxyribonucleic acid’; in French it is ‘acide désoxyribose nucléique’.

9* Apparatus is not translated as system but as apparatus in French . 

10* Nuclear becomes du noyau. Here is another example of an English adjective translated into a French noun.

11*&12* The singular and the plural are different in both languages. Rules of the plural and the singular in both languages have to be known in advance so that no difficulties will be encountered while translating.



Biceps Muscle Muscle Biceps
Bipennate Bipenné
1*Cardiac Cardiaque
Cardiac Muscle Muscle Cardiaque
2*Digastric Muscle Muscle Digastrique
Extensor Muscles Muscles Extenseurs
Fusiform Muscles Muscles Fusiforms
Insertion Insertion
3*Muscle Fibre Fibre Musculaire
4*Muscle Tissue Tissu Musculaire
Myocardium Myocarde
Nervous Tissue Tissu Nerveux
Orbicularis Muscles Muscles Orbiculaires
Papillary Papillaire
Papillary Muscles Muscles Papillaires
Quadriceps Muscle Muscle Quadriceps
Striated Strié (e) (s)
Striated Cardiac Muscles Muscles Cardiaques
Striés Striated Muscles Muscles Striés
Striated Skeletal Muscles Muscles Striés Squelettiques
Tondons Tendons
Triceps Muscle  Muscle Triceps


Belly Ventre
Flexor Muscles Muscles Fléchisseurs
Skeletal Squelettique
Smooth Lisse
Smooth Muscles Muscles Lisses


1* The English suffix ‘-iac’ is translated into the French suffix ‘-iaque’.

2* The English suffix ‘-ic’ is translated into the French suffix ‘-iaque’.

3*&4* In these two cases, an English noun muscle is substituted by a French adjective musculaire.

The majority of terminology of this section is similar. This alleviates the task of the learner while translating.



Axillary vein Veine Axillaire
Azygos Vein Veine Azygos
Bronchial Vein Veine Bronchique
Cardiac Vein Veine Cardiaque
1*Hepatic Vein  Veine Hépatique
2*Inferior Mesenteric Vein Veine Mésentérique Inférieure
3*Mesenteric Vein Veine Mésentérique
4*Ophtalmic vein Veine Ophtalmique
Pulmonary Vein Veine Pulmonaire
Renal Vein Veine Rénale
Saphenous vein Veine Saphène
Superficial Vein Veine Superficielle
Superior Mesenteric Vein Veine Mésentérique Supérieure
5*Suprarenal Vein Veine Surrénale
Umbilical vein Veine Ombilicale
Uterine Vein Veine Utérine
Venous Veineux
Venous Arch Arc Veineux
Venous Plexus Plexus Veineux
Venous Sinus Sinus Veineux


6*Cephalic Vein Veine de L'encéphale
7*Portal Vein Veine Porte


1* & 2* & 3* & 4* there is a kind of regulary as to the suffix ‘ic’. It becomes ‘ique’ in French.

5* The English suffix ‘supra ’ is translated into ‘sur-’.

6* Cephalic is not translated into céphalique but into de l 'encéphale (genetive noun).

7* Porte is not translated into door but into portal. The English adjective portal is translated into a French noun porte.  

The majority of the vocabulary of this section are similar across both languages. They are easier to translate than the vocabulary in the preceding sections.



Aorta Aorte
Arterioles Artérioles
Artery Artère
Basilar Artery Artère Basilaire
Carotid Artery Artère Carotide
Cerebral Artery Artère Cérébrale
Communicating Artery Artère Communicante
Coronary Artery Artère Coronaire
Facial Artery Artère Faciale
Femoral Artery Artère Fémorale
Hepatic Artery Artère Hépatique
Humeral Artery Artère Humérale
Inferior Mesenteric Artery Artère Mésentérique Inférieure
Pulmonary Artery Artère Pulmonaire
Radial Artery Artère Radiale
Renal Artery Artère Rénale
Splenic Artery Artère Splénique
Superior Mesenteric Artery Artère Mésentérique Supérieure
Uterine Artery Artère Utérine
Vaginal Artery Artère Vaginale


Medium Sized Arteries Artères de Moyen Calibre
Middle Sized Artery Artère Rectale Moyenne
Small Sized Arteries Artères de Petit Calibre


Concerning this section, there is no problem as for the words which are classified under similar since they are the same across French and English. Indeed, the English and French terms are so close that recognition and production of the equivalents are possible.

This finding will spare the ML or the doctor the waste of time since they do not have to look them up any more. However, the three last examples are completely different across French and English thus hard to translate. But in general, there is no problem areas when it comes to the translation of arteries.



Anterior Aortic Sinus Sinus Aortique Antérieur
Anterior Interventricular Artery Artère Interventriculaire Antérieure
Anterior sternocostal Surface Face Antérieure Sterno-costale
Aortic Sinus Sinus Aortique
Aortic Aortique
Apex Apex
1*Ascending Aorta Aorte Ascendante /Aorte initiale
Atrial Branches Branches Atriales
Atrioventricular Node Nœud Atrio-ventriculaire
Atrioventricular Orifice Orifice Atrio-ventriculaire
Bulbus Bulbe
Cardiac Plexus Plexus Cardiaque
2*Cardiac Cardiaque
Cardiac Orifice Orifice cardiaque
Circumflex Artery Artère Circonflexe
3*Coelomic Cavity Cavité Coelomiaque
Coronary Sinus Sinus Coronaire
Endocardium Endocarde
Inferior Diaphragmatic Surface Face Inférieure Diaphragmatique
Mitral Orifice Orifice Mitral
Mitral Valve Valve Mitrale
Myocardium Myocarde
Oblique Sinus Sinus Oblique
Orifice Orifice
4*Pericardial Cavity Cavité Péricardique
Pericardium Péricarde
Sinuatrial Node Noeud Sino-atrial
Thoracic Aorta Aorte Thoracique
Transverse Sinus Sinus Transverse
Tricuspid valve Valve Tricuspide
Vagus Nerves Nerfs Vagues
Ventricular Branches Branches Ventriculaires


Anterior Wall Paroi Antérieure
5*Aortic Trunc Tronc de L'artère
Flow of the Blood Flux Sanguin
Four Chambers Quatre Cavités
Heart Cœur
6*Left Atrium Atrium Gauche
7*Left Auricle Auricule Gauche
Left Coronary Artery Artère Coronaire Gauche
Posterior Wall Paroi Postérieure
8*Right Atrium Atrium Droit
9*Right Coronary Artery Artère Coronaire Droite
10*Right Ventricle Ventricule droit
Tendinous Cords Cordons Tendineux


1* Ascending is an adjective. The suffix ‘-ing’ conveys an active action. It has as equivalent in French ‘-ant’. Note that in French, Aorte Ascendante and Aorte initiale are equally used as equivalents for the phrase ascending aorta.

2*&3* Cardiac and caelomic are consecutively translated into cardiaque and caelomiaque. It is noticeable that ‘-iaque’ in French has two possible variants in English: ‘-ic’ and ‘-iac’.

4* The English adjective pericardial becomes pericardique .Again a suffix ‘-ial’ turns into ‘-ique’.

5* Another case of English adjective having a French noun.

6*&7*& 8*& 9*&10* Auricle, atrium ,ventricle, and coronary artery are the same across French and English thus easy to find the translation. But the problem is with left and right. These words have to be checked.


The most frequent cases found above in the commentary are recapitulated as follows:

  • To begin with, it is worth noticing that there are multiple mappings in the descriptive vocabulary set that is there is not always one-to-one correspondence between French and English equivalents. This aspect is most obvious with semi-technical medical words of the descriptive medical data and can only add confusion and complexity during the translation of medical lexis. Conversely, the remaining sets of vocabulary of the database are a one-to-one correspondence, which renders the translation less complex.
  • The English nouns are often turned into French adjectives.
  • The English adjectives are often translated by French nouns.
  • The use of loan words in the SL. For instance, French words are used within the English language itself such as sac. Thus the English language itself is a mixture of French and English.
  • The formal checking with doctors and medical students showed that while they know the plural of medical words in the TL having Greek and Latin origin, they did not recognise the singular which is harder to find out in the TL. This is a problem area for both students and teachers. 
  • The expectation is that learners or users of medical documents tend always when transferring medical words from and into the SL to firstly use semi-technical words of their native language in order to find the equivalent of the foreign word. This is to say that they translate by cultural substitution since they use words they know from the general knowledge of their native language. This use of semi-technical words in technical texts instead of technical terms, often results into false translation. The way out here is that students and learners have to learn the technical terminology properly. This leads us to the following finding: purely technical words must be looked up if not, learned correctly.
  • Once the EML or the FML comes across a word or a phrase in the TL which is nearly similar to the equivalent in his mother tongue, it is easy to recognise and produce the synonym since the concept already exists in the SL.
  • As for descriptive vocabulary, we notice that English uses semi-technical vocabulary in technical texts and sometimes semi-technical as synonyms for technical terms.
  • The medical language proves to be a mixture of technical and semi-technical terms.
  • MLs should pay attention to words’ order. Phrases do not have the same order in both English and French.
  • The sections including cells, nerves, muscles, arteries and veins are areas that represent less problems of translation than the remaining sections. Most of the studied terms of these areas are similar except for a few.
  • ‘Different’ terms are numerous in the descriptive vocabulary sections. Also the three dimensional data is harder to translate than the remaining parts of the database.
  • The study takes a micro-macro level when it joins the vocabulary of cells, nerves, muscles, veins and arteries to those of the systems of the body.
  • Suffixes are found to be not always the same translated. They proved to be not consistent and therefore irregular. The exceptions will be dealt deeply and highlighted soon in the second part of the analysis.

More attention is required to be paid to the English words of Latin or Greek origin. We do not add an ‘s’ to this set of words to get the pleural for they are irregular. Their ending has to be taken into consideration.

Find free glossaries at TranslationDirectory.com

Find free dictionaries at TranslationDirectory.com

Subscribe to free TranslationDirectory.com newsletter

Need more translation jobs from translation agencies? Click here!

Translation agencies are welcome to register here - Free!

Freelance translators are welcome to register here - Free!

Submit your glossary or dictionary for publishing at TranslationDirectory.com

See all medical glossaries:

Free Newsletter

Subscribe to our free newsletter to receive updates from us:


translation jobs
christianity portal


Copyright © 2003-2024 by TranslationDirectory.com
Legal Disclaimer
Site Map