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Dermatopathology books in Camoens' language.


Robledo F. Rocha

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There are many books of Dermatopathology available for physicians who are interested or committed to this field of the diagnostic medicine. Written in different formats, depth and methods, they came to meet any kind of taste and requirement, except to the language.

Of course English is the usual language of the most famous Dermatopathology books. It wouldn't be a hassle for dermatopathologists with sufficient English proficiency if they had not to use another language to prepare reports and to have professional talks. That's because the lack of Dermatopathology books written in the native language ultimately hinders the desirable terminology standardization. This problem is particularly alarming in Portuguese, a language with two divergent official orthographies, a language spoken in, at least, nine countries of all parts of the world, among which is included Brazil, a country of continental dimensions and, therefore, marked by great regional idiomatic differences.

Thus, it was relieving to find out about three Dermatopathology books which, in the words of Camoens from his notable epic poem, undertook "through seas where sail was never spread before" and are now published in their Portuguese-translated versions. I'm referring to:


However, the desirable terminology standardization has not yet been achieved. In the same way the Lusitanian fleet was exposed to hazards at the urging of Bacchus in the Camonian epic poem, it seems that this Greco-Roman deity had been conspiring again, so an unfortunate selection of the translation team has bogged down in the lack of authoritative translators. This is the only logical reason to explain why, instead of renowned professors and influential researchers in the field of Dermatopathology, the translation team of the three books comprises general medical practitioners, orthopedist, psychiatrist, and non-medical professionals, besides only a few dermatologists. All of them Brazilian. None from other lusophone countries.

As a result, readers will be faced with inappropriate translation. For example, words like keratinocytes and keratosis should be better translated as ceratinócitos and ceratose, beginning with C, in compliance with the command of the most acclaimed lexicographers of the modern Portuguese. But the translators preferred the old-fashioned words queratinócitos and queratose, beginning with QU.

Readers will be also faced with wrong translation. For example, warty dyskeratoma was rudely mistranslated as disqueratoma de Warty, which means Warty's dyskeratoma, as if the adjective 'warty' were an eponym!

I hope Venus might hasten to Olympus to seek Jove's aid. In the same way Jove sent Hermes to get rid the Lusitanian fleet of Bacchus' trap in the Camonian epic poem, the chief deity may send his messenger to get rid Portuguese-translated Dermatopathology books of inappropriate and wrong translation. Thereby, authoritative translators chosen from renowned professors and influential researchers in the field of Dermatopathology will indeed conduct future Portuguese-translated Dermatopathology books in the desirable terminology standardization. The outcome may be a future to those books in their Portuguese versions as glorious as the present of their English original versions.

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