Translating Cochrane abstracts into Portuguese for use in Africa: a successful partnership between Cochrane Africa and Cochrane Brazil


Oral session: Searching and information retrieval & Multilingual solutions for evidence


Thursday 24 October 2019 - 14:00 to 15:30


All authors in correct order:

Durão S1, Kredo T1, Madeira G1, Bauhofer A1, Manuel B1, de Farias M1, Pereira Nunes Pinto AC2, Pereira da Rocha A2, Ferraz T2, Torloni MR2
1 Cochrane South Africa, South Africa
2 Cochrane Brazil, Brazil
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Maria Regina Torloni

Contact person:

Abstract text
Background: Cochrane Groups in different countries regularly translate abstracts and Plain language summaries (PLS) of Cochrane Reviews into several languages to make them more accessible for non-native English speakers. Over 200 million people in the world speak Portuguese, making it the sixth most spoken language. In Africa, Portuguese is the native tongue of an estimated 14 million people. In view of this large Portuguese-speaking population in several African countries, the co-ordinators of Cochrane Africa decided to translate the Abstracts and PLS of Cochrane Reviews addressing priority topics for the region, to help inform healthcare decision making.

Objectives: to describe the creation and preliminary results of a partnership between Cochrane Africa and Cochrane Brazil to translate Abstracts and PLS for Portuguese-speaking communities in Africa.

Methods: this partnership started when Cochrane Africa co-ordinators contacted Cochrane´s Translation Co-ordinator to request help in translating Abstracts and PLS into Portuguese. The translation co-ordinators of the two Centers with Portuguese translation projects (Brazil and Portugal) were contacted and invited to help. Cochrane Brazil agreed to participate in this initiative. Cochrane Africa co-ordinators selected 48 priority reviews for translation. These topics were identified through Cochrane Africa priority-setting exercises in different sub-regions: South-Eastern Africa, West Africa, and the Francophone region. A team of seven volunteer translators from Mozambique were identified when they attended an awareness raising workshop about Cochrane in Maputo. Cochrane Brazil's Translations Co-ordinator sent training materials to the volunteers, added them to the Brazilian Portuguese translation project, and provided support in revising and publishing these texts in the Cochrane Library.

Results: between December 2018 and March 2019, four volunteers from South Africa translated 10 Cochrane Abstracts and PLS into Portuguese. These texts were revised by members of Cochrane South Africa and Cochrane Brazil, and published in the Cochrane Library. The topics of these translations were: kidney diseases (n = 2), mental health (n = 2), health services delivery (n = 2), heart disease (n = 1), HIV (n = 1), pregnancy and childbirth (n = 1) and malnutrition (n = 1). Another 38 Abstracts/PLS are being translated or edited and will be published by December 2019. Cochrane Brazil is disseminating these translations in its own communication channels, and Cochrane Africa is going to disseminate these translations in the region.

Conclusions: this successful and innovative collaborative translation initiative can serve as a model for other Cochrane Groups that do not have translation projects, but want to make Cochrane evidence more accessible for local non-native English speakers.

Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: healthcare consumers in Africa selected which abstracts should be translated.