English-Chinese Medical Vocabulary for Better Practitioner-Patient Encounters

Language barriers can create challenges for healthcare professionals, caregivers and patients alike, and can decrease the quality of healthcare delivery and patient safety.

Knowing the appropriate terms and translations for body parts, symptoms, diagnoses, and treatments, as well as general medical language can help improve practitioner-patient encounters by ensuring clarity and effective communication.

Below are a list of resources in English and Chinese that contain common medical terms, terms for arthritis and osteoporosis, body parts, and more.

These resources can be used by clinicians when meeting with Chinese speaking patients, as well as Chinese patients and caregivers when speaking with health care providers.


Click the title of each resource to be directed to the document or website.

  1. Chinese-English Common Dementia Terms: Document with a list of common dementia terms including organs and structures, signs and symptoms, and treatment and medication.
  2. Chinese-English Regularly Used Medical Terms for Body Parts and Organs: Document with a list of body parts and organs.
  3. Medical Vocabulary A (Traditional Chinese): Document with medical vocabulary.
  4. Medical Vocabulary B (Traditional Chinese): Document with more medical vocabulary.
  5. Medical terminology (Simplified Chinese): Document with additional medical vocabulary.
  6. Commonly used medical vocabulary in Chinese and English (Traditional Chinese): Document with medical vocabulary related to infectious diseases and vaccines, chronic diseases, women’s health, men’s health, nutrition and mental health.
  7. Chinese-English Phrasebook for Medical Encounters: Document with common medical terms and phrases used during a physician-patient encounter.
  8. Medical Interview Questions: Document with common medical questions asked during a doctor’s visit.
  9. Booklet of Medical Terms (Traditional Chinese): Document with more common medical terms and phrases used during a physician-patient encounter.
  10. Chinese-English medical vocabulary: Arthritis and Osteoporosis: Document with medical vocabulary related to arthritis and osteoporosis.
  11. Chinese-English Phrase Workbook: Website for healthcare providers, patients, and/or caregivers to learn medical Mandarin.

Mr. Randeep Sarai, MP, acknowledges the iCON team for our work on chronic disease prevention and self-management

On March 25th, 2021, during the 2nd Session of the 43rd Parliament, Mr. Randeep Sarai, MP, acknowledged the work of Dr. Gulzar Cheema, Chief Medical Officer, iCON South Asian Division, and the iCON team for our work on chronic disease prevention and self-management.

In his statement, he said the following:

Madam Speaker, I would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge Dr. Gulzar Cheema and iCON for their work supporting multicultural and multilingual communities, patients and caregivers across British Columbia. Their work includes community education, knowledge sharing and technology of chronic disease prevention and self-management.

Dr. Cheema has been the leader of the South Asian portfolio of iCON since 2008. His work includes engaging communities and educating patients in the Indo-Canadian community on critical health issues, including the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Through public health forums and community workshops to help patients and families optimize best practices in chronic disease prevention and self-management, Dr. Cheema’s leadership at iCON has helped the organization reach over 7,000 Punjabi-speaking patients.

I thank Dr. Cheema and iCON for their work and dedication to health care for multicultural communities in our region.

Read the full statement here.