We often write articles to satisfy two states of mind: pleasure and curiosity. In my case, this means the curiosity to delve into some of the intricacies of translation on the one hand, and, on the other, the desire to work together with colleagues with whom I share a passion for the transfer of knowledge through culture and time. Translation is involved in every level of knowledge production and distribution in medicine. It presents a wealth of opportunities to combine the insights of literary, historical, and cultural studies of science. Scott L Montgomery says in his ‘Science in Translation’1 that ‘As the second oldest profession on the streets of authorship, it is generally conceived in fairly obvious terms, as a matter of rendering the words of one language into those of another, hopefully with little or no spillage of meaning’. Yet, this is more a description than a definition and it does not deal with the enormous complexity of the inevitable sharing of knowledge in this global and multilingual world we now live in.
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