Setting up a national translation initiative for Malay: ideas, challenges and future directions




Poster session 1


Sunday 16 September 2018 - 12:30 to 14:00

All authors in correct order:

Sasongko TH1, Ho J2, Tan ML2, Pavadaypillai N2
1 International Medical University, Malaysia
2 Penang Medical College, Malaysia
Presenting author and contact person

Presenting author:

Jacqueline Ho

Contact person:

Abstract text
In 2014, Cochrane approved a translation strategy that aims to expand access to Cochrane evidence for non-English readers. In Malaysia, a language barrier denies the public access to high-quality research evidence. In 2015, Cochrane Malaysia started a translation initiative.

To describe the development of a national Malay translation initiative and dissemination strategy to make Cochrane evidence accessible to lay Malay-speaking readers.

The initiative was initially mostly organized by a single institution. In 2016, Cochrane Malaysia received funding to employ a part-time staff. A committee was set up, initially to develop criteria for volunteer translators and editors, and it has subsequently strategized our policy and direction. The committee meets monthly internally and quarterly with the Cochrane Central translation team. Recruitment of volunteers has been through our affiliate sites, direct contact, and Cochrane Malaysia's website and Facebook page. Dissemination strategies have involved Facebook, local media, the Ministry of Health and partnerships with Malay-speaking health groups. High-performing volunteers are incentivized annually with a recognition letter.

By March 2018 we had published over 1400 Malay plan language summaries. Our production rate in Q3 2017 was 3.6 times of that in Q1 2016. Malay pages on received 5039 views in December 2017, which was four times that in January 2016; many were accessed via our Facebook page. These increases made us one of the fastest growing Cochrane translation initiatives. Our volunteers are all healthcare students or practitioners who come from over 10 institutions in Malaysia and abroad.

Conclusions, challenges and future direction:
Funding support is essential to our success, coupled with the efforts of local affiliates, Cochrane Central and the local committee. Facebook has helped in our surprisingly high number of page-views. We are limited by a lack of sufficiently qualified editors. We seek an innovative approach to dissemination involving consumer organizations and local journalists, and exploiting both social and mainstream media.

Healthcare consumer involvement:
We have approached local consumer organizations and journalists to plan a dissemination workshop and a common sharing platform. We are interested in establishing a consumer-led 'evidence informed health advocacy group'.


Relevance to patients and consumers: 

The presentation will describe our effort to make the best evidence in healthcare accessible to the Malaysian public through translation to Malay and dissemination of Cochrane summaries, thus empowering them to be involved in healthcare decisions and, in turn, through advocacy, drive the demand for evidence-based healthcare in Malaysia.