Use of Online Machine Translation for Nursing Literature: A Questionnaire-Based Survey

Ryoko Anazawa*, Hirono Ishikawa, Kiuchi Takahiro
UMIN Center, 4th Floor, Administration & Research Building, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8655, Japan
Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Japan

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© Anazawa et al. ; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestrictive use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the UMIN Center, 4th Floor, Administration & Research Building, 7-3-1 Hongo, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo, 113-8655, Japan;


Background: The language barrier is a significant obstacle for nurses who are not native English speakers to obtain information from international journals. Freely accessible online machine translation (MT) offers a possible solution to this problem.

Aim: To explore how Japanese nursing professionals use online MT and perceive its usability in reading English articles and to discuss what should be considered for better utilisation of online MT lessening the language barrier.

Method: In total, 250 randomly selected assistants and research associates at nursing colleges across Japan answered a questionnaire examining the current use of online MT and perceived usability among Japanese nurses, along with the number of articles read in English and the perceived language barrier. The items were rated on Likert scales, and t-test, ANOVA, chi-square test, and Spearman’s correlation were used for analyses.

Results: Of the participants, 73.8% had used online MT. More than half of them felt it was usable. The language barrier was strongly felt, and academic degrees and English proficiency level were associated factors. The perceived language barrier was related to the frequency of online MT use. No associated factor was found for the perceived usability of online MT.

Conclusion: Language proficiency is an important factor for optimum utilisation of MT. A need for education in the English language, reading scientific papers, and online MT training was indicated. Cooperation with developers and providers of MT for the improvement of their systems is required.

Keywords: Japanese nurses, language barrier, nursing literature, online machine translation, usability, questionnaire.