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Anne Randorff Højen (SNOMED International), Ian Green (SNOMED International), Cornelia Wermuth (KU Leuven University, Belgium), Feikje Hielkema (Nictiz - The Netherlands))


Clinicians, vendors, developers, project managers and standards implementers


SNOMED CT is the most comprehensive clinical terminology in the world. However, for it to be adopted in national and local environments, it needs to be translated into the local languages. As SNOMED International's membership continues to grow, many more non-English speaking countries are joining, and the desire for translations is increasing. In addition to US and UK English, the SNOMED CT International release also includes a translation of SNOMED CT into Spanish. A number of other SNOMED CT translations are also being managed by Members of SNOMED International, and are available through the associated National Release Center.

This tutorial gives a brief introduction to the key principles of SNOMED CT translation, and presents a range of translation activities that have or are being performed. Considerations such as preparing for the translation, selecting an approach and defining roles will be discussed. Key lessons learned from translating SNOMED CT to national languages in Belgium and the Netherlands will also be shared.


After attending this tutorial, the participant should be able to:

  • Explain why translation of SNOMED CT is important
  • Describe basic translation principles
  • Summarize translation initiatives within SNOMED International
  • Describe the benefits and challenges of different translation approaches


Tutorial Handout

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