Can doctors safely use Google to translate patient information?

If you drop the jargon and use plain English, the online service makes few errors, doctors' study shows

Looking after patients who don't speak English? 

Google Translate may be able to help, according to a new US study that finds the app is up to the job — with some caveats, such as dropping the jargon.

The results come from a study of 100 sets of ED patient discharge instructions converted from English into Spanish and Chinese by doctors using Google Translate.

It shows there are very few significant errors.

However, the researchers advise doctors that they must make sure they communicate clearly in plain English.

"Write simple sentences below the fifth-grade level", they warn, as in one case, the translation could have led to a life-threatening medication error.

"We would recommend its use with some caveats, the first of which being that the translated instructions be given in conjunction with a translator walking