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English-Spanish Medical Dictionary App Review

December 2nd, 2012  |  Published in Medical School & Beyond


Intro page for Word Magic English-Spanish Medical dictionaryKnowing medical Spanish is becoming more important for every healthcare professional, no matter where you live. Coming from Texas I had though that the Hispanic population would wane as I moved 1100 miles further north, but there are still many patients who speak only Spanish or speak better Spanish than English. Today, over 3, 400,000 people in the US speak only Spanish according to a 2007 survey of language use in the United States. In order to reach out to a larger population of people, consider learning medical Spanish!

I do speak/understand basic Spanish, but my knowledge of medical Spanish is only what I picked up while working as a medical scribe. I love downloading useful apps for my phone, especially free ones. However, there are times when paying for an app is paying for added value.  I could see an app for Medical Spanish coming in handy!

Word Magic Software, Inc. gave me a free copy of their English-Spanish Medical Dictionary app and asked me if I was interested to review it. They did not require me to post a positive review.


This app is available only for iPhone; click below to download from iTunes!

Click here to view in the app store

Overall Features

  • Search: can search for medical terminology and medications in English or Spanish
  • Audio pronunciation of words in English and Spanish with options to choose accents of speakers
  • Definitions, synonyms, and examples
  • Ability to save words to a list of favorites
  • Can change font style and size, speed that the audio pronunciation is read, background color of app

The Good:

  • Having audio pronunciation is really great, especially if you don’t know Spanish very well. Furthermore, sometimes after learning Spanish, native English speakers have such horrible pronunciation that the Spanish-speaking patient cannot understand them. Being able to play the audio pronunciation for the patient can ease communication.
  • Multiple translations are available. The entry for breathe deeply offers “inspirar profundamente” and “respirar a fondo” as options.
  • The app appears to be accurate, and the audio pronunciations are not robotic.
  • Example phrases can be helpful, and more are available for purchase at $0.99.
  • Many medications are listed in the app in both English and Spanish.
  • They accept suggestions for the app (just look in the settings and there is a link to do so!)

Room for improvement

  • Not all of the dictionary entries have definitions. Wolff-Parkinson White syndrome, for example, does not have a definition. However, I question if a definition entry is necessary because as a healthcare provider, if you need to use this word in Spanish, you should know what it means. Not knowing its meaning would be irresponsible.
  • The verbs in the Medical Spanish dictionary  do not have the option to be conjugated (form of the verb given for I, you, she, he, we, they). This option is shown in the tutorial so it is evident that Word Magic’s English-Spanish dictionary has this option. This would be useful if you were giving a neurological exam and had to give the patient commands such as “move your finger to your nose,” etc.
  • There are no pictures. This could be helpful if you were trying to explain to a patient the origin of their pain, the actual location of their stomach, etc.
  • I would like there to have been a section specifically for the physical exam with helpful phrases to help you get through one while using the app.
  • Brand name medications cannot be searched on the app, but as long as you know their generic name, you can find them!

Yes, my room for improvement is long, but that doesn’t mean this is a bad app!

Advantages of buying the $6 app versus a medical dictionary

  • Medical dictionaries on Amazon range from $10-$25; the app is $6.
  • Books are heavier than just carrying your smartphone.
  • If you download the app, you don’t need internet connection to keep looking things up. I’m sure we’ve all worked in hospitals with spotty cell signal!
  • Searching the app is quicker than searching through the pages of a dictionary.
  • Books don’t read the pronunciation to you!
  • You can quickly switch between the English and Spanish sides with the touch of a button instead of flipping through 100+ pages to get to the other language’s side of the dictionary.

As much as I love books, I would say that buying this app is the way to go!

Some screenshots:

medical-Spanish dictionary entry You have the option to save an entry in your favorites Your favorites can be quickly viewed
Some entries provide quite detailed information as well as multiple definitions and synonyms You can change the background on the app Phrases used during the physical exam can be found
The app retains a lengthy history so you can find what you searched The ability to look up medicine is also useful There are many voices to choose from for the audio pronunciation

Have you downloaded this app? Comment below!

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