Objectives: This paper presents a method of cross-language information retrieval aiming to make medical information available to patients in French and English, regardless of the query language they wish to use. Methods: We describe the two MeSH-related terminologies used in this work. We show that the French patient synonyms included in CISMeF can be automatically mapped to the English consumer-oriented health topics used in MEDLINEplus, via the MeSH thesaurus. The links between French and English patient terms thus inferred can subsequently be exploited to automatically translate patient queries. Results: 129 MEDLINEplus topics have been mapped to 142 CISMeF patient synonyms. Contextual links for cross-language retrieval have been added to the patient dedicated French information Gateway CISMeF. Conclusion: we have presented an efficient method for cross-lingual patient information retrieval in French and English, which may also be applied to other language pairs, subject to the availability of patient terminologies and of the MeSH thesaurus in these languages.
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