Main Article Content

Phillip Ebrall


Culture, Linguistics, Lexicaon, Subluxation


Objective: To construct an evidence-based paragraph in English (the paragraph) describing subluxation and its role in conventional chiropractic that has fidelity of meaning when translated to other languages. I give my meaning of ‘conventional chiropractic’ and ‘subluxation’ in the Lexicon and Context.

Method: The 5 parts of the method were (1) to undertake a thematic analysis of papers returned in an earlier systematic review of the indexed literature where subluxation is described, (2) through thematic analysis, extract terms common to expressed understandings of subluxation, (3) to assemble these terms, concepts and wordings into a constructed paragraph describing subluxation and its place in conventional chiropractic practice, (4) the translation of this constructed paragraph to selected languages and then the reverse translation back into English, and (5) to undertake a subjective assessment of the fidelity of the result in each language where the determinant was whether the reverse translation meant in English what I meant when I constructed the original paragraph in English.

Results: A paragraph was able to be constructed and then shown to retain fidelity in both translation and reverse translation in 15 languages other than English. The languages tested in this work were purposively selected as Afrikaans, Arabic, Chinese (Traditional), Danish, Filipino, French, German, Hebrew, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Turkish, and Ukrainian. The paragraph was true to the found themes from the literature and is presented in this paper.

Discussion: An ongoing issue in chiropractic is the absence of a common, agreed understanding of subluxation and its place in the clinical practice of conventional chiropractors. Most organizations, institutions, and associations carry their own understanding of subluxation, which may not be concordant, and indeed a minority deny subluxation and its meaning in chiropractic. If subluxation is a central tenet within chiropractic then the term should retain common meaning when used in different cultures and languages. Further, given that chiropractic is a growing healthcare system rapidly expanding into different cultures and languages, it is reasonable to expect consistency of meaning regarding subluxation and its role in clinical practice.

Conclusion: A constructed paragraph is presented in English which is shown to retain fidelity of meaning through machine translation to any of 15 chosen languages. I propose that this constructed paragraph be widely adopted as the universal meaning of subluxation within chiropractic. The paragraph is particularly suited to inform the World Federation of Chiropractic in their current project to recommend training benchmarks to the WHO.


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