Cyprus Mail

Trying to understand instructions in medicines even more frustrating than food labels

May I add a word in support of the letter from Christakis Christofides concerning the lack of instructions in English on Cyprus-made products.  I feel a potentially more dangerous aspect of this problem for non-Greek-speaking residents or visitors is the absence of English on prescribed medicines and drugs.

So often, in my experience, a pack of tablets has a label on the outside, carefully written by the pharmacist, giving information on the dosage as prescribed; excellent – but there is also a printed note telling me to be sure to read the enclosed leaflet for further details such as possible side effects.  This leaflet is nearly always only in Greek, presumably because the manufacturers are based in Greece.

I cannot suggest a solution to this situation, as it is clearly impractical to ask the manufacturers to provide an English translation for all their products, although the lack of such information could be literally life-threatening.

As regards supermarket products, why must we put up with e.g. frozen goods with instructions in Bulgarian, Romanian, Slovenian, Serbo-Croat etc. – i.e., all Eastern European languages and not that widely spoken in Cyprus – after Greek?  I confess that I do understand a little Greek (which I find a beautiful but difficult language) but insufficient for me to follow cooking instructions; I speak reasonable French, and can work it out in Italian or German – up to a point.  Time and again, I have picked up a packet and been forced to put it back again because it bears no language that I do understand.

Yours, in frustration,

Hilary Ives, Nicosia

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