Background: The Centre for Evidence-Based Chinese Medicine from Beijing University of Chinese Medicine (BUCM) have been training volunteers for 10 years to translate and disseminate clinical trials on Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that were published in Chinese to the Cochrane CENTRAL via Complementary and Alternative Medicine Field with ProCite database software.
Methods: We collected randomised clinical trials on TCM from literature searching among Chinese journals through our recruited and trained volunteers from undergraduates at BUCM who were majored in medical English. We trained them on ProCite use, formatting, and methodology. We assessed their qualification through a pilot work. The eligible volunteers were assigned with certain amount of abstracts according to their time and capacity in the official launch. After submission, we collected individual feedback about issues slowed them down.
Challenges: There were issues in the original Chinese publications challenging the translation and dissemination of TCM clinical evidence. 1) In the aspect of methodology, the reporting of randomisation is generally poor and insufficient in abstract. 2) In the English part of bilingual abstract, there were obvious traces of machine translation as they were not grammatically correct. Other issues included diversity in terminology of diseases and prescriptions; Chinese herbal medicines were presented as Pinying but lack in Latin names; the use of Chinese punctuation in the English abstracts.
Achievements so far and inspirations: 65 volunteers participated in the project and we submitted 19 918 trial citations and abstracts to the Cochrane CAM field. We continue to improve the ProCite database entry guidance, so volunteers' training work carried out more and more smoothly year by year. We suggest to train reviewers, researchers and clinicians, both in the methodology and in the translation and writing of English abstracts.