Doctor visits and medical issues can be a huge inconvenience in a foreign country, at least, if you can't speak the language. In Japan, unless in Tokyo or another large city, finding English-speaking (or any language other than Japanese, for that matter) is a challenge. Many cities do offer a list of resources for foreign residents, which include English-speaking medical professionals and translators (and I mean actual cities, rather than the small rural towns - I don't know how common English-speaking professionals are in rural areas). So, if you have a problem, you check the references and try one out (a gamble in itself) or drag along someone who can translate for you.
But what about things you might not necessarily need to go to the doctor for? Or, let's suppose one day you wake up and it hurts to pee. It REALLY hurts to pee. Where did this unimaginable pain come from? You take some drugs and try to find a comfortable position to sit in, even though your bladder feels like it's being crushed by your entire abdominal cavity. It suddenly dawns on you, "this must be a bladder infection..." Or, to be less crude more technical, a urinary tract infection.
Obviously, this pain is too unbearable to wait out, so you decide to visit the doctor. Never mind that you have no idea where to find an English-speaking doctor. Off to the hospital, as you think about how to tell the doctor (and hospital staff, who direct you where to go) what the problem is. Do you point to your crotch, cross your legs and say, "痛い！痛い！(itai! itai!)" Translation: painful.
Well, feel free to try, but don't come blaming me for whatever happens after that...
The easiest thing to do, which you may have thought of already, is translate the term. Until you realize your regular dictionary won't translate it. It has no idea what a UTI is - or, if a book, doesn't have that particular term. Now, you probably need to call someone who knows both English and Japanese well enough to translate this for you... OR...
Try a dictionary that has medical terms. Such as the following:
1. MEDO - A Japanese-English medical dictionary. Simply type the word or phrase you are searching for in the top field (with the red arrow) and press the button "英和和英." If nothing results the first time, you may need to try an alternate phrase, spelling or word.
2. SPACEALC - A regular (extensive) Japanese-English dictionary. Again, type the word or phrase in the top field and press "英和和英." This dictionary usually comes up with more results than MEDO for me, so if MEDO gives you nothing, try this one. Or try both and compare.
Now that you know what UTI is in Japanese, just copy it or take your phone with the word on it, show the staff, and they will be happy to seat you for who knows how long until you can pee in a cup and get some drugs.
*Remember, you can type in any medical or health-related term in either to find what you are looking for.
Fellow Japan residents, any other tips for finding translated medical terms?