Empty description translations, recent workaround, now what

Use case is as follows:
A score is modelled with english as main language. The score has ordinals with 4 values, the English score has a description tied to each value.

A Norwegian translation is added, the translated score is identical with regards to the values - but the description is omitted for some of the values, and is accepted as such in the validated Norwegian translation.

The Norwegian translation of the Description field (when left blank/empty), would be misinterpreted as unintentional by the CKM, and the English description was re-populated into the Norwegian translation with a prefacing asterisk in the final translation when committed to mark as “not completed”.

Recent change via: CKM Release 1.19.0 - openEHR Clinical - Confluence (atlassian.net)
for CKM-1942 ( Empty translation descriptions should be considered as translated) has a workaround for this issue.

Fast forward to today, there might be cases where you could mistakenly delete a translation description and leave blank unintentionally, so the workaround would possibly not catch those. Arguably that is a due dilligence type of problem, but having a tool that has good validation built in does help.

Would there be a way to explicitly state that the translated field is intentionally left blank - i.e. via a Null Flavour type of tag? “No information” or “Translation omitted”. Allowing both the modelling tools and CKM to state this, and interpret the translation as null or blank.

Or maybe there are other ways of achieving said tagging/statement of intentional blank translation.


THe usual English language text here would be something like '(this field intentionally blank)" or similar. Probably there is an equivalent of that (typically used in gov documents) in all the Euro languages.

I think the original suggestion was to be able to do this with a kind of tag, ie not by putting text in the element.

‘This field is intentionally blank’ could be copy/pasted manually at the moment, yet we know that vendors are using often these descriptions as part of auto UI generation and that statement is not desirable to be seen on screen.

The dream solution would be to have a mechanism to add some kind of explicit indication into the ADL that a translator deliberately chose not to translate (for whatever reason) so that:

  • when the archetype is loaded into an editing tool, and the data element is edited, it is not overwritten with the changes
  • when it is loaded into CKM the field is left blank as per the Editor’s choice.

Whatever technical solution is decided needs to work consistently across both the archetype editing tools and CKM-like tools, as well as allowing manually edited archetypes to also be managed.