Translating medical documents: does a patient’s life depend on … a translator?

A health care practitioner speaking a foreign language is not that hard to find. However, how many doctors have enough time to read foreign professional books in the original? Not too many, due to their busy work schedule. This situation means the translator is the one opening new horizons for modern domestic medicine! His/Her texts are taken as guidelines for everyone from an intern to a professor. That explains why many patients depend to a large extent on an honest and professional translator and on his/her profound knowledge of the subject. For this very reason medical translations are performed by specialists with a degree in medicine. 

Translating medical texts is a hard job

Why is translating medical texts considered to be so difficult? As a rule, there are two reasons; first, due to the specific terminology, and second – due to the high moral responsibility borne by a translator, when the health (and even the life!) of thousands people depends on his/her work (translating medical texts for higher educational institutions, full prescription information for foreign medicinal products, scientific articles, etc.). 

Moreover, the quality of medical translations often affects the physical state of the client. For example, for medical treatment abroad one needs to have the complete medical records translated, including any medical reports, results of medical examinations and extracts thereof, etc. Inaccurate translation of medical terms may seriously damage the client’s health and a physician’s reputation (in addition to any legal consequences of these damages).

It can be naturally deduced from the above that medical translations should be ordered from companies which employ professional health care practitioners. This is the guarantee of completely appropriate and accurate translations of all specific terms. Otherwise you accept the translation at your own risk.

In order to ensure high-quality medical translations, a company employs linguists specialized in specific subjects, i.e. scientific works, pharmaceutical documents, cosmetology materials, texts on biochemistry, etc. 

This functional differentiation facilitates translation of large and complicated medical texts within brief deadlines, including:

  • specifications for medical equipment,
  • scientific and technical articles on medicine,
  • medical software and related documents,
  • training materials,
  • medicine compendium,
  • results of clinical examination and analyses,
  • books on medicine and pharmaceutical advertising,
  • medical news and press releases,
  • dissertations, essays and other scientific works,
  • medical sites, etc.

A quality medical translation can never do without an expert

A medical translation must match the original as much as possible. That is why it is important for a translator to have a degree in medicine and to know national specifics of using certain words in the native countries. For this very reason, medical literature is never translated only by linguists, A general knowledge of languages is not a guarantee of accurate translation of a highly specialized text. An accurate translation of medical texts is possible only when the ready text is handled by a professional health care practitioner capable of understanding the translated text and any specifics of its vocabulary.

As requested by clients, translation companies involve experts for medical translations, i.e. native speakers. This ensures faultless and highly appropriate medical translation without any misrepresentations of the original document.

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