The Knowledge of the Translator

Tips for an Efficient Medical Translation

If we think of the professional translation services as a tree, considering its various main titles and sub-titles as its branches, it is an undeniable fact that the medical translation is one of the most important branches of this tree. Without a doubt, the most important factor that separates the medical translation from other translation branches is the highly sensitive information that medical documents include. Taking the potential semantic differences between source language and target language into consideration is very important in medical translation, as it is in other branches of professional translation.

What Makes Medical Translation Different?

Considering that minor errors in medical translation can cause major misunderstandings, we can say that the medical translation is one of the most difficult translation branches. Therefore, medical translators shoulder a big responsibility.

The frequently-asked questions and answers on medical translation are as follows:

1. In which fields is medical translation needed?

Medical translation deals with a wide range of medical documents such as:

  • Doctor reports,
  • Test results,
  • Prescriptions,
  • Prospectuses,
  • Medical patents and manuals for medical materials,
  • Epicrisis Reports

Additionally, translations for medical articles, projects and dissertations are frequently needed as well. In the medical translation process, especially the translations of therapeutic medicines and treatments, it is essential for the product contents to be accurate and comprehensible. Thanks to the translators specialized in medicine; translations of drug licenses, clinical researches and case presentations are done in accordance with their purpose, which undoubtedly reveals the important role of the medical translation services in health. Furthermore, medical translation is a solid bridge that conveys the advices and instructions of the scientists working in the field of medicine to individuals.

2. What is the difference between medical translation and other translation branches?

Since it is not open to adding personal comments, creativity, that benefits many other translation branches, is not very popular in medical translation. There is no room for approximate statements, guesses, spontaneity and uncertain terms in medical translation. Therefore, translators must possess appropriate medical knowledge and experience in this field to translate medical texts. On the other hand, medical translators are also expected to have a command of Latin terms since the medical terminology is based on Latin.

3. What should be considered during medical translation?

Considering its scope and importance, many different aspects come in sight to be considered in medical translation. Medical translator’s first task in this process is to understand the content and purpose of the relevant product or service. Medical translators, who are experts in their fields, provide professional translation services by being attentive to the subject and by doing necessary researches to ensure proper understanding of the product or service in the target language.

There are strict regulations regarding drug approval and other medical procedures in many countries. Any ignored details in medical translation lead to delays or rejection of the products of the relevant company for the local markets. Therefore, the medical translator should also be familiar with local laws in such cases.

4. Is it necessary to be a doctor to be able to do medical translations?

The profession of translation also has its particulars as in medicine, and it is necessary to have a sufficient experience and training in this field in order to become a translator. Therefore, we cannot expect doctors to be permanent and professional medical translators if they speak a foreign language.

Translators in the medical field are people who are generally interested in medicine and its different branches, perhaps have doctors in different specialties in their family, have enhanced their medical knowledge over the years and know the requirements for professional translation. Considering the international medical congresses and conferences, which are also held frequently in our country, it is seen that interpretation is frequently needed in addition to written translation. When viewed from this aspect, it is expected that the person doing the medical translation, has a good command on medical terminology as much as a medical worker and knows the field to be translated in detail. Of course, there are people who are doctors and medical translators at the same time, but we can say that this is a coincidence and that the medical translation is usually done by professional translators specialized in the field of medicine.

5. What should a translator do to specialize in medicine?

As in legal and technical translations, medical translation is also one of the branches that require gaining experience and dealing with these subjects for a long time. Increasing developments and inventions in the field of medicine is a sign that education will never end for those who are specialized in medical translation. The fact that medicine is divided into many different subgroups and ongoing innovations in many branches of medicine such as pharmacology, surgery or dentistry, raise the importance of the medical translation every day. Therefore, medical translators should constantly follow the latest developments in the branches of medicine they translate, deal with the medical terminology and do a lot of research in the desired field and, if necessary, update their knowledge with the most accurate information by consulting medical experts during the medical translation process.

6. In which sub-headings do medical translators translate the most?

To give a few examples, these can be listed as follows; pharmaceutical translation, clinical experiment translation, medical patent translation, epicrisis report translation, clinical research translation, medical research translation, medical dissertation translation, academic medical document translation, case presentation translation, prescription translation, medical certificate translation, drug license translation, prospectus translation, drug brochure translation, pharmacology translation, biomedical translation, microbiology translation, surgery report translation, diagnostic translation, laboratory test result translation, medical analysis translation, health insurance translation, medical patent translation, license translation and medical book translation.

7. Through which criteria are medical translation prices determined?

Many different factors are taken into consideration in order to determine medical translation prices. Therefore, prices may be different for each translation company. The prices are calculated according to criteria such as the language of the text to be translated, target language, word count, the branch of medicine, deadline and the urgency level. For this reason, it is important to determine your needs correctly with your service provider.

Author: Esra Çengel

Date of Publication: 01/30/2020

Target Audience: All Translators, Students from the Department of Translation, Beginner Translators, Translators Who Want to Improve Themselves, Readers of Interesting Contents, People Who Need Translation Services

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