Last updated on June 16th, 2022 at 09:43 am
Medical translation is the conversion of medical documents and files, including its terminology, from one language into another. Doctors and hospitals aren’t the only ones who rely on medical translation—millions of people benefit from medical translation every day. We’d like to show you more about how medical document translation works for you and how we make it work for our clients worldwide.
We’ll look deeper into how medical staff uses medical translation. But first, let’s look at some other entities and organizations that benefit from medical translation:
The second most spoken language in the US is Spanish. English to Spanish medical translation, and vice versa, is an essential resource for serving communities across the US. While other languages spoken in the US may not be as prevalent as Spanish, translation is still a must to help these populations with issues like prescriptions to government and healthcare announcements.
A medical translator is just like any other kind, right? They go through medical documents and translate them into the language needed. Absolutely not. Medical and healthcare translation leaves no room for error and requires a high level of expertise from the translator. That’s why we only use medical professionals who can fluently translate medical terminology from the source language to the target language with no change in meaning.
I am a translator with more than 15 years of experience., I work on IT and marketing translation, but would never consider doing medical translation since I do not know or understand complex medical terms. Research in medical translation will not be enough to find the appropriate term; deep understanding and knowledge is needed when dealing with complex medical documents. Mistranslation could lead to deadly results.
Read on for some examples of the difference professional healthcare translators make.
Medical translators play an important role in patient care. While a patient is in the hospital, charts and instructions should be translated for any multilingual staff, patients, and caregivers. This includes instructions for physical therapists, nurses, and orderlies.
Medical translators remove the limitations placed on medical progress by language barriers. Paired with advances in communication methods like email, a doctor can tell a colleague about new information in seconds. Labs can exchange information on experiments that they can then use to set up studies to test new medications, devices, and procedures.
Medical document translation continues to work after the patient is discharged from the hospital. Instructions on how to use devices and administer medications are sent home with patients and caregivers to help the patient recover with as little pain and difficulty as possible.
Medical terminology is highly precise, and one mistranslated word or number could harm someone. Medical terminology also varies widely by field, e.g. dentistry versus optometry. Our medical translators are experts in the specific field required.
Medical translators must be able to translate medical terminology meant for medical experts, but they must also know how to translate medical material meant for a patient. If you’re communicating with a doctor, you’d say “scapula,” but if you’re communicating with a patient, “shoulder blade” would make more sense. Or, “blade bone” or “wing bone” might make more sense according to regional dialect. Also, some medical websites require the usage of several keywords for patients and other very different ones for doctors and researchers. Knowing the audience and how the document is going to be used is extremely important to give context to the medical translator to work on a brochure, case study, or website.
Some forms of medical terminology a medical translator must be knowledgeable of include:
“Ad lib” is a medical abbreviation that has nothing to do with stand-up comedy but means “at liberty.” OCP is an initialism that means “oral contraceptive pills.” NICU is an acronym that means “neonatal intensive care unit.” A medical translator must be able to identify all of these correctly in the source and target language.
An eponym is a word or term that is named after someone. For instance, Graves disease is named after Robert Graves and does not refer to a place where bodies are interred. It is also important to know that eponyms can vary. Graves disease may be the name for the malady in the US, but in Europe, the condition is often called von Basedow’s disease, after Karl von Basedow. A professional medical translator must be able to identify these correctly, based on experience and the capacity to understand the context of the content. Eponyms are widely used in medicine.
A doublet is two or more words that have the same root meaning but have variations in meaning. Consider “cut” versus “laceration.” “Cut” is a general word, whereas “laceration” in medicine typically means a deep and/or jagged cut. “Cut” can be a noun or a verb but “laceration” is always a noun with the verb form “lacerate.” Medical translators must be acutely aware of such terminology.
Some tangible examples of how medical translation works are:
Examples of our work In Medical Translation Services
Our mission is to break down language barriers in society, the healthcare sector, and the field of medicine. Ethics, empathy, and knowledge add to the translation process and the magic of communication to mitigate suffering.
Do not hesitate to contact us with your medical translation needs, whether it’s a single page or a library of medical textbooks. We have the professionals for the job and are ready to talk with you about your project. Our translation company will create the team needed for your project.