First, I want to start with the difference between general translation and medical translation. The medical text consists of delicate information. Way more delicate information than the general texts has. The semantic differences within the translations may cause big time. In medical translations, small mistakes can cause big risks. Therefore, translator is should be careful of what is he doing. He has to be conscious of the risk that he may cause.
When it comes to the health and medicine, language barriers must never be an issue. Here is an example, almost a quarter of the population in the US does not speak English. It would be scary to not be able to get a medical treatment when these people feel unwell don’t you think so? In addition, studies show that patients who communicate in their native language are more likely to respond better to a treatment.
In medical translation, the language used should be as clear as it can be to avoid possible misunderstanding. And medical language is based on Latin, its preferable to work with a translator who have the education of this language.
Medical translation requires highly technical and delicate knowledge. It’s only because a word which is used commonly and daily may mean something very different in the medical text. It’s also an important issue to know the audience of the document. For instance, the translation of a drug may differ from commercial purpose or translating it for a doctor. The language which the translator will use may not be the same. For a commercial purpose, a simple and attractive tone would be enough, but it is not the best way to translate it for a doctor. The translator must do his best to avoid ambiguity. For example, the word ‘’drug’’ in English mean two different things in Turkish. ‘’Uyuşturucu’’ which means narcotics and ‘’İlaç’’ which means pill. The translator should be conscious of the context. It is also necessary to proofread the translation before delivery to avoid possible mistakes. And another thing makes the medical translations difficult is lots of abbreviations and medical specific terms are used. Thus, the translator needs to know the terminology which is required. Before beginning to translate it’s a better idea to do some literature review.
There are some other issues needed to take into consideration. For example, some countries have strict regulations about drug approval and other medical procedures. It is very important to take these details into consideration. A detail may cause delay of the drug approval or even cause rejection. For such reasons, the translator must know necessary information about regulations and applicable laws.
Medical translation is also can be used verbally. As an example, a tourist may need to seek medical attention during vacation. Because of the medical congresses and conferences, countries are in need of oral translation services alongside document translation. As health tourism is a developing matter also makes medical translation more required.
It’s also a necessity to get a medical translation service to keep abreast of the latest developments about medical in different countries.
The most important thing is to translate the medical text 100% manually. It’s not a wise way to use machine translation. Machine translation may not be able to help you to translate the main idea. Also, they may not be familiar with the terminology that used in the text.
As there is no personal thoughts and comments in the medical text, it is not necessary to have creative ability. It’s not necessary to be a doctor to translate a medical document. But it is crucial to receive decent education in how to translate medical documents.
Which are the most common sub-categories of the medical translation?
Medical reports, test results, prescription, instructions for medical patents and medical stuff, epicrisis reports, pharmaceutical translations, translations of clinical trials and clinical investigations, medical thesis translation, translations of medical certificates, biomedical translation, medical microbiology translation and many more. For example, pharmaceutical translation which can also be referred as pharma translation, includes the translation of instruction for how to use a medicine or a pill. This is one of the delicate translation type among others. It’s because even the smallest mistake in the translation may potentially cause an accident. Same applies for the translation of prescriptions. A small mistake in the translation can cause an overdose. Let’s look at another one. The translation of clinical trials. This may be the longest of all medical translation. They may take months or even years to complete. Which means, a smallest mistake can go all the time and energy for nothing.
Healthcare is a human right, so does the medical translation. And it must be accessible for everyone. It makes everyone feel safe and comfortable if the medical treatment is available in patients own language. Also, it would not be possible to develop in this way without the medical translation.