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Medical translations

Accurate medical translations are crucial to ensure clear communication, patient safety, and the dissemination of vital healthcare information across linguistic barriers.

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What makes medical translations special

Translators of medical documents are subject to extremely high professional obligations, particularly in terms of specialist knowledge and ensuring that their work does not contain errors that could prove harmful to a patient’s health or have a negative effect on their treatment.

Much like translators working with legal and technical materials, medical translators need to possess a thorough understanding of their subject matter. In fact, many of the linguists we work with actually come from a medical or clinical background or have chosen to specialise in a particular area of medicine or pharmaceuticals after training as a translator.

When it comes to producing medical translations, it is absolutely essential that no errors or ambiguities arise in the target language. The translation not only has to be completely factually accurate, so that the reader can rely fully on the correctness of the content; it also has to use standard medical language that can be understood across by all the practitioners involved – but which is often unfamiliar or confusing to the non-specialist.

Medical texts almost always contain specific specialist terminology, which has to be adhered to as a matter of principle, and this is why we only work with properly qualified translators who have proven their ability to engage in research and use state-of-the-art tools such as computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools) and terminology management software to ensure consistent and precise translations even over extended periods of time.

What needs to be taken into account when producing medical translations

As we have seen, it is vital that medical translators have specialist knowledge and are familiar with the specific technical language to be used in medical translations.

Absolute precision is essential for medical translations, as an incorrect translation could lead to serious negative impacts on a patient's wellbeing – there really is no room for error. It’s also worth noting that professional translators who do not possess the appropriate specialist knowledge will usually turn down any offers of medical translation work, so you really should be wary of anyone offering to do this without the proper qualifications or background.

Types of medical translations

Medical translations typically involve documents concerning a patient or patients’ treatment and diagnosis, prescriptions, scientific articles and information on the development and operation of technical equipment, procedures or medicines.

It is common in the translation industry for a distinction to be made between purely medical assignments – where the translator will often actually be a doctor – and pharmaceutical documents, which might be handled from someone with a background or research interest in this area.

Whatever the exact subject matter, however, we place great weight on having our clients’ texts handled by a suitably experience linguist who will produce a document of the quality you can rely on and we are happy to put our name to.

Also, to provide you with extra peace of mind, the final translation can be checked by an additional medical professional.

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