Why is medical translation so important?

Since we are twice as much on Earth as we were half a century ago, life expectancy has increased, and we humans continue to overstep the laws of nature. In spite of it all, we are confronted with new pathologies increasing, consequently, our demand for medical products.

For the international scientific community, and particularly in the field of research, English has established itself as the main language of communication. However, many clinical trials are conducted in areas where people do not speak English. In addition, the majority of medicines sold in a country are produced by a different one. It is therefore necessary for doctors and patients to be able to communicate in their native language in order to know the dosage of a drug to be administered or to know how to use medical equipment. For this reason, it is crucial for pharmaceutical groups to use the services of medical translators. They will provide instructions and guides for the use of medical products in the official language(s) of the target market.

When a patient’s life is threatened, it can be dangerous to rely solely on automatic translation softwares available on the Internet, even if they are increasingly efficient. An error on the meaning of an expression, false friends, acronyms or a misinterpretation of grammar structure can have tragic results.

Medical translators cannot afford any freedom in language, style or tone, as is the case in other areas of translation. The special nature of the so-called “medical” texts, which contain many distinctive features as well as terms peculiar to the medical area, makes their translation very demanding. Medical language is full of highly technical terms that are very difficult to understand for a non-medical-specialized person. Medical translation is also built around the different specialties in medicine (allergy, immunology, dermatology, neurology, etc.).

Calling on a translation agency is therefore the best option if your text is about dentistry, hematopoietic stem cells or medical physics! A professional, native and specialist translator in your field will translate the document that the agency has sent him/her. The medical translator is not only a proficient linguist, he or she is also a kind of proxy doctor who must understand and master each scientific term in order to be able to translate it into another language. They can be ex-doctors, since in this sector it quite common for a medical translator to have practiced in this field before retraining. The practical and theoretical experience gained on the ground enables them to produce high quality translations. A meticulous translator will also have to do a lot of research beforehand in order to get a good idea of the subject and its stakes. To facilitate the reader’s understanding, research on the standards, legislation, or laws in force in the target country should also be conducted to find good equivalents as they can vary a lot from one country to another.

Medical translation goes far beyond a simple language exercise. It requires a great deal of knowledge in the translators’ preferred fields, as errors can have serious consequences on public health.

Leave a Reply