Medical translation: why it’s important to use a professional

25/05/2019 | Rebecca Twose

Medical translation not only requires the translator to speak the target language fluently, but they should also have some experience in the fields relating to medicine. This can mean they have worked in, or are qualified in areas such as General Medicine, Optometry, Podiatry, Chiropractic Medicine or Pharmacy.

Medical translation fields

Many medical translators translate doctor’s notes and medical reports, articles for medical journals, reports and research from medical trials, instruction manuals, information leaflets and medical websites. You can find a medical translator by using a trusted language service provider. A good translation provider will have well-qualified, experienced medical translators working for them.

A lot of medical translators are specialists in a particular field. It is work that requires 100% accuracy because mistakes in this type of translation could cause a great deal of harm. A good example of this is the case of Teresa Tarry.

A catastrophic translation error

Teresa is British, but in 2007 she was living in Spain. She was admitted to the hospital to deal with a large lump on her breast. The doctors read her translated notes and came to the conclusion that her mother and her sister had suffered from breast cancer. They decided rather than remove the lump, they would remove both her breasts, to protect her from developing cancer like her mother and her sister. Unfortunately, the notes said no such thing and the lump in her breast was benign. Teresa Tarry did not confirm whether her notes were translated professionally, but many ex-pat’s living abroad, rely on people they know who can read and write in a foreign language, without having translation experience or qualifications.

Other services

Language service providers will also offer Medical Interpreting and Medical Transcription. Interpreting will ensure that people who are in a hospital in a country where they don’t speak the language will receive the correct medical care. Transcription makes sure that any conversations or interviews a person has with a medical expert are put into writing, in case they are needed at a later date.

If you would like to know more about the medical translation services provided by Language Insight, send us an email or give us a call.

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