Challenges in Medical Translation and the Role of Medical Translation Services

Posted by Angelina Jeter on January 22nd, 2021

Translations in the medical industry should be no less than perfect. Accounting for a fact that faulty medical translation can result in exacerbation of disease, misery or sometimes even death, translations should be performed with utmost regards to accuracy. As a result, the quickest, convenient, and surest way to translate medical device instructions and documents, medical software documentation, pharmaceutical information is through outsourcing medical translations to professional medical translation services.

Due to this peculiar nature of medical translations, medical translations can be exceptionally challenging to translators. This article aims to delineate the challenges during medical translations - such that it could be of help to businesses and translators to recognize the need for accuracy, and/or urgency.

Specialized Translators

Aspiring translators might gradually incline towards specialization - owing to that it directly results in a hike in earning. One of the most fruitful, yet one of the most in-demand specializations for translators could come in the form of medical translations. Medical translators are rare - because of the legal burden inherent to every medical translation. Such discrepancy in supply and demand essentially can present a challenge in getting medical translations.

Accuracy and Quality Controllers

To ensure the accuracy of the translations a careful quality control measures should be in place. This can lead to red-tapism - which is intrinsic to the medical industry - but can also save a life. An expert translator with years of experience in medical translation can fulfill the role of the quality controller - ensuring accuracy but also saving lives.

Intended Audience

There is a hierarchy of sophistication when translating a medical document. Usually, if the end-user is a medical professional, the translation is to be done by including full-fledged medical terminologies, abbreviations, and eponyms. All the while if the intended audience is a lay reader or the patient party - which includes documents like informed consent documents, patient fact sheets, package leaflets, questionnaires, drug information leaflets, the medical translator must use language that is understandable to the masses. The text should use vocabulary that is easy to comprehend and if possible, explained in detail.

Jargon, Eponyms, and Abbreviations

Medical jargon can confuse a novice translator. To begin with, many medical words sound the same - like acetohexamide and acetazolamide, glaucoma and glucagonoma, hydroxychloroquine and hydrochlorothiazide. These jargons need to be given proper treatment - some of the words are translatable while some might be translated through neologisms.

Eponyms like Von-Hippel Lindau disease, or Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser disease, or Fallopian tubes might need to be neologized into a language or sometimes need to be translated. To cite an example, Fallopian tubes in German are known as Eileiter. Also, while English might be lingua franca for medical jargon and many of the English acronyms should be adapted to other languages.

The Role of Medical Document Translation Services

The challenges present in medical translations can be assuaged by choosing medical translation services. Here’s why:

  • Expert translators: Online services employ medical translators with years of experience. This scrutinous process allows for translation to be foolproof and accurate. 
  • Glossary of terms: Medical records translation services  harbor glossary of thousands of terms that are used frequently during the process of translation. This allows for intelligent and accurate translation. 
  • Quality controller: As mentioned previously, an expert translator provides the necessary rubrics helping to generate the correct end-product.  

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Angelina Jeter

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Angelina Jeter
Joined: August 31st, 2020
Articles Posted: 13

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