Document Translation Healthcare

What Are The Top Mistakes In Medical Translations?

September 20, 2021
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Hospitals frequently admit patients for whom English is a second language, which, naturally, leads to the need for medical translation. Medical translation companies can prepare patient materials, forms, websites, and other information in foreign languages. Doctors and nurses will be better informed about the state of the patient’s health if they have translated healthcare records, for instance. Below are the top mistakes in medical translations.

Not Using A Professional Service

In medical situations, doctors and hospitals often seek interpreting help from family members, which can quickly become problematic. There are a lot of hospitals that utilize phone services, where they can quickly get help in multiple languages; however, the people who work for those language services often aren’t certified, so they aren’t necessarily up-to-speed with the current medical terminology. Even a simple misunderstanding concerning something like medication dosage or patient allergies can have serious consequences, so it is best to trust medical translation to professional linguists.

Not Translating In The Appropriate Style

Translators with minimal experience may not fully comprehend all the aspects of styling in a script. Because of unfamiliarity with the target language, they translate a document without knowledge of its appropriate style, changing the essence of a document. It is important to translate a document in the correct tone to convey the real meaning of the topic. For instance, a script of a medical or legal document will sound completely different compared to a script from a movie. This is why it is important to opt for using a professional translation company, which will help avoid mistakes in medical translations.

Inconsistent Use of Neologisms, Synonyms, Obsolete Terms

The medical industry provides a unique challenge for translators since there are new terms constantly emerging. Translators must be careful when using new terms and synonyms. Also, with the medical fields, there is a constant mixing of obsolete and soon-to-be obsolete terminology. Medical terminology is constantly evolving, so it is difficult to update and correct referencing dictionaries and specialized glossaries. Obviously, this can lead to some translation issues, so it is best to work with a translation company that is up-to-date in terms of medical terminology.

Opting For Google Translate

In a study by the British Medical Journal, a tech-savvy clinician and consultant team chose ten phrases often used by doctors in a clinical setting and translated them into 26 languages with Google Translate. For the sake of detail, they covered languages of a wide variety of linguistic families, including 8 Western European, 5 Eastern European, 11 Asian and 2 African.

According to the study, “the algorithm did not perform well, with Western European languages approaching 74% correct rates, Eastern European languages following with 62% correct rates, Asian at 46%, and African languages finishing last at 45%. Overall the correct language percentage for all languages was 57.7%.”

The point is clear: though “just Google it” is a common phrase used to answer everything, it does not apply to health-related translations. If you want to learn more about how machine translations stack up against human translations, check out this blog.

iTi | Medical Document Translation Services

iTi’s dedicated and experienced teams offer a wide range of multilingual solutions for domestic and global corporations in a variety of industries. With our expansive resources, you can take advantage of communication services on a global scale, creating, managing, and distributing your content in any format.

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This blog was updated on 9/20/21

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