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What Are The Challenges Of Translating Medical Documents?

Healthcare, Popular Brandon Choquette on Feb 3, 2016 6:30:00 AM

Dollarphotoclub_75823210.jpgMedical translation is a highly specialized field of translation due to the technical and sensitive nature of documents (they greatly affect human life). Medical translation presents several unique challenges, meaning that general translation expertise alone is often not enough to deliver an accurate translation.

It's inherently challenging  to create multilingual documentation and labeling that satisfies regulatory standards while supporting a company's communication goals for products.

Medical documents frequently make use of specialized terminology and newly developed concepts that may not even exist in the target language. As the medical field is inherently broad, medical translators need expertise and experience in the sub-discipline or knowledge area to which a document pertains.

This is just a brief view into the difficulties surrounding translation for medical documents. If you would like to learn more, continue reading to discover the main challenges of translating medical documents.

Click here to learn how translation memory can costs on your next medical translation project

Specialized Language Knowledge

It's almost as if the medical industry has a language of its own, what with the extended use of shorthand and specific industry jargon. Translation companies that don't have specialized medical experience often rely on translators who do not have a firm understanding of the document that needs to be translated.

One of the problems faced by medical translators is the free use of abbreviations and acronyms in the field of medicine. They are defined differently in various dictionaries and scientific literature. Therefore, it's important that you partner with a company who has experience translating for the medical field.

Otherwise, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. Professional translators with an understanding of the medical field can accurately translate medical records, doctor manuals, instructions, prescriptions and patient records

Untranslatable Words

One cannot discuss technical translation without also addressing the issue of "untranslatable" words. Quite often medical translators are faced with the challenge of translating a word, a phrase, a concept that does not have a direct equivalent in the target language.

Sometimes translating such a word or phrase would render the translated version meaningless so the temptation for the translator may be to leave it out altogether. 

4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Medical Translation Company

Finding The Balance Between Cost And Quality

Understanding how to maintain the balance between quality and cost is one of the main challenges of translating medical materials. If for some reason you need an example to highlight how important translations are in the medical field, read NPR's article, "In The Hospital, A Bad Translation Can Destroy A Life." We understand that you want to keep costs down, and we will do everything we can to assist you, however, this is not an area that you can skimp on.

Staying Up-To-Date

As we've mentioned earlier, there is a lot of specialized terminology involved in medical translation projects. So, it's increasingly important that you find a translation team who can stay up-to-date with industry knowledge.

Translators who specialize in the medical field often immerse themselves in the latest medical research, subscribing to useful industry journals to keep up-to-date with new developments.

By staying informed about new developments and terminology, these translators are able to develop a nuanced understanding of the healthcare field and perform to a consistently high standard.

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. Click the image below to download our free translation checklist.