Fundamentals of Medical Translation

Medical translation is in its own class. All translations should be fine, but few regions have consequences as scary as an improperly translated medical document. When there are misunderstandings, the health and welfare of the patient may be affected.

Medical translators are not just people who speak two languages ​​with the desire to translate medical information. A very small number of performers are thinking about the fact that an incorrect and not exact translation, for example, of construction documentation, can lead to the destruction of the building. But as for the medical translation, then many believe that their work can be harmful to human health and life. It is the fear of responsibility that helps to find a professional in this field who has the experience and sufficient knowledge to cope with such a task. Professional medical translators should understand the terminology, audience and culture before translating and editing your documents.


The translator must be familiar with the area in which he translates. This is especially true for medical translators. Medical terminology can be very complex and often very specific. Even a small change in the wording may be the difference between life and death. To avoid problems, translators should be familiar with the source language, output language and domain to ensure accurate information transfer. Medical terminology is constantly evolving, so a specialist in this field should be aware of the latest developments and news. For this purpose, many language specialists in this field attend seminars, profile meetings, follow new literature, etc.

In many cases, medical terminology is characteristic of the source language, and words may not have a direct translation in the target language. In this case, the words should be transliterated and explained, so that a person without medical knowledge could read and understand them. This requires knowledge of the basic assumptions that led to the creation of the term. In addition, medical texts are filled with abbreviations and acronyms. Since most acronyms and abbreviations do not translate, the translator must know how to resume concepts in the output language. Without understanding the medical field, reports, prescriptions, guidelines, instructions, etc. they can change significantly from their implied meaning.

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First of all, it is necessary to determine for whom the translated information will be intended? Medical terminology can be very complex. If your audience includes medical professionals, they can be expected to understand the complex language of their field. However, if your text is to be read by a layman, you should submit the text in plain language, if possible. Not every medical text can be rephrased and presented to the reader in a simple and clear form.

Specialized terminology is always improved. There are new concepts and ideas that are presented and created every day. If the translator is not familiar with the industry, he will not know the new conditions, how to link them to specific examples in the output language, or how to effectively present the nuances of information. When other professionals who read magazines, attended seminars and are relevant with research, read translations, they have a basis on which to create the correct translation. Others, including many technical personnel, may not be able to understand new concepts without additional information. Without a proper understanding of the audience, it will be much more difficult for a language specialist to perform a medical translation.


Medical transfers must be localized. Localization addresses cultural elements such as dosage doses (ounces compared to grams or milliliters), acronyms such as BID (twice a day), BIS (twice) or PRN (as needed), reductions, and ways to do business. For example, most countries address their doctors and medical professionals in different ways. Some cultures still combined traditional medicine with modern medicine. There are also time differences, personal space and the way in which procedures are planned and executed.

In many cultures, the way professionals are addressed is very important. To use the wrong formality in the language would be very offensive, even if the content itself was correct.

These are just a few of the problems that medical translators face daily. If you have medical documents to translate, be sure that your translators have medical knowledge and experience and own fluency in the target language and culture.

Fundamentals of Medical Translation обновлено: October 19, 2017 автором: azurit