Top Medical Translation Tips

By Translator Thoughts
In Medical Translation
Dec 9th, 2013

Medical Translation Tips


Medical TranslationMedical translation is the translation of technical, regulatory, clinical or marketing documentation, software or training curriculums for the pharmaceutical, medical devices or healthcare fields. This particular service is used constantly by hospitals to ensure they offer fair treatment and a correct diagnosis of a patient’s particular problem.

These tips can be used by anyone working in the medical translation industry:

– Get certified – This is not always required but getting certified can provide a competitive edge, resulting in pay increases from day one.
– Set daily goals and take regular breaks – Setting short terms goals throughout the day will help you get through the day faster and ultimately help you manage your time more effectively. Taking hourly breaks for a few minutes will make all the difference and help you refocus.
– Distractions – Medical terminology is one of the most complicated and contradictory language, where medical errors can be deadly serious and lead to life-threatening situations. It is therefore important to try and keep all distractions to a minimum.
– Perfection – A very important tip is to try and avoid making errors. The old adage “time is money” is appropriate in this field – the slightest error can result in additional time spent fixing those mistakes.
– Research – apart from proficiency in source and target languages, a good medical translator should have excellent research capabilities. He/she must keep abreast of the latest medical terminology by going through the most recent journals, as well as browsing the web. Typical tools required for medical translation would be up-to-date scientific and medical dictionaries, books, access to internet, etc.
All medical document wording must be in plain English or the required native language. The recommended standard for the language level is4th to 8th grade of school. Any scientific or legal term must be explained in simple terms. The original and translated version must be ‘consistent’, which means the original style and content must be preserved. Even the font size and footer information must be maintained.
The translation must also maintain first person account such as ‘I’, ‘my’, ’me’ throughout. Translation memory tools identify repetitive text present in the source document and correlate it to the previously translated segment to ensure consistency.

A medical translator has to have a deep understanding of the subject as well as inclination for research to get accurate medical translations done. One of the problems faced by medical translators is the constant use of abbreviations and acronyms in the field of medicine. Adding to the difficulties of a medical translator are the multiple meanings of the same abbreviation or acronym. Depending on the context, the translator has to choose the right meaning. This fact increases the need for engaging a professional translation service for translating medical documents.


Author Bio:

Nina Lizunova is a Language Project Coordinator at Romo Translations, which provides translation and interpreting services in London, for private clients and large corporations that operate in a multinational, multi-cultural business environment.

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TranslatorThoughts is a blog about Translation, Interpreting, Languages and Freelancing. Featuring articles from a variety of authors, interviews, tips and much more. If you want to contribute, write an email at

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