First, do no harm: medical translation
Medical translation is one of the most complex and demanding types of translation. It must be performed with particular precision and care, as it imposes great responsibility on the translator.
Medical translation and pharmaceutical translation specialists are often practicing physicians and pharmacists with proven language skills, people with education in two fields, or translators with extensive experience in this field.
Medical translation and pharmaceutical translation: precision, knowledge, experience
The three components make up the perfect translator of medical and pharmaceutical texts. Medical translation is one of the most difficult types of translation. Translators are not only responsible for the correctness of translation, but are also obliged to continue their education in the field of translation and medicine.
The first problem with medical translation is the comprehension and correct interpreting of the text. While in the case of a regular document this would appear to be rather easy, medical texts represent a quite different level of difficulty.
A translator of medical and pharmaceutical texts needs to be familiar with the terminology related to medical sciences, pharmacy, biology or chemistry – these are just some of the areas that need to be mastered in this case. This is facilitated to a certain extent by the fact that many medical terms are of Latin or Greek origin, so their wording is similar in most languages. However, this also involves some risk. So-called false friends are terms which, despite their similar wording, differ in meaning in other languages. Even if a term sounds familiar, a translator of medical texts should always make sure that its exact meaning is correct.
Medical texts often include eponyms and abbreviations. Eponyms are names of diseases or anatomical parts that are derived from the names of the people who discovered them or suffered from them, or from purely fictitious characters. Therefore, while the Achilles tendon is a fairly common term, the disease known in Polish as Leśniewski’s disease is called Crohn’s disease in the US. A similar problem occurs with abbreviations – in Polish, the commonly used abbreviation for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome is the English one (AIDS). In Spanish, on the other hand, the abbreviation has been translated (SIDA). These are just two of the many examples that present the degree of accuracy that should be applied to the translation of medical texts.
Another problem faced by translators in this field is the level of complexity of the texts and their interdisciplinary nature. A translator of medical texts should be familiar with biology, chemistry, biotechnology or bioengineering. Therefore, they often specialize in translation in one specific field – e.g. cardiology, infectious diseases, general medicine, or pharmaceutical manufacturing.
Translation of medical texts
At Summa Linguae, we have carried out many medical translation projects. We have experience in translating:
- medical history,
- medical records,
- descriptions of surgeries,
- scientific publications in the field of medicine and pharmacy,
- pharmaceutical leaflets.
With over 20 years of experience on the market, Summa Linguae has built a large database of proven and experienced medical translators. As a result, our clients can be sure that each medical translation will be carried out by a professional.