How to Translate Doctors’ Handwritten Notes?

By: Salman Saeed Posted on Thu, 14-09-2023

Blog Image

Do you know that doctors’ sloppy handwriting has been reported to kill about 7,0000 people a year in 2006? This statistic may come as a shock to many, but anyone who has visited a doctor for medications has encountered the problem. The major problem is that they are unable to comprehend handwriting. Each day thousands of people worldwide visit doctors. Many of them are unable to understand the writing on the prescription. The reason? Doctor’s handwriting is often so “curvy” and “unorganized” that it is difficult to read. That’s why you need professional doctor handwriting translation for translating doctor’s prescriptions. But have you ever wondered why exactly is a doctor’s handwriting so untidy? This handwriting can pose even greater problems for translators who need to translate medical prescriptions and patient files. The process of translating a doctor’s sloppy handwriting may seem like an arduous task. However, it is easy to achieve with a little practice, thanks to medical translation services. Let’s look into why this handwriting is so difficult to read in the first place.

Why is a Doctor’s Handwriting so Tough to Read?

The medical and healthcare field is a tough one, requiring the utmost time and attention of doctors and nurses alike. The doctors need to be alert to any kind of emergency and to write down all medical procedures. This process of documenting all medical procedures and prescriptions may cause them to feel overburdened. Hence, when they write down a prescription, they might already be exhausted. Another big reason why a doctor’s handwriting is not legible is that they tend to write short forms of medicines. Since these doctors are well aware of the medical world, they write in short form. Through writing, they may be referring to medicines or treatment instructions. Even if this writing is clear, it may still cause confusion to the reader. This is because they may be unaware of the short form that the doctor has written. The doctors’ handwriting usually contains abbreviated forms of drugs and medicines. Since the patients are not aware of these short forms, it may cause legibility issues for the patient.

Translating A Doctor’s Handwritten Notes

Now that we know why doctors’ handwriting is so hard to understand, let us explore the translation of this writing as a part of medical translation services. A doctor’s prescription needs translation as part of the medical procedures and for record-keeping. Since not all patients can read or write in the language of the doctor, translation of the text is a must. But how can a translator actually translate a doctor’s handwritten note if he does not understand the writing? Here are a few tips on how a translator can handle the tough task of translating a doctor’s handwritten notes:

  • First of all, the translator should convert the original text into an editable format. But before the editing process starts, it is better to go for pre-editing.
  • The pre-editing process contains some steps that must be filled in by the translator. He is required to complete the converted text with information that was unrecognized by the converter.
  • A translator needs to mark fragments of the text. He then needs to separate them according to the comprehension ability of the reader.
  • The language on the prescription may not be the one that a translator understands, the translator should consult the doctor first. Consulting with the doctor involves ensuring that the patient understands the text correctly.
  • If the translator still fails to understand the text even after consultation with the doctor, he should request the doctor to type it out to avoid any confusion.

“Recreation” of the Doctor’s Notes

The medical field requires the recreation of text to make it easy for linguists to translate it. This is because the prescription by a doctor is in another format that is not easy to translate. To “recreate” a doctor’s note, a translator needs to convert it into an editable format for easy translation. This process may require “formatting” the text to make it easier to translate. For example, if the doctor’s handwritten note is present in a pdf format, the translator must convert it into a text format to save it for translation later. On the other hand, if the doctor’s handwritten notes are in an image format, a translator can use some form of OCR processing to recover any editable text. After the process of “recreation” is complete and the doctor’s handwritten note is in front of a translator, he can do the doctor’s handwriting translation from one language to the target language.

Key Takeaway

A large population of people complain of one thing when they visit a doctor–” Why is the doctor’s handwriting so difficult to understand”? There are some reasons why a doctor’s handwritten notes are so sloppy. A doctor may be feeling tired or exhausted owing to the documentation process of every treatment. Secondly, since a doctor is well aware of the drugs and medicines, he tends to write their names in an abbreviated form. A patient may feel confused and find it challenging to comprehend. Nevertheless, even if a doctor’s handwritten notes are difficult to understand, they need to be translated in order to provide healthcare advantages to people across the globe.