Translation of Medical Articles: A Short Guide
By: Salman Saeed
The field of healthcare and medicine involves the exploration and treatment of many aspects of human health. With the advancement in technology, the dissemination and spread of medical knowledge have become more important than ever. This dissemination of medical information is through medical articles, journals, and published research.
Due to the impact that the information in these medical articles has on human life, it is imperative to provide an error-free and accurate translation. This translation of medical articles concerns multiple aspects of human health, such as drug prescription information, clinical trial literature, medical patents, patent education, medical device manuals, prescription information, and medical history.
Before exploring some tips for the translation of medical articles, it is important to understand just how important this translation is.
The Importance of Translating Medical Articles
Translation of medical articles may be one of the most complex and tough activities in this fast-paced world. These medical articles may contain medical terms that are hard to understand, and therefore, require the services of certified and professional medical translators. Nevertheless, this translation of medical articles plays a crucial role in the accurate spread of medical knowledge throughout the world and the medical community.
The importance of translating medical articles can be witnessed by taking some examples of mistranslation that causes irreparable losses. Wrong information due to translation errors can result in incorrect dosages of medicine, and can also jeopardize a patient’s life. Therefore, the field of medicine requires translators who are highly expert as well as cautious about the medical terminology and translation of subject-specific phrases.
The reason behind choosing a professional medical translator is that any person claiming to be bilingual may struggle to translate complex medical terminology. This may also cause mistranslation which can have serious repercussions. For example, in 2007, a flawed translation at a Berlin hospital caused an implantation error. Prosthesis labels that were marked “non-modular cemented” were incorrectly translated to “zementfrei”, which means “not requiring cement”. This mistranslation led to 47prostheses implants without cement, incurring difficulties for the affected patients.
Such incidents of mistranslation are common, considering the complex medical terminology involved, Consequently, hiring a professional medical translator is paramount to ensuring the correct medical information is translated and conveyed.
Risks of Mistranslation in Medical Articles
When opting for medical translation, the two foremost factors that must be kept in consideration are accuracy and quality. If the translation of medical reports is not accurate, it may lead to errors in diagnosis or treatment. An error in translation of this highly sensitive material means risking a patient’s health, or even life.
One of the most common errors during the translation of medical reports is the abbreviations. The translator encountering these abbreviations must be extra careful about them as they need to match the context with the meaning of the abbreviated term.
Some of the other errors that occur as a result of the negligence and incompetence of medical translators are:
- Complications occurring due to faulty treatment or diagnosis
- Inadequate or poor healthcare service provided to the patient
- Delayed treatment
- A failure to provide a timely diagnosis
- Legal costs incurred as a result of medical lawsuits
A way to deal with such risks in the mistranslation of medical articles is to hire a medical translation specialist who is well-versed in the terms and nuances of the medical field. Moreover, such an expert medical translator must also have a full grasp of the relevant medical contexts involved in medical journals and articles.
Tips for Accurate Medical Articles Translation
Translation of medical articles is not an easy task. The following tips can be useful when translating medical articles, especially when the intent is to publish and circulate these medical articles:
- Understand the context
When taking up the task of translation, a company must ensure that the chosen translation partner understands the context. Moreover, the context behind these medical articles must be carefully analyzed before translation. A translator must, therefore, be able to understand the cultural differences and the existing language barriers.
A medical translator who is an expert at the translation of medical reports acknowledges and understands the role that an accurate translation plays in a healthcare setting. This is the reason why they must also have a full understanding of the local market that the article is being targeted for.
- Medical compliance and learning
There are various international certifications that a medical translator must fulfill in order to show competence in their specific field of language translation. Interestingly, the medical translator must also keep in account that these compliance tests and regulations are continuously evolving to match the medical field requirements.
When opting to hire medical translators, make sure the chosen translator is well aware of the medical regulations. Not only that but your chosen medical translator must also be certified and should display a commitment to seek further learning for more professional translation.
- Appropriate medical research
The translation of medical articles is one of the most complex tasks in the translation industry. The reason is that research and detailed studies back these medical articles. During translation, the translator must adopt the same mindset as the people who have conducted the medical research. This is possible only when adequate and proper research is executed along with an analysis to understand the scope, purpose, and conclusion of the medical research.
In order to succeed in the translation of medical articles, a translator must be equipped with three essential tools; hardware (books and journals providing background information on the published article), software (access to electronic files), and the human context of the medical article.
- An efficient method of the translation workflow
The translation of medical articles is a time-consuming and tough process. It needs a methodical approach as well as a standardized process to ensure quality control and precision at each step of the job.
The workflow method for translating medical articles must be efficient enough to consider all the related factors. This involves extracting the text from the original medical article. Next, it is vital to analyze the tone and voice of the text. The third step involves the actual translation and keeping the same format as the original document. The final stage is implementing quality-control strategies to make sure the translation is executed precisely.
The Process of Medical Articles Translation
Here are the key steps to follow for the translation of medical articles.
- Preparation of the medical article
The first and foremost step is the preparation of the medical article before handing it over for translation. To prepare the medical article, the scope of the article must be defined, including what needs to be translated, the desired target languages, and any regulatory requirements.
- Providing articles in editable format
Clients can assist in this process by providing articles in an editable format, such as files produced using a word processing program.
- Creation of glossary terms
Next, the creation of glossary terms to be used in the translation must be prepared. This guarantees accuracy in the final article and helps to reduce editing costs incurred due to inconsistent terminology.
- Translation of medical article
After preparation, the medical article is translated into the requested target languages.
- Review and analysis
After the translation is complete, a medical expert or a proofreader proficient in medical translation must review the translated article. This ensures that the translation adheres to the appropriate voice and style of the original article. The translated text also goes through an in-country review to ensure the correct translation of the medical terminology and phrases. This is also to make sure that the translation meets all the specific requirements of the article, as well as the technical specifications required by the client.
The translation of medical articles is a tough and complex task, owing to the sensitivity of the information conveyed. Any error in the translation of medical articles can result in dire consequences for the patients. This is the reason why it is so important to hire the help of expert medical translators who are well-versed in the translation of complex medical terminology and can deliver timely and accurate translations of medical articles.