Medical and healthcare translations need in-depth field knowledge, accuracy, and consistency. And this is not possible without the years-long experience of healthcare translators and subject-matter linguists.
Since medical documents comprise information that’s very sensitive and vital to human life, there’s no tolerance for errors and mistakes in translations. With such a complex discipline that’s medicine, this often demands professional healthcare translation services to render the job.
A professional translator would follow certain best practices and procedures to deliver the right outcomes. Pay close attention to the following practical tips if you also look to provide professional standard translations in the medical industry. These tips and suggestions are sure to make your life easy as a medical translation provider. And you’ll be producing highly effective translations for your medical clients.
Diversify your Industry Knowledge
Do you have a degree in medicine or any specialty in the medical area? Well, this is a good foundation to build on. Even if you don’t have any of these, you should never be a conformist. Be a lifelong learner and continue to train yourself.
Continuous learning is very important so try to read more and more. You should be able to absorb any new concepts and ideas and use that knowledge to the best of your advantage. That’s to provide medical translation services to your clients.
Bring Technology into Play
You’re wrong if you think that experience and expertise are the only things required to provide excellent translations. Just like healthcare professionals need specialized equipment to perform their duties, the same applies to you as a translator.
You need to equip yourself with the best instruments. Remember translation software could be your best friend if you use it wisely. They can help minimize quality issues related to output text as well as make it simple to handle repetitive content.
When you use translation software, it may also help you during the quality assurance process. For instance, you can use them to validate different terms present all across medical documents.
By using predefined criteria, the translation software could also play an important role in checking errors in the translation. Have a chat with professional medical translators and they will tell you that we use at least a couple of programs to verify the quality of their work.
Do Quality Research and Planning
Being prepared is key to success in delivering any professional service and medical translation is no exception. Therefore, practice good planning and do the research that will result in successful projects.
The first step in planning your project should be to scope out the entire task. You can have a call with the client and ask them the most relevant questions. For example, if the client approaches you for Polish translation services, you can ask them whether it’s Greater Polish, Lesser Polish, or any other dialect they want to target. Similarly, you can ask them whether their audience lives in Poland or other parts of the world like Canada, the UK, and Argentina.
Similarly, you need to thoroughly research different medical issues and patients’ histories related to the given project. You can do this by reading web information, past medical records, books, etc.
Think About the Level of Health Literacy
You will agree that some patients are educated and some know nothing about the field. Therefore, always be mindful that your readers don’t possess the same level of awareness and information. This will help you use simple words and phrases that not only communicate the original meaning but are also culturally accurate.
The condition that the majority of patients don’t understand the meanings of complex medical terms is referred to as health literacy. It’s 100% true especially when it comes to medical publications which are targeted at the general masses.
Examine the References
When there are several articles or documents for reference, it can be complicated to translate them as well as the cost of the translation process can also go up. Hence, it’s a common practice to not translate the references section and leave it as it is.
Please note this is in accordance with the APA Guidelines. Which state that it’s not inappropriate for a translator to provide their translation without the original title. Except when they are citing a work in the Spanish language which is the only exception.
It’s also true that clients expect you to provide them with proper suggestions and guidelines about their text or material’s referencing. Simply because all major linguistic providers do that, such as CCJK, TransPerfect, Stepes, you name it.
Don’t Ignore the Value of Cultural Awareness
All good translators know that being aware of the target culture plays a great part in ensuring a successful translation of the text. Because whenever there are cultural differences, chances are your written text can be misinterpreted or mistranslated. Therefore, pay attention to cultural nuances and even other factors like government regulations when translating a document.
Clear out any Uncertainty
As a medical translator, you know that your translation can have an impact on human lives. Thus, constant pressure always exists. You must ensure there is no ambiguity in the medical text you translated. The translations you produce should provide understandable information to surgeons, nurses, physicians, and any concerned health workers.