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What is Medical Translation?

The medical industry is fascinating. There are daily inroads made toward cures for terminal illnesses and new technologies are continuously discovered in order to diagnose patients more accurately and efficiently.

The world at large is permanently captivated by the daily doings of large medical institutions; however people hardly ever grasp the medical jargon associated with this industry. Any medical text or even conversation is of high quality and naturally highly technical. This proves to be a problem for your average patient sitting in a doctor’s waiting room. Sometimes it even proves to be problematic for medical industry employees such as clinicians and regulatory reps. For this reason, medical translation was introduced.

Medical translation refers to the translation of text that refers to or deals with the healthcare, medical and pharmaceutical industries. Any literature that encompasses medical concepts needs to be translated and this includes marketing material and software programs. Many countries around the world request that any medical text be translated into their respective national languages as well.

Not just anyone can translate medical texts. Medical translation skills are acquired through specific medical translation training and excellent subject knowledge. The reason for this type of extensive training is that medical content is usually very sensitive and regulated and it needs to be correctly translated with regards to linguistic requirements and factuality.

Medical translation takes place in several steps or stages. Firstly, the medical text needs to be extracted from a source. After the text has been extracted, translation takes place. The extracted text needs to be converted into the targeted language. In the same manner as with any other type of content, the translated text needs to be edited by a qualified editor. The editor needs to adhere to proper terminology at all times.

After editing has taken place, the translated text is then returned to its original source format for instance, website page or PDF document. Proofreading has to take place before any material is distributed. The purpose of proofreading is to ensure that the newly formatted and translated text is correctly displayed on computer screens and that proper punctuation marks has been applied. If the medical text has been translated into a foreign language, a native-speaker of that language needs to double-check the translation for any errors or lack of specifications.