Close Menu
  • My Account
  • Medical Translation Challenges and How to Overcome Them

    Certified Translation

    Importance of Translation in the Medical Industry


    Finding certified translation services near me can be a challenge. This is especially true when translations in very specialized fields are needed. Good medical translators are hard to find because so much expertise is required in order to translate medical documents. However, medical translation plays a vital role in today's multilingual world. When doctors and patients speak different languages, accurate information must pass between them. When doctors from different linguistic backgrounds work together, the process must be seamless to ensure that patients get the best possible care.


    Medical Language


    There are many bilingual people in the world, but not all of them are great translators. The translation is a skill that takes training and practice even for people who are completely fluent in two or more languages. Medical translation takes things a step further. Being fluent in two words is no longer enough; the translator must also be fluent in medical jargon, which is almost a language in its own right! We must also have a great conceptual understanding of medical topics to translate documents accurately. Thus, a medical translator must have a strong background in medical language in both languages. Medical terminology being translated inaccurately can have disastrous results. Ideally, a medical translator should have some experience in medicine, biology, or a closely related discipline.


    Different Specialties


    Even translators with a robust medical background can run into trouble if they are given translation documents of a specialty with which they are unfamiliar. An eye doctor and a heart surgeon both have a breadth of general medical knowledge that they learned in medical school. However, an eye doctor has no business in a heart operating room, and likewise, a heart surgeon should not be giving eye exams. The problem for medical translators is that there are dozens of medical specialties. It is virtually impossible to be well-versed in all of them. High quality for a medical translator to have is the ability to research thoroughly.


    Communication Difference


    One of the golden rules of writing is to know one's audience, and this is undoubtedly true of translation as well. As medical translators, we need to know how to word our conversions appropriately depending on who is going to be reading the translations. For example, we would use a specific language when translating doctor-to-doctor comments that we would not apply when rendering doctor-to-patient guidance. If the intended audience is a doctor, we can use more specialized medical jargon. If a patient is an intended audience, we take care to avoid confusing language, and we would use more colloquial terms.




    The medical field is full of abbreviations standing for different procedures, medications, diagnoses, and vital signs. Some examples in English are IV for "intravenous" p.o. for "by mouth," and VSS for "vital signs are stable." As medical translators, we have to be aware of the fact that these abbreviations can vary from language to language. This is a massive reason that human medical translators are vital and cannot be replaced by machine translation systems. A computer does not know to recognize specialized abbreviations and choose the correct abbreviation or term in the target language.




    Many diseases and medical procedures are named after the doctors or scientists who discovered or invented them. The problem is that some illnesses and procedures are named after different people in different languages. Sometimes the invention of a process is a joint effort. Sometimes a disease is discovered independently by two different doctors. An example is Graves' disease in English, which is called la Maladie de Basedow in French. A medical translator whose language pair is French-English would have to know this to avoid an incorrect translation!


    Why should you hire a certified medical translation service?


    When it comes to getting medical documents translated, you can't just roll the dice and pick any translator to do the work. Poorly translated instructions can result in delayed or incorrect medical treatments. When you search for certified translation services near me, make sure that the translators you choose are fully qualified to translate medical documents like those at The Spanish Group. It can make a world of difference.