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How medical translation saves lives

Published on April 30th, 2019

Medical translation is one of the most challenging and important language services in the industry. People’s lives and the quality of those lives are constantly on the table when it comes to medical translation and few people appreciate how much this affects them on a daily basis.

From the instructions printed on paracetamol packets to ground-breaking medical studies and hospital consultation rooms around the world, medical translation brings together all of the latest innovations and care processes in one of the world’s most important global industries.

Delivering healthcare in a globalised world

The most obvious example of medical translation in practice is probably the scenario of interpreters helping doctors communicate with patients. This is absolutely crucial, too, and we have seen the horrific results that can occur from translation mistakes in these situations.

As the world becomes increasingly globalised and nations continue to become more multicultural, it is vital people from every language background are able to communicate with medical experts.

This requires a specialised form of translation from experts with an understanding of medical terminology and the ability to explain difficult topics such as illnesses and side-effects with perfect accuracy. While it also requires compassion when it comes to handling personal and potentially life-changing information.

These are essential qualities for medical interpreters, but this is not the only form of medical translation that impacts people’s lives.

How medical translation impacts our daily lives

For most people, it never becomes apparent how much medical translation impacts their daily lives. In the best cases, this is a good thing because quality translation should be good enough that people do not even notice it is there. However, it is important for every businesses and organisation within medical sectors to appreciate how seriously the quality of translation affects everything they and their clients do.

Some of the less obvious applications of medical translation are:

  • Medication instructions
  • Medical device instructions
  • Patient medical records
  • Labelling
  • Package translation and localisation
  • Research papers
  • Case studies
  • Clinical trial findings
  • Marketing material
  • Local regulations
  • Medical website translation
  • Medical training material
  • Travel health warnings and advice

In the most direct cases, medical translation tells people how to take certain medications, how much to take and which side-effects to look out for. Or it is there to ensure medical devices are used correctly by healthcare professionals and patients alike. It is also there to make sure the companies producing these medications and devices adhere to regulations for each market they are released in.

In the case of the EU, each member state and the products sold in them must meet the same set of regulations.

On a boarder scale, every medical breakthrough that emerges from research, case studies and trials needs to be translated so the wider international industry can benefit from these findings. Accuracy is imperative here, because new findings often contravene or deviate from previous conventions and clarity is essential.

The same thing applies to medical journals and training material for student doctors and the next generation of medical experts. The accuracy of these translations can impact everything these students do as medical professionals and every patient they come into contact with.

Aside from delivering the best healthcare possible to patients, medical translation empowers professionals to provide better services, ensures companies adhere to regulations and protects the general public from outbreaks. It is as much a legal responsibility as it is an ethical one to make sure language barriers do not get in the way of patients receiving the highest quality of care on an ongoing basis – and this is the most important premise of medical translation.

Get in touch with or team of dedicate professionals to find out more about the medical translation services we provide.

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Posted on: April 30th, 2019