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Medical translation

Medical translation

Medical translation refers the translation of medical documents and medical terms used healthcare fields. This works cannot be done for a person who simply speaks a specific language; this person must have medical translation certification and degrees in the sciences, know current medical terminology, slang and appropriate medical terms to reflect the meaning of a medical text.

Medical translators require specific training and knowledge to translate medical content aside from linguistic skills, sensitive and regulated nature of medical texts, and this way they can help people to express or write their ideas for multilingual audience of professionals and consumers.

Medical translation is not only included on clinical documentation; it also covers many areas such as pharmaceutical, medical device or technical so most countries around the world require literature associated with medical devices or pharmaceuticals into their national language.

Medical translators work in diverse places so they can translate documents like clinical study reports, healthcare products, medical reports, medical charts, X-ray or MRI reports, medical papers, hospital discharge summaries, vaccination cards, insurance claims or others like technical product user guides, promotional literature and press releases, software, research papers, websites, clinical trials, etc.

Keep in mind, medical translation services are becoming more necessary, e.g.: American companies sell products outside United States and they need medical translation services to make successful marketing campaigns.

The latest research in America shows that half of Americans over the age of five do not speak English as their native language and this represents an important segment of the health care market so medical translators are needed to cover it.

Besides, medical translations help people with up to date medical terminology, essential brochures and medical books to improve their medical practice, but medical literature is written in English or German for that reason medical translation services are more important due to many people do not speak.


Medical translation must be exact and use the proper terminology, for that reason it is necessary expert translators in the science and practice of medicine so a mistake in medical translation can be mortal, and when patients' lives are in risk there are not space for errors. Medical translation is a multi-step process, so it is usually done by translation agencies. This process includes the following steps:
  • Extraction of text from source format.
  • Translation: the conversion from a source language text to the target language text.
  • Editing: reading and revision by a person to approve terminology, style and voice.
  • Proofreading: ensure that the formatted translation displays correctly with no corrupted text and punctuation and page breaks are correct.
  • In-country review: a native speaker reviews the translation to ensure good information about product or therapy specifics.

Quality and Standards

As medical translations play an important role in people's life and for those who are part of healthcare fields, it is so important to take into account a strong emphasis on translation quality. That is why; medical industry is highly regulated so when companies of this industry need to translate their documents, they hire translation agencies which are certificated and compliant with few standards. The following are some of the most important standards:
  • ISO 9001 - Quality system standard.
  • EN 15038 - European standard for translation vendor quality.
  • ISO 13485 - Overarching standard for manufacture of medical devices.