The importance of accurate medical translation

The importance of accurate medical translation


The medical industry is constantly evolving. New medicines and medical equipment are developed every day. And then there are thousands of medical studies being written all over the world. All those texts need to be translated. But why is that so important? You can read about it in this blog article.

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Medical translations are vital

A medical translator must know what he or she is talking about. And for good reason. Medical translations are often texts like medication package inserts, medical records or medical examinations. As a medical translator, you can't afford to make a mistake in these kinds of texts. For example, if you mistranslate a medical record, it could happen that someone abroad receives the wrong treatment. The same goes for drug package inserts, in which the dosages have to be perfectly correct.

Medical translations are mandatory in the EU

The European Union has made it mandatory for medication package inserts, safety instructions and medical device manuals to be translated into all 24 official languages. If you as an importer or distributor do not comply with this rule, you will be fined. So when introducing a new medication or medical device, you always need a medical translator anyway. And if the translation is incorrect, the product will be rejected.

Medical interpreting makes a difference

Not just medical translation, medical interpreting is vital. A well-known example is the story of 18-year-old basketball player Willie Ramirez. His family spoke only Spanish, the doctors only English. Because the word "intoxicado," which can mean poisoned in a medical context, was mistranslated as "intoxicated," or drunk, he was misdiagnosed. The result was a brain hemorrhage and he sustained a spinal cord injury (and $71 million) for the rest of his life. So even medical interpretation errors can have dramatic consequences.

Medical texts have been translated for a very long time. Originally, every medical text was written in Ancient Greek. Not surprisingly, many medical terms still have their original Greek names. Think of words like pharmacist or surgeon. That later changed to Latin and today almost all medical texts are written in or translated into English.

Medical translations are crucial for scientific research

So in medical science, English is the lingua franca. And that's a problem. In fact, far from all medical research is done by English-speaking scientists. Much of this research is never translated into English. Someone who thought this was just strange is Tatsuya Amano, a zoology researcher at the University of Cambridge. Amano is from Japan, but always published his research in English to make a faster career. While researching conservation and biodiversity, he decided to look up previous studies that were written not only in English but also other languages. What turned out: 75,000 non-English language studies on the subject already existed! And many of them came to exactly the same conclusions. So to avoid scientists doing research that has long since been done by someone else, medical translation is essential.

Scriptware Translations: a medical translation agency with specific expertise

At Scriptware Translations, we work with medical translators who have years of experience in the medical field. We always ensure that there is the right match between the medical translator and the specific assignment. So you can come to us to translate clinical studies, medical protocols, drug package inserts, medical reports and more. If you would like to know what we can do for you, you can always contact us. Or take a look at our page on medical translations.

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