A start in medical translation: specialization and improvement


Translating medical documents. Urine infection, example

22 Nov A start in medical translation: specialization and improvement

Medical translation can be a profitable niche, but its rigor and strict checking can be demanding. A poor translation might be extremely costly, not only for the customer but also for the translator. Specialization is a must, as medical translation is very broad and complex. Une of the most lucrative areas are clinical trials, but it is wiser to start in an easier area and advance progressively. Clinical trials have lots of different documents to translate, from protocols to informed consent forms, and all the way through opinion papers, placebo-controlled studies, adverse events reports, and a lot more.

Translating medical documents. Urine infection, example

Medical documents can be related to the environment were illnesses or infections can take place. Using our example, high temperatures, change of habitat and bathing in unsuitable areas can cause infections in the urinary tract. These infections are more common than we think and it is important to know how to prevent and detect them time. They are more common in women than in men.

They can also be related to type of illnesses. In our example, microbes, bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites in the neighboring structures can enter the urinary system and produce different types of illnesses as cystitis (inflammation of the bladder), urethritis, (inflammation of the urethra) or pyelonephritis (inflammation of the kidneys).

Medical translations include symptoms of illnesses or other related facts. In the case of urine infections, they have very unpleasant symptoms, such as urinating pain, the need to urinate very often or urgently, or even bad smell or blood in the urine. On the other hand, urine has been a tool used through medical history to have an idea of the health state of a person, taking into account its changes in color, density, and odor.


analysis to detect the presence of certain unusual substances in the urine


Background and training for a medical translator

Opinions are not unanimous in this regard. However, having a medical background is recommended. Some clients or translation agencies not only require a translation degree but also a medical degree when they chose a medical translator. Depending on each one’s skill, there are different niches, but it is not wise to start with clinical trials if you know nothing about them.

It is also possible to evolve with practice, training and self-study. In this sense, anyone can evolve from mere descriptions to clinical exams or even more complicated processes. Examples, with urine related content, can be:

1.- Urine is an amber liquid with characteristic odor manufactured in the kidneys and eliminated from the body after passing through the urinary tract. It can be considered as a filtrate of the plasma, in which all the surplus or waste substances remain. Its main component is water, but it also contains other substances such as, mineral, salts (sodium, potassium, calcium, chlorine) and leftover organic substances (urea, uric acid, creatinine, vitamin C).

2.- When doing a medical check-up, several clinical exams can be requested. Urine analysis is among them. The doctor ask for this type of analysis to detect the presence of certain unusual substances in the urine, which reflects different alterations in the body. For example, red blood cells, high levels of protein and minerals that may indicate problems in the kidneys or urinary tract. The doctor might also check the sample for bacteria that cause infection. Remember, being motivated and disciplined is essential in this profession. Reading, studying and researching also helps. Whatever is the chosen path, testimonials and a portfolio can help your career as a medical translator.


If a medical translator works as freelance, marketing his services becomes as essential as keeping up with the changes in the sector


Details are essential for a medical translator

Here are some examples following the same urine related subject:

1.-There are factors that can affect the normal conditions of urine, such as medications, food and diseases. It may contain sugar in the case of diabetes, albumin (a protein) in some forms of kidney disease, bile pigments (such as in jaundice) or abnormal amounts of one or other of its normal components.

2.- The production and elimination of urine is essential for the proper functioning of all organic systems. Urine has two key functions: maintaining the balance of fluids in the body and removing from the blood waste substances produced by all cells of the body. In situations where urine is not produced, because there is a renal failure, toxic substances accumulate in the body.

3.- The color change of the urine is sometimes caused by medications, foods, dyes or specific health problems, being an indication of different pathological processes or diseases by reflecting changes in its characteristics.

Especially if a medical translator works as freelance, marketing his or her services becomes essential and it is also important to bear in mind that to keep up with the changes in the sector, meaning discoveries, new ways or technologies or new procedures, is the only way to remain relevant. So continue to study, research or attend relevant conferences.

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