10 Jun Four requirements for the perfect medical translator
Being a medical translator is not easy. You must have two passions: translation and medicine and, of course, you must have extensive knowledge of medicine. It is a highly specialised job where precision is everything. In this article, we explain the main requirements for Okomeds’ medical translators.
Main requirements for medical translators
1. They must be familiar with medical terminology
This first skill may seem obvious. However, it is not just about knowing the medical and scientific terms, they need to really understand them in order to provide rigorous and accurate translations.
Therefore, the perfect translator is often someone who has already worked in healthcare (doctor, nurse, pharmacist, etc.) or is passionate about medicine on a personal basis.
2. They need to adapt their translations to the target audience
In medical documents, the sentence structures are often as complex as the terminology they contain. However, at times the translation is intended for a non-specialist audience.
The perfect translator will have to produce a flowing translation that can be understood by their target audience, without losing the meaning of the text which, given that these are scientific documents, must be identical.
3. They must be good at technical searches
Translators must constantly read up on the subject to keep technically and scientifically up-to-date. Medicine and science are, in general, two areas in constant evolution and this includes the language used.
They will often have to translate prospectuses for recently discovered drugs, thesis defences or even official scientific publications. In any case, it is essential for translators to have at least some knowledge about the subject matter in order to produce a high-quality professional translation.
4. They need to have training and ideally a university degree
Although in general you do not need a university degree to be a professional translator, this is practically essential for a medical translator.
In fact, companies using medical translators or, more generally, technical translators, have tougher demands than those working with non-specialist translators. It is essential for the translator to have extensive knowledge of the area in which they are translating and the corresponding technical vocabulary.
What is the key to medical translation?
While some people say that it is possible to translate medical texts without being a medical specialist, the truth is that it is preferable to have medical knowledge. In medical translation, scientific knowledge is essential. A medical translator needs this to ensure a high-quality transfer from one language to another.
Regardless of the translator’s profile, the important thing is that they know how to make up for their shortcomings (about the subject or the language) through constant training.
At Okomeds, our medical translators, in addition to being bilingual in the source and target languages, are specialists in medicine and undergo constant training. Otherwise, it would be difficult for them to follow the clinical procedures to be translated and this could lead to them using the wrong terms, something that would be difficult to correct.