medical translator

18 Apr “Medical translation is not for everyone”

Today, we are interviewing Iolanda, a professional medical freelance translator who gives us her point of view about medical translation.


  1. What is the major medical translation problem you have ever faced?

Terminology is a big issue, especially that one related to specialised surgical instruments. Sometimes, you go mad looking for the exact equivalent term in the target language. For example, what is the equivalent medical translation for a clamp with a little hole placed to one third of its current length, and which is used for a very specific surgery of an implant placement…? Medical translation is very tricky.


  1. Do you think that any translator can work as a medical translator? Why?

No, absolutely not. Medical translation is not for everyone. This is a very specialised field having its own language, so a full knowledge is highly required. Avoiding fundamental mistakes and offering a full sense is key.

Medical translation is very tricky; not every translator can work as a medical translator
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  1. How do you spend your time when you have no medical translation assignments?

Nowadays, I do not have much free time. But when I used to, I took courses about specific areas of medicine and about translation software.


  1. What do you like the most about your job?

I love being kept up to date about the latest medicine news, such as clinical trial protocols. And I love learning a lot!


  1. Do you see doctors, nurses and other medical specialists in a different way since you are a translator?

No, because I am a veterinary too.


  1. Being a freelance translator, how do you separate your personal life from the professional one? Is it difficult?

Yes, it is really hard. But not only because I am a freelance translator, but also because I am a divorced mother. While my children are watching TV or playing with the tablet, I have to work on a medical translation project instead of interacting and having fun with them. But, after some years of experience, I have managed to improve this situation. At the beginning, I used to work during the weekends, but now I do whatever it takes to avoid such scenario. I need time to be with them.


  1. What would be the best advice you may give to another medical translator?

If you have no medicine studies, start taking as many courses as you can. Training is key.

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