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medical false friends

25 Aug Medical translation of false friends

Medical translation is not as easy as you may think. Translators have to pay attention to details, specially to false friends, which might be misleading. For a better explanation of this idea, Okomeds will give you some clear examples of medical translation from Spanish into English.

Evolución

A Spanish doctor will use this word when talking about how diseases or illness behave over time. In English is usually translated as “clinical course”; but not “evolution”.

Constipado

If you are “constipado”, it means that you have a relatively lower body temperature than usual, and that would be translated into English as “cold”. Spanish medical translation will face a false friend; the English word “constipated” should not been mislead. Why? Constipated means “estreñido”, a condition of the bowels in which the faeces are dry and hardened and evacuation is difficult and infrequent.

Sano

A “sano” patient is a man who feels healthy and is not suffering from illness. In medical translation it is often found a misleading with the word “sane”. Sane is someone having or showing reason, sound judgment, or good sense.

Irradiar

When a Spanish patient refers to pain, he may says the verb “irradiar”. This word is issued for talking about the transmission of suffer. Pay attention to this common false friend in medical translation, as the right translation would be “radiate” or “spread”. Do not use the verb “irradiate”.

Atender

A nurse assists patients, but a nurse does not attend patients. Assist means to give help or support, but attend means to be present at.

Antecedentes

This false friend should always be avoided in medical translation. “Antecedentes” means the total sum of a patient’s health status prior to the presenting problem. The right English word for “antecedentes” could be “background”, “past history” or “past medical history”. Not “antecedent”.

 

Embarazada

A “embarazada” lady is a woman who is expecting a baby. In medical translation you may confuse this word with “embarrassed”, which means ashamed or uncomfortable.

 

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