“This job forces you to acquire new knowledge all the time”


iolanda traductor medico

16 Sep “This job forces you to acquire new knowledge all the time”

Today, we are interviewing Iolanda, an Okomeds medical translator who is giving us some insights about her job.

1.What is the most difficult problem that you have ever met in a medical translation?

I recently translated a very detailed document about computed tomography techniques and it was quite hard, because it is a field I did not study in depth when becoming a Veterinary Surgeon about 25 years ago. It wasn’t something that was regularly done in veterinary practice. Luckily, I keep abreast with medical advances and I also have a network of people in different medicine fields always happy to help me out.

This is why this job is so fascinating. It forces you to acquire new knowledge all the time and does not let you  lull into a false sense of complacency.

2. Do you think that any translator can properly work as a medical translator?

No, definitely not. You really need to specialize in order to be able to provide accurate and truthful translations. I have revised translations not done by specialized translators and they can contain numerous basic, important errors and misinterpretations. In all cases, I wasn’t told the translation had not been done by a medical translator, but I guessed correctly.

3. What do you do when you do not have new translation projects?

I try to do all the important but not urgent jobs on the pipeline, such as filling out forms, answering surveys, getting up to date with paperwork… and I read articles related to my profession or attend a webinar, or I delve into doubts I might have had in previous translations.

4. What do you like the most about your work?

I really wasn’t sure how well I would adapt to an office-type job after 16 years as a Veterinary Surgeon, but it turned out I really enjoy it. I love the fact that I learn something every single day. It makes me keep abreast with new developments and I touch so many different fields. I love learning.

It is also a big advantage to be able to work from home, because that allows me to look after my family.

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

Well, no. I suppose being a Veterinary Surgeon and having worked as such for the first 16  years of my profesional career gives me the insight I need and always had when I first became a translator.

6. If you are a freelance translator, how do you separate your personal and professional life? Do you find it difficult?

It is not just difficult, it is extremely difficult. Apart from working from home, I look after my two children single-handedly. So now, for instance, when school has not started yet (this was written at the end of August), the little one is always asking when I’m going to be able to play with him. The eldest one is easier to handle, but the arguments between the two of them are, to put it mildly, quite distracting.

7. What advise will you give to another medical translator?

Acquire some basic knowledge about medicine to start with, and then some more.


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