12 Aug What are the main obstacles in medical translation?
There are some obstacles that medical translators face when carrying out their professional work. These need to be overcome as understanding them can be crucial for patients and lead to rewarding high quality results.
When medicines have different names in each country
The names of medicinesdeserve special attention. A distinction should be drawn between the name of a medicine and its so-called International Nonproprietary Name (INN). The INN is a unique name givento a pharmaceutical substanceby the World Health Organization (WHO) and it differs from the name of the medicine.
When translating Tylenol into Italian, the recipient would find it helpful to know the INN to be able to identify the equivalent medicine used in Italy. Tylenol is a brand name for the INN Paracetamol, and having this information would help the medical translator to accurately translate Tylenol into “Tachipirina”.
Who is the target audience?
Identifying the target audience is crucial for medical translators. It is important for medical translators to carefully determine their target audience for several reasons and we can give a couple of examples. First, when translating into English, it is important to know whether the audience understands British or American medical terms. Second, it is important to understand whether the target audience has any understanding of the subject. So the Italian term “Varicella” should not be translated into the English “Varicella” if the target audience is a layperson. The correct term is “Chickenpox”.
Using the right device
Other of the biggest challenges in medical translation is using the right device when translating. It is important for medical translators to have a thorough understanding of the products they are working on and deliver an accurate translation. In that sense, exposing them to a new product could be extremely beneficial in enhancing the quality of a medical translation.
In conclusion, background research and extensive knowledge of the medical field are essential for any medical translator in the making.