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What to do when you need to get a medical document translated

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02 Jan What to do when you need to get a medical document translated

Sometimes a doctor needs to communicate in writing with international colleagues, patients or the general public. What to do when the translation of a medical document is required? Here are our tips on choosing the right way to translate this kind of documents.

The first thing to consider is: how will the translation be used? Is it just for your own information, or will it be published online or in print? If you are going to publish it or use it to communicate with colleagues or the public, you will need something more professional, so it’s better if you contact with a professional medical translation agency.

Not to choose Google translator

Under no circumstances, you should use automatic translators. Automated translation like Google Translate can be a useful but it is often misleading. A recent study into the accuracy of Google Translate for medical communication found that its translations were correct in around 58% of cases. So while automated translation can frequently aid understanding, it is not suitable for translation of materials aimed at patients, colleagues or the general public.

For critical texts, it is best to have the content translated professionally. This will ensure that you get your message across smoothly and accurately to your target audience. A professional medical translator has a good understanding of the subject and purpose of the text and be well versed in the specialist field. Don’t be tempted to hire a language student or your colleague’s bilingual daughter for the job – they are likely to be out of their depth and unable to provide the result you need.

Professional translators usually translate into their native language. This is because most people are more skilled at writing in their native language than in a foreign language. So, if you need your clinic website translated into Russian, for instance, your translator should be a native speaker of Russian. There are a few exceptions to this rule, so if in doubt, ask for sample translations up front and get them reviewed by a native speaker.

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