13 Nov Why doctors should not be in charge of medical translations?
Posted by - Rubén
Should doctors be in charge of medical translations? In Okomeds we strongly believe that the correct answer is no. A doctor should not work as a medical translator. And here are some facts reinforcing this position.To translate or not to translate... there is no question
- Medicine and translation are unlike areas of specialization. It is true that medical translations are a good link between both of them. Nevertheless, the skills and knowledge needed are very different.
- Can you image a plumber or a lawyer carrying out translations related to their field? No, even if they fluently speak the source and the target languages. Why? It is simple, because they are not translators and – as a linguistic specialisation is always required – they can not do it in good conditions. So, the same occurs in the case of a doctor, who should not be in charge of medical translations.
- If a doctor might do medical translations… does that mean a medical translator might do surgeries or medical consultations? The answer is a resounding no; but in each way.
- There are some linguistic issues that a doctor, or a health-care specialist, is not prepared to face. Naturalness, coherence or documentation are just a few examples of skills that are only improved thanks to a several-years academic training and an experienced career as a translator.
- Health is a very delicate issue and many professionals must take their part. Doctors play a really important role, but they can not do the whole. That means that they should not be in charge of medical translations because such task must be assigned to a qualified medical translator.
- Medical translators – apart from perfectly speaking at least one foreign language – have a deep knowledge of their speciality. There are some words with a very precise translation and it is not allowed to feel free to translate them into any term, sentence or idea. It all must be perfectly done.
- Quality is at stake. But health, which is even more important, is at stake too.
- There are some medical translators who started as doctors, and vice versa. However, the process of changing the career needs time, dedication, and skills. Being a specialist in healthcare and in translation helps a lot, but being a professional in medical translations requires a further specialisation.