Medical translations - What you should pay attention to

by Carlos
3 Minuten
Medical translations - What you should pay attention to

Technical development is picking up speed ever faster. The time between technical breakthroughs is getting shorter and shorter. I can still remember when the first pocket-sized translation computers appeared on the market in the late 1980s. These looked a bit like a pocket calculator, but had a letter keyboard. The user could type in words and the system translated them into different languages. Much more convenient than a dictionary and also more compact and versatile.

Today, automatic translations are child's play. Almost every smartphone has capabilities to translate writing, visually captured speech and also spoken language into dozens of other languages in real time, including voice output. But is this technology sufficient to master even complex translations, for example from the medical field? We explain.

Anyone who uses the many, mostly free, technical offers for translation will realise that this kind of translation has its limits. The simpler the texts, the more perfect the translation. But especially with complex topics, such as a medical translation, the algorithm is often overwhelmed. This is also understandable; many translation programmes work with artificial intelligence to eliminate errors in the long term. The use of artificial intelligence also helps to understand the semantic context. Medical texts, however, are very specialised. As a result, the training basis for the AI is often lacking.

This is where the professional translator comes into play. Usually, translation agencies offer the service of translating specialised texts into one or more other languages. Exact care and absolute precision are necessary in this procedure. Especially in the medical field, translation errors could lead to misuse of a medicine or a medical device. The consequence could be damage to patients and high claims for compensation for the manufacturer of the drug or medical device. This already shows: If you save on translation, you save at the wrong end and this circumstance can break the backbone of a medical company. Therefore, when choosing a translator, make sure that he or she has appropriate references. A translation agency has advantages here because several translators work together and thus errors in the translation are even less likely than if a single person is entrusted with the translation. Ask around in your industry and find out which translation agencies have already had good experiences.

A good compromise is to use both worlds: The text is first converted into the target language using an automatic translation. A professional with both technical and linguistic expertise then revises the text. This procedure has the advantage that the entire text does not have to be written completely from scratch, but only the incomprehensible or incorrectly translated passages have to be corrected. This saves time and thus resources.