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Medical translation is one of the most complex and specialized areas of translation, which is not surprising, in light of the fact that the medical profession has undergone tremendous changes since the late 19th century, and has branched out into many different areas of specialization. Compared to the early 20th century, when even dentistry was not recognized as a separate branch of medicine, today there are a great many specific and narrow specializations and sub-specializations in nearly all branches of medicine, to the extent that an internist specializing in emergency medicine cannot translate documents which have been written by another internist who specializes in hematology (physiology of the blood).
In the medical world, professional translations are not a luxury – they are a necessity!
When translating a medical document, it is especially important to ensure the quality and accuracy of the translation. Due to the fact that an incorrect translation could, in certain cases, even lead to loss of life, or to a very large lawsuit, there is no room for errors in translations of this kind, with respect to either terms or names, since inaccuracy and unprofessionalism – for example, if the translator has accidentally omitted a warning regarding allergens in instructions for the use of a certain drug – may lead to potentially disastrous consequences.
Medical documents are also highly important due to the legal, insurance and economic implications of medical certificates and authorizations. For example: In a translation of a newspaper article about a handball player who was injured during a game, if the translator has mistakenly written that the player was among the seven players on the field for his team when the injury occurred (in handball, there are only six players per team on the field), no damage will be caused due to the error, except perhaps damage due to the newspaper’s reputation. However, if the translation of the player’s release letter from the orthopedic department states that he suffered an injury in the L4 vertebra, instead of the L5, as written by the doctor, the error could have very severe consequences.
Just as a pharmacist is required to identify a doctor’s mistake (for example, by writing a prescription for a drug to which the patient is allergic), the translator is also supposed to identify problematic wording of a medical diagnosis or document. In Israel, a very well known mistake of this kind was performed by. Prof. Mordechai Gutman of the surgical department in Ichilov Hospital, who performed surgery on Prime Minister Yitzchak Rabin after he was assassinated, and tried to describe the path of the bullet which was shot into Rabin’s body from the right side:
“The bullet continued and penetrated into his chest. We mistakenly referred to this penetration point, from the muscle and tissue into the chest cavity, as the exit point. I did not intend to refer to the exit point from the entire body, because that was not the case. Rather, I meant the exit point from the muscle and tissue near the spine, into the chest cavity and into the lung… People write, very late at night, and in handwriting, a report after having the Prime Minister die in their hands, using inaccurate terminology, which in itself is not so bad, because it was a completely internal report. Immediately afterwards, when we were supposed to prepare an official report for the Ministry of Health, we understood that this wording could be confusing, and we therefore corrected it.
Rivers of ink regarding conspiracy theories have been written about the mistaken pair of words “exit point”, which has been interpreted as if it had been a third bullet. If the above case involved a public figure and a murder which shook the entire world, an incorrect phrasing in a less well-known affair could lead to many hours of litigation and delays of justice, or in the payment of damages to the injured parties.
High-quality, accurate medical translation also requires knowledge of the culture and medical practices of the country in which the medical document was written. If an opinion written by an orthopedic surgeon in the UK is signed by the surgeon as “Mr. John Smith”, The translator must know that the correct translation in the target language is not “Mr. John Smith”, but rather “John Smith, Orthopedic Surgeon” (in Britain, surgeons go by the title “Mr.” and not “Dr.”, apparently as a continuation of past practices, when surgeons were not medical doctors, such as the famous “barber-surgeons” who specialized not only in cutting hair, but also in pulling teeth). In another case, a certain drug which is sold in another country as a non-prescription drug, for general use, meaning that, if a person purchased and used the drug, the responsibility is entirely his own, may be sold in Israel as a prescription drug, requiring the supervision of a pharmacist, in which case the translator is required to verify these details before translating the drug instruction manual.
Due to the fact that medical translation requires complete precision and absolutely unambiguous wording, the medical translation process at Globus Translations is performed only by professional translators, who live in the country of the target language, are very familiar with medical terminology and are highly skilled with a great deal of experience in translation, both in the source language, and in the target language. Each of our translators must have in-depth knowledge of the relevant terminology to their field of translation.
Globus Translations provides medical translations in a wide variety of languages and medical fields.
We offer the following translation services, among others:
– Translation of instruction manuals and catalogs for medical products and medical equipment
– Translation of drug instructions
– Translation of scientific articles in the fields of medicine and life sciences
– Translation of medical websites and software
– Translation of general regulation and standardization documents
– Translation of patent application documents
– Translation of personal medical documents, including physicians’ recommendations for further treatment
– Translation of expert opinions
– Translation of medical test results and physician referrals
– Translation of presentations and multimedia
– Translation of medical reports: invoices, accident reports, insurance forms
– Translation of medical prescriptions
– Translation of hospital release forms
– Translation of insurance claims
– Translation of medical histories and patient details
– Translation of death certificates
We would be happy to show you our work methods. Please contact our sales staff so we can evaluate your request.