Practicing medicine comes atop the most noble professions’ list, and medical translation is no different! Since humans existed, curing somebody’s illness was of an extremely great value. Yet, now that doctors have managed to save the lives of millions of patients, healthcare seems to be the most priceless and respectful industry on earth.
Similarly, the entire spectrum of healthcare-related businesses have been highly regarded and acknowledged, including medical translation services of course. Given the possibility that miscommunication in the medical field might jeopardize human lives or result in severe ramifications, medical language services started to become an imperative need for healthcare institutions.
This will probably make more sense when you know it is concerned with interpreting direct communication between doctors and foreign language speaking patients, translating diagnose- and drug-related documents like prescriptions, pharma labels, and leaflets, or transcreating technical research instruments such as clinical trials, clinical outcome assessments (COAs), patient care reports (PCRs), and QoL (Quality of Life) Measures.
Also, stuff like translation and localization can contribute effectively to the growth and expansion of the medical industry worldwide. When new discoveries and best practices, for instance, need to be spread on a global scale and at a quick pace, language services will definitely come in. Translation agencies are now providing medical document translation services so that knowledge can be easily accessible all across the globe.
These were a few examples of how powerful and significant medical translation services are. However, with great power comes great responsibility! Medical translators must have that sense of accountability and dedication, bearing in mind the crucial role of their distinctive profession.
Linguists must be aware that a teeny-tiny mistake might endanger human lives. In reverse, providing professional and accurate translation can help save somebody’s life and get him a speedy recovery. Also spreading the knowledge across medical translation services helps put the efforts exerted to confront deadly diseases or stop its dissemination into a decisive action.
Best Practices and Proven Methodologies
Partnering with experienced and certified language service providers (LSPs) for medical translation is now indispensable. These translation agencies shall provide proof of experience for their linguists, who should also have extensive knowledge of the subject matter. On the other hand, it is recommended that healthcare entities can get involved all along the process.
If you are a medical institution looking for outstanding medical translation agencies, follow these 5 tips and thank us later!
1- Invest More Time in Research and Planning
Just like any other professional matter, pre-preparation is a key reason for success. Planning includes;
- Setting a reliable strategy and workflow for each project
- Selecting highly skilled translators with knowledge of the subject matter
- Conducting detailed research.
No matter what type of language service you seek, a constant and in-depth search is extremely important across the initial and advanced phases alike. Even interpreters should have a full grasp of the patient’s history and their medical conditions so as to provide professional interpretation. This can be carried out using different tools, including books, previous medical documents, online materials, and senior practitioners’ knowledge.
2- Follow a Competent Process Management
When it comes to the actual implementation, things must be organized and systematic. The best practice here is to have a lead project manager that is both language specialist and subject matter expert. This person will be responsible for managing and distributing tasks within a team of professional translators.
The centralization was proven a successful method in the most effective medical translation schemes as it unifies efforts, reduce duplication, and save time. As for the translation itself, the following multi-step process sounds practically perfect:
3- Ensure Accuracy and Consistency
There is no room for errors in the medical translation. High-ranking LSPs resort to a set of assistive tools to guarantee that their translations remain accurate and consistent.
- Abiding by a professional style guide enhances the quality of translated materials and ensures their compliance with the industry standards and regulatory requirements set by the top medical institutions. Style guides usually guide translators on the use and not-to-use terms, formatting requirements, along with the style and tone of healthcare and medical documents.
- Glossaries, in turn, feature the industry terminology, including medical abbreviations and acronyms. This, in fact, may extend to previous translations at your institution’s stock of documents.
- Digitally speaking, translation memory tools can be a great help for medical translators. These AI-powered Computer-Assisted Translation (CAT) solutions are designed to store the previous translated documents and suggest the reuse of specific terms. This facilitates the translation process and account for high-quality translations
4- Consider Health Literacy
Some patients are not well-educated. Translators must take into account that most of their readers do not have the same amount of knowledge and awareness. Consequently, they should use simple language and make sure the terms used convey the same meaning and align with the local culture. This phenomenon is called health literacy and it refers to the majority of patients who are not able to comprehend sophisticated terms. This of course applies particularly to the medical documents that target the general public, including patients or their relatives.
5- Double up on Quality Assurance
Reviewing medical translation is not just about editing and proofreading. Linguistic validation, for instance, can also be a must-have technique in some cases, especially when translating clinical research and COAs. For more quality assurance, medical translations should subject to multiple reviewing processes by senior translators and industry experts before they get published.
Choosing the Right Service Provider in South Africa
After all, language should never be a barrier in the way of diagnosing a disease, providing the right medical treatment, or publishing a new discovery. In other words, the need for bridging language gaps in the medical sphere is vital and timeless.
In light of the aforementioned practices, it all starts with selecting the right translation agency for your medical translation needs, especially in Africa. A study published in the British Medical Journal showed that translating medical documents into African languages by Google Translate had the lowest correct rate of 45%. This shows how crucial dealing with a well-prepared LSP that specializes in African dialects and promises accuracy and quality is. AfroLingo is proudly deemed one of those!
AfroLingo is a translation service company in Johannesburg, South Africa that provides world-class medical translation by native in-country speakers. Delving into the diversified cultures of the dark continent, Afrolingo’s translation hub is located in the heart of Johannesburg and equipped with up-to-date devices, including a generator, advanced laptops, and alternative internet connections. The company further has their staff trained on the latest CAT, Translation Management Services (TMS) and CRM tools and technologies.