Translation in medical field

This first article is based on ‘How to be a good translator in medical field‘.

To become a good translator of medical texts is essential to have a good preparation and above all a passion for this particular area. The ideal would be not only graduates in translation and interpretation, but also in medicine, at least in general, and further studies with the more specialized courses, such as pediatrics, radiology, neurology, and so on.

The translator of scientific texts is definitely an interpreter, which holds importance in international communication among the specialists of the trade but also between doctor and patient. We have to start pointing out the main features of this type of translation. Undoubtedly, an excellent preparation of the translator is required in the areas touched by his job; scientific field is like a wide plain and, once you decided to work on it, this will be as a fascinating journey, you should choose a branch of medicine in which you would like to specialize your knowledge. Let me explain: after the successful development of medical, biological, veterinary and chemical knowledge (a medical text can present terms of all three areas just mentioned), it would be convenient to choose a further specialization, such as neurology, pediatrics or any other field that fascinates the translator, and you have to concentrate in the study of this branch. Undoubtedly, the translator must have good general knowledge in the fields above and must be  qualified and understand the foreign language and meta language perfectly.

The translation must be the result of a perfect understanding of the source text; it must be preceded by research and documentation and consultation of terminology. In this field of translation, terminology is important, as well as one of the greatest difficulties for the translator. Dictionaries are fundamental, as well as knowing how to create a glossary, with or without the help of CAT tools. The specialized monolingual and bilingual dictionaries, files or glossaries present on the web, will be valuable tools, along with parallel texts, terminology sources of inestimable importance.

The competent and professional translator must be an expert of medical terminology, as well as the instruments, anatomy and pathology of the patient; You must know how to write correctly (do not forget that your text will be read by doctors and patients, a single mistake could cause problems sometimes irreversible), must know how to use specific glossaries, read up perfectly and be able to search on the web.

However, another important concept to become a good professional translator is his/her ethic. Before accepting a certain translation, it is suggested to look carefully at the source text and be sure that we are able to produce a translation, which should  be always towards the mother tongue. Not always accepting a certain type of work can ensure us a customer.

In the next article I will speak about how to proceed with the translation and the four fundamental phases.