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Professional translator from English and French to Spanish

Learn more about medical translation

Medical translation

What is medical translation?

Medical translation or healthcare translation is a specialisation which focuses on translating documents and communications related to medical care and the healthcare industry. It’s a key area of translation area since precision and clarity are essential in medical communication.

Key aspects of medical translation

Medical translation requires a deep knowledge of medical and scientific terminology in both the source and target languages. Medical translators must be familiar with the medical terminology of anatomy, physiology, pharmacology, medical procedures and specific regulations in different countries.

Very often, translators choose a specialist area within medical translation. In my case, my specialisms are immunology, neonatology, hormonal health, and dentistry. I’m dedicated to continuous professional development in these areas.

Languages and legislation

Medical translation is influenced by the language and the legal regulations in each country. Medical practices, protocols and regulations can vary significantly around the world. Therefore, translators need to adapt a text to local standards, regulations, and the cultural expectations of the population.

Some examples when translating from English into Spanish are: using the local emergencies number, adding context for associations and laws only existent in the US, changing pounds for kilos.

Document types

Medical translators translate a wide range of documents such as:

    • Clinical histories: These documents contain detailed information about the medical history of a patient, including previous diagnoses, treatments and interventions.
    • Medical reports: Including laboratory reports, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasound scans and other medical laboratory reports.
    • Informed consent forms (ICFs): These documents explain the risks and benefits of a medical treatment or procedure and require the patient to sign for consent.
    • Patient Information Sheets (PIS) and patient questionnaires: These types of documents require simple language as they are intended for a general audience with no medical knowledge.
    • Medical research (journal articles summaries, clinical study reports): Translation plays an important role in the dissemination of medical advances at an international level. These texts require an advanced knowledge of medical language, since the target audience will be other healthcare professionals.
    • Medical devices instructions for use (IFUs): High-quality translations of IFUs for medical devices are essential to ensure safe and effective use.
    • Educational materials: From training material to websites, apps, resources, brochures, logbooks and catalogs.
Training, confidentiality, and ongoing development

As a medical translator it’s vital to possess both a solid background in translation and a thorough understanding of medicine.

Confidentiality is also a critical concern in medical translation because of the sensitive information involved. Translators must respect privacy laws and always protect information.

Medicine is a constantly evolving field so medical translators must keep up with medical advances and new terminologies.

In my case, my continuous professional development is always with professionals who are actively practicing in their field, and I keep up to date with all the latest developments by attending conferences and networking.

Now you know a little more about medical translation. Feel free to reach out if you need help translating your medical content into Spanish!