Navigating medical translation: 4 common mistakes to avoid

medical translation

Medical translation is a critical component of global healthcare communication. Accurate and reliable translation is imperative in ensuring patient safety, regulatory compliance, and effective collaboration across borders.

As such, this article will explore the significance of medical translation and highlight four common mistakes to avoid – to mitigate these pitfalls, the crucial recommendation is clear: entrust medical translation to accredited language service providers (LSPs).

The significance of medical translation

This type of translation involves translating key documents, such as patient records, clinical trials, and research, from one language to another and its importance is multi-faceted, for instance, with regards to patient safety. Inaccuracies in medical translation can compromise overall safety practices, leading to incorrect diagnoses, improper treatment, or adverse reactions to medication.

Language service providers also ensure compliance with regulatory standards, reducing the risk of legal complications in the highly regulated field of healthcare. After all, accurate translation is perhaps the most valuable asset of organizations around the world, as it facilitates seamless communication among healthcare professionals and researchers, fostering global advancements in medical science.

It is also a vital tool for informed decision-making. Patients have the right to understand their medical information, and as professionals, translators empower patients to do this more easily in their native language.

4 common mistakes in medical translation

Terminological inconsistencies

One prevalent mistake lies in the realm of terminology, where the misuse or inconsistency of medical terminology within or across documents can introduce ambiguity, potentially leading to misunderstandings among healthcare professionals and affecting the accuracy of medical  documents. This issue underscores the need for language service providers (LSPs) to employ robust trusted terminology databases, ensuring overall coherence.

Lack of expertise on a subject

Lack of subject matter expertise poses a considerable risk in medical translation. Assigning translation tasks to linguists without adequate knowledge of medical concepts can lead to inaccuracies with severe consequences. At Traductanet, we address this challenge by either ensuring linguists possess a background in medicine or by collaborating closely with a specific network of experts to guarantee accurate and contextually relevant translations.

Non-compliance with standards

A critical error that can have legal ramifications is the failure to meet regulatory standards. Overlooking or misunderstanding the regulatory requirements of the target language can lead to non-compliance, especially in documents related to clinical trials, patient information, or medical device instructions.

Expert linguists, well-versed in the intricacies of global regulatory standards, take meticulous care to ensure that all translations meet the necessary compliance criteria.

For instance, the European Union has established stringent standards to govern translation practices and has a very useful and available management system for translators and terminologists called IATE or Interactive Terminology for Europe.

Poor proofreading

The absence of thorough proofreading comes in last on the list of mistakes frequently seen in translation efforts. Unskilled professionals speed through their work and neglect to proofread it to make sure it meets the necessary requirements.

Since proofreading entails a thorough review of the entire text, it is a crucial step in the translation process. So, in order to ensure that the text is ready for usage, translators should closely monitor this procedure.

This commitment to quality assurance ensures that the final translated materials maintain the highest standards of precision, promoting patient safety, regulatory compliance, and effective communication in the intricate field of medical translation.

In navigating the complex landscape of medical translation, these common mistakes serve as cautionary signposts. Recognizing these challenges emphasizes the necessity of entrusting medical translation to accredited language service providers like Traductanet, whose expertise, attention to detail, and commitment to precision can ensure the accurate and reliable translation of critical medical documents, safeguarding both patient well-being and the integrity of healthcare practices.

If you are looking for a trusted partner who fulfils your needs regarding medical translation, look no further! At Traductanet, we will be happy to help you, as we translate to and from all languages. Ask for a quote today!