When translating medical texts, we take into account the various rules and requirements associated with these texts. This is a strictly specialized type of translation and requires increased attention; the most frequent medical documents we translate: leaflets, clinical protocols, patient journals and information leaflets, e-trainings and patents.
Regardless of which of the above medical documents we are dealing with, there are specific global rules, which apply to all of them:
*Clean, literal text, without any fictional deviations.
*Expertise in the field of medicine and pharmacy: in particular when translating names of chemical substances and compounds, anatomy and diagnosis.
*Use of specific and accurate terminology – of course, linguistic skills are an advantage; most medical terms come from Latin and Greek.
*In describing side effects of a specific medicine, knowledge in the field of anatomy is of outmost importance. Agencies providing translation of medical and pharmaceutical literature usually use specialists in these sciences. Usually they rely on translators who work as doctors or chemists.
*When translating popular psychology and texts about homeopathy, responsibility rests with the translator. Extensive experience is recommended (this can prove to be a very useful quality, even if the translator has never worked on such texts). Long experience is an advantage due to the better knowledge of the profession and the specific terms related to the various areas of translation.
*Adherence to formal style of legal and medical texts like applications concerning authorization of drugs, protocols and contracts for clinical trials, informed consent forms, etc. This includes legal knowledge, which is a necessary attribute to anyone who works with documents.
*When translating scientific findings, translators not only must be familiar with the terminology but also with the subject it derives from. In other words, knowledge in the area of science. This task requires an experienced specialist who is not only a translator but also a co-diagnostician.
To summarize, the role of medical translators is just as important and responsible as that of surgeons, for instance. Just one mistake is enough to misdiagnose some unfortunate patient, and hence lead him to the wrong treatment. Thus, extra caution must be exercised; the medical translator should have good general knowledge and a dictionary in all cases.