Best Practices

3 Crucial Questions To Ask When Choosing Medical Translation

More than 82% of Americans had at least one visit to a medical institution. The thing is, a lot of those patients don't speak English.
Stefan M.
2 minutes
Table of Contents

Last year, more than 82% of Americans had at least one visit to a medical institution. That means 8 out of 10 people have their medical records updated once every 12 months. The thing is, a lot of those patients don't speak English.

According to the latest CBR report, roughly 350 different languages are spoken in US homes, the most popular being Spanish, Chinese, and French. That's why institutions use medical translation services to share treatment plans, medical histories, and records with patients.

Great care has to be put into selecting the right translation service. Even the simplest error can result in misdiagnoses, incorrect instructions, and in most unfortunate cases, malpractice.

To get the right people, you need to ask the right questions. Today, we'll discuss some of your most important questions. But first...

Why Are Medical Translation Services so Important?

In recent years, the need for medical translation services has skyrocketed in most countries worldwide. A 2020 CSA Research Institute study of translators in almost 100 countries showed that the demand for these services in the healthcare sector had grown by nearly 50%.

An average primary-care physician sees 2,300 patients every year - or between 11 and 22 a day - a fair percentage of these being non-native English speakers.

Medical translation services ensure no miscommunication or misunderstanding when doctors and medical professionals work with patients of different language backgrounds.

Minimizing legal risks, enhancing medical care, and allowing doctors to provide quick, accurate patient instructions are just some reasons medical translation services are so important.

Why Do You Need Experienced Medical Translation Services?

As you're well aware, the medical industry is chock-full of medical jargon and complex terminology. The medical translation task involves much more than taking a few medical terms from one language to another.

With the proper training and academic knowledge, a translator can accurately navigate medical terms and jargon and understand medical processes.

That's why medical translation services should take into account a medical translator's qualifications and experience.

3 Questions for Medical Translation Services

Finding a translator or a service is one thing. There are nearly 20,000 translators registered in the United States alone. But how many of them are effective? And how can you be certain they've done similar work in the past?

By conducting an in-depth interview, of course. Before you hire medical translation services, consider these three questions:

Question 1: Do You Have the Appropriate Qualifications/Certifications?

Often, you'll see medical translation services advertising medical, medical-related degrees and certifications. Ask to see those certificates or any other diplomas that show the translator's medical knowledge. If a translator has a background in medical writing or medical interpreting, they should be able to provide proof.

Why Does the Question Matter?

A reputable medical translation service provider will be more than happy to provide evidence and details about their qualifications. Failing to ask for documentation can lead to working with an amateur translator with little to no knowledge of the sector, its words, and practices.

What to Consider When Asking?

Ask whether or not the service provider has any memberships or certifications from medical associations such as the American Translators Association, European Medical Writers Association, or medical associations in the target language.

Question 2: Have You Done Similar Translations Before?

The medical translation may seem like a tight niche, but in reality, the sector has a wide variety of sub-niches that often have no connections. Asking this simple question is an excellent way to gauge the medical translation services' knowledge of your particular medical field.

Why Does the Question Matter?

While a service provider may feel confident in their medical translation capabilities, it doesn't mean they understand your niche fully. For instance, translators that have handled clinical trials may need a better grasp of medical device translation. Look for experts in similar areas who write in the tone you need.

What to Consider When Asking?

Ask for samples of medical translations they've done in the past. Some people may claim medical translation experience, but you will know once you see their work. Thoroughly check the samples they provide, and pay attention to small details like abbreviations, medical jargon, and cultural references.

Question 3: Are You Updated on the Regulations at All Times?

Medical regulations are different in each country. They also tend to change at fairly regular intervals. Your medical translation service must always stay on top of regulations in your country or area.

Why Does the Question Matter?

With the help of a translator, the risk of legal charges is greatly reduced. Moreover, working with someone who understands the local medical policies and the industry as a whole will form a strong base for your success.

What to Consider When Asking?

As soon as you get in touch with the translation service, specify the country or countries you're operating in. Brush up on some of the medical regulations and policies yourself, so you can get a good idea of whether the medical translation service is familiar with them or not.

Choose Your Medical Translation Services Carefully

Carefully assessing medical translation services is essential for patient safety and medical accuracy. Ask the questions above with due diligence to ensure you’re working with the best translation services available.

Whether you need a single document translation or work on an ongoing localization process, you can count on Bureau Works to deliver the results. With over 15 years of experience, Bureau Works fine-tuned its processes to deliver the best medical translation services.

We offer translation services in 134 languages, have all the necessary medical certifications, and stay up to date with the latest medical regulations. Don't wait, contact us today, and see your translation nightmares turned into medical dream works.

Stefan M.
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