Medical Translation: Ensure Patients are Informed in Their Native Language
Any medical exam, procedure or emergency is stressful for both the patient and their family. Imagine how much worse it would be if you did not speak the language of the hospital staff. The inability to communicate or understand what is happening creates a sense of helplessness. Thank goodness medical interpreters and translators are often contracted by medical facilities.
If we have medical interpreters, do we also need medical translators?
Yes! Medical interpreters who are “available on call” are now the norm at most modern hospitals and clinics. Obviously, it is difficult to diagnose or treat a medical condition without a full patient history and the ability to ask about symptoms and what led to the current condition. Therefore, having an interpreter available to be the communication liaison between the patient and doctor is critical to quality care.
Unfortunately, after the patient leaves the medical establishment their ability to have access to resources in their own language is often limited. Brochures, prescription instructions and scheduling information are often only provided in the official language of the facility.
Professionally translated written medical documentation is required for effective patient education, diagnosis explanation and follow-up instructions. Even if the patient is able to fully understand everything while at the hospital, it is common to forget the details when they arrive home. Family and other carers also need to be fully briefed on the situation. Having translated written materials available to review carefully upon discharge is important.
Is a specialised medical translator needed?
Yes! Medical facilities and pharmacies only hire trained and qualified medical professionals to serve their patients for many reasons, including professional liability (malpractice). Translating complex medical terminology should also be entrusted only to a medical subject matter expert and credentialed translator. Translation mistakes are costly in any industry, but in the medical field, they could literally be fatal.
What types of medical documents should be translated?
All information that is available in the primary language of the facility should be made available in the most commonly spoken patient languages! This may include, but is not limited to:
- Websites, social media posts and marketing materials
- Forms such as patient history intake forms and treatment consent forms
- Patient education resources on common illnesses, injuries and diagnoses
- Drug and prescription interactions, contraindications, dosage and instructions for use
- Discharge instructions
- Follow-up scheduling
- Study abstracts and participation agreements
- Scientific reports
Is the need for medical translation expanding or shrinking?
It is true that increasingly more people are learning the most common global languages such as English, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic etc., so one might assume the need for medical translation will decrease over time.
On the other hand, with travel and worldwide migration becoming more popular, the need for medical translation services will continue to be in demand for decades. In fact, the medical requirements to travel, obtain a visa and spend time in another country as a student or employee often require medical examinations and home-country records to be translated into the host country’s official government language.
The need for professional medical translation services is obvious. At Renaissance Translations, we offer specialised medical and pharmaceutical translation services carried out by subject matter experts. We look forward to translating your medical documentation into the most common languages of your patients and clients. Contact us today!