5 Common Mistakes to Avoid in Medical Translations

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Medical translation plays a crucial role in various medical procedures conducted routinely in medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies. It facilitates collaborations among medical professionals from different regions and languages. Therefore, medical translation services are indispensable for clinical trials, medical conferences, and other significant procedures involving professionals worldwide.

Activities and projects related to medical translation demand accuracy and precision since they involve human lives. However, there are common mistakes or errors in translation that can lead to severe consequences for professionals involved in medical translation projects. These mistakes must be avoided at all costs, starting with being aware of them. Here is a list of common medical translation errors.

Mistake 1: Lack of Medical Expertise

Accurate translation of medical terminology in procedures is crucial to ensure patients receive the correct diagnosis and treatment. Medical translators must possess expertise in both the source and target languages.

Medical translation necessitates not only the use of specialised dictionaries and glossaries but also a profound understanding of medical concepts and terminology. A deficiency in medical expertise makes this task challenging and puts patients’ lives at risk. For example, mistaking one antibiotic’s name for another medication or errors in dosage consumption. Therefore, every medical setting requires certified and reliable medical translation services. A reputable and recognised service will ensure the highest quality and accuracy.

Mistake 2: Word-for-Word Translation

This is one of the most common mistakes in medical translation. Word-for-word translation either makes the context meaningless or gives it a different meaning. Many translators have the misconception that it is correct to translate from the source language directly to the target language, word by word. Remember, this practice is equal to machine translation, which translates files and documents as it is without any additional effort. Thus, word-for-word translation reduces the overall quality of the source language.

For example, certain words have more than one meaning. So, it’s best to avoid word-for-word translation, largely because it doesn’t mix with the different grammatical constructions in different languages.

Therefore, it is always recommended to work with a professional translator specialising in medical translation. They will accurately translate and preserve the information, maintaining the authenticity of the source document.

Mistake 3: Ignoring Formatting and Layout

Document format and layout are equally important in medical translation. A well-formatted translated document accurately replicates the appearance of the source or original document. It involves inserting in-table content and borders, superimposing text over images, and other formatting details.

Accurate formatting of medical documents ensures clarity, confidentiality, conciseness, completeness, and chronological order of content. Improper formatting can lead to misinterpretation among medical professionals. Ignoring formatting can result in errors that compromise the document’s integrity.

Mistake 4: Inaccurate Dose or Measurement Conversions

Medical reports and prescriptions contain precise medication dosage details. After formatting documents, careful attention must be paid to dose and measurement accuracy. Ignoring this can lead to errors that make understanding the dosage difficult for medical professionals and patients alike. Furthermore, it can result in misunderstandings regarding drug interactions, inappropriate screening reports, and inadequate drug utilisation reviews.

Reports also include patient measurements such as weight, height, blood pressure, temperature, etc. If these are not translated accurately, it can have serious consequences when determining medication. Therefore, it is essential to double-check after translating and hire professional medical translation services to verify all conversions for accuracy.

Mistake 5: Insufficient Quality Control

Quality control is crucial in medical translation. Skipping or avoiding the quality assurance process may lead to overlooking and not rectifying mistakes in the text. Quality assurance involves proofreading, which focuses on reviewing, testing, and evaluating medical documents to ensure accuracy, clarity, consistency, and suitability. It also enables valuable feedback from patients, medical professionals, and experts. Therefore, it is essential to check for typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, and flow inconsistencies.

Working with qualified medical translation services is necessary to ensure the accuracy and quality of medical translations. If translators lack adequate medical expertise, they may not be familiar with specific medical terminology and cultural aspects of health, resulting in significant translation errors.

Final Thoughts 

These are common mistakes in medical translations that must be avoided and prevented with the assistance of professional service providers. If you seek a trusted service guaranteeing quality, contact Welcome Translation Experts.

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