The job of a medical translator is to ensure the quality of the linguistics and the clarity and fluency of translation. At the same time he has to invest efforts looking for the proper nomenclature, abbreviation and medical jargon. If all the above mentioned elements are not balanced properly, the translation of a medical manuscript can fall into jeopardy.
The objective of this article is to ensure that medial translators can find proper resources, which can help them translate medical documents in a better way.
Understanding the Subject: It is crucial that medical translator fully understand the subject that he is required to translate. But the start of any project is always the hardest. A lot of medical translators take the help of Wikipedia in order to understand the background of the subject; however Wikipedia is hardly a reliable resource and can be edited by anyone. Even if there are valid articles, it is difficult for a novice to differentiate it from a poorly cited one. a good resource for gathering up to date medical information is the PubMed, housed by the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Medical translators can view article summaries as well as full text medical files that are accurate and valid.
Mother Tongue as the Scientific Language: Our style of writing style is different from our literary writing style. During translation, a medical translator will always translate in his mother tongue in the universal scientific style. There are two extreme kinds of medical translation methods. One suggests that the original text should be translated verbatim into another language. The French literary translation style dictates that medical translators should read the manuscript, close it and then rewrite a new one in another language. A medical writing service provider will find his translating style somewhere between these two extremes. One of the basic things to keep in mind is to keep the terms and verbs without synonyms in a consistent way when translating, even if it costs us the literary style.
Use of Acronyms: Only use an acronym if it is fixed and is very well known like AIDS, UNICEF etc or if it’s a brand name like GSK. There is no need to shorten or abbreviate the names of each and every illness, drugs, health organizations etc. by putting too many acronyms and abbreviations within a medical manuscript, a medical translator can jeopardize the fluency and comprehension of the text.
Use of Gerunds: Some medical translators avoid using ‘ing’ words or gerunds, thinking that it results in misunderstanding. However if used in a consistent manner, these gerunds (eg. breathing, spasming, chewing) can make your text simple and easy to understand.
Use of Passive and Active Voice: Although most technical writing requires a writer to write in the active voice, when translating medical documents, a professional translation services provider will be forced to use the passive tone. However, the medical writer must not forget that these two voices represent different points of view. Languages like Hungarian almost exclusively use the active voice in its writing; however the syntax of the language permits easy exchange of the passive voice of the original document to the active voice in the Hungarian document.
Melissa Munroe is a medical research writer, currently working for Research Medics.