medical industry translation

What You Need to Know About Quality Assurance in Medical Translation

June 30, 2021

There is no question that medical translation plays a critical role in the development of medicine. However, where things often go sideways for consumers tends to be when medical translation is needed for everyday medical provisioning in the form of instructions, prescriptions, and advisements. And the consequences can be serious. If a compound is mixed wrong, a prescription is illegible, or directions are misinterpreted, mistakes can be made. And when it comes to health, mistakes can be serious or even deadly in terms of reactions or unintended side effects.

A Backwater Activity Works Against Safety

The big problem that leads to mistakes with medical translation tends to be the fact that it is considered administrative in nature and not the primary activity of health provisioning. No surprise then, it’s usually relegated to lower-level staff or outsourced in bundles of documents to be translated. However, the medical community has become increasingly global. And that requires a tremendous amount of sharing information for people to able to use collective knowledge. Especially when groupthink and sharing on a decentralized basis have become so powerful, understanding and comprehension become essential. 

Medical results happen all the time around the world. Both practical and academic research work non-stop in producing new information, results, data, and analysis. However, many of these creations and findings stay locked in languages until they are translated for greater access. In the same vein, various documentation and patient records also need to be translated to be share correctly. Without understanding files correctly, the application of medicines and prescriptions can easily be applied wrong, and the same can go for operating medical equipment. A large amount of analysis equipment, testing, preservation, and storage tools are made in one country and used in others. Again, without translation, equipment operation can also be risky as well as faulty, both conditions making it possible to make mistakes with peoples’ health directly or indirectly. 

A Respectable Skillset is Needed to do the Job

Medical translators don’t simply swap words from one language to the other. They have to understand the context of how the subject information is written and what it was intended to convey as well. In that regard, translators function as professional communication intermediaries for the parties served. They have to have a dual understanding of their working material, both in terms of starting language and destination version as well as medical-technical application. Further, the forms should be familiar, both in terms of function as well as whom they should be going to. Every form translated should be known in terms of how it is used and what the implications are for the patient as well as those who will read it. Details like medicine specifications, rules, regulations, institutions, procedures and more should also be familiar as well, even between countries when that applies. In short, the translator’s job requires a tremendous amount of knowledge that has to be relied on regularly with each assignment.

medical translation

The Reach of Translation

Many on the non-medical side believe that medical translations only affect prescriptions. In reality, the practice has an ongoing and regular impact on just about every aspect of medicine in modern health delivery today. It can address basic examination data, and it can be the bread and butter of understanding critical records when trying to stop an international pandemic. The human body and related medical treatment tend to be universal, but the instructions are almost always varied. In fact, many medical books still reference for history the earliest documents and analysis records written, including those of Leo da Vinci and earlier. 

Quality Becomes Even More Important in the Digital Age

The quality of medical translation involves reducing the number of errors as much as possible so that the translation accuracy protects all involved. This level of performance is achieved when a combination of factors are involved. First, high-quality translators are assigned to the work versus just any help that is available. Second, the translators are able to apply both language expertise as well as technical knowledge to the context of the details. Third, there is monitoring to make sure that the performance is maintained and doesn’t suffer from slippage over time. Staying on top of these three factors is what makes the difference between mediocre work, which can still have mistakes, or high-quality translation and documents that enhance medical safety. 

Focus on Safety with the Services for Translation

Again, there are lots of options for medical translation, but that doesn’t mean they do the job with quality assurance involved. Medical services with quality assurance included as part of the service are the target that hospitals and clinics relying on medical translation should be relying on. 

If your firm or agency needs high accuracy versus just medical records processed, then it’s time to be working with Etcetera Language Group. We have the right skill, the right knowledge base, and the right capacity to take care of your document translations as needed for medical record processing demands. Call us today to find out more or email us for information and to get started with an evaluation of the translation services you need. Medical translation involves far more than just processing paperwork from one language to another. It’s about taking care of the patients affected by those documents. Let Etcetera Language Group take care of your translations the right way. 

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