Medical translation is one of the most challenging specializations of translation services as it requires a high level of accuracy, and leaves no room for any kind of errors. Since the related knowledge is complex and highly specialized for any translator, there is a shortage of specialists for medical linguists in this field. Thereby, to answer the question of how to become a medical translator and become qualified, this article may help you to draw up a list of work to do.
Being a medical translator involves translating a wide range of documents such as study protocols, adverse event reports, case report forms. Standard operating procedures, patient information. In some cases, it also relates to marketing materials for medicinal products, patient information leaflets, summarizing product characteristics. The adaptation also covers translation for medical devices, market research surveys, patients’ medical histories, publications for medical journals, etc.
Therefore, you’ll have opportunities to work with manufacturers of medical equipment, pharmaceutical firms, healthcare centers, and clinical research organizations depending on your abilities and interests. However, all of them will rely on you to deliver error-free content and sensitive data. There will be no exception for guessing or improvising here.
What you should prepare to become a medical translator
Honing your skill
If you truly desire to be a medical translator, it’s essential to develop appropriate traits and skills right from the beginning. You should always check medical terms to describe the situation in the most precise way since assumptions do not have room in this field. If there is anything that is not clear or logical, point them out to the client and bring it out of the vague. Staying alert and concentrated should be part of your process. Additionally, staying up to date with new medical knowledge such as new medicine and treatment to deliver the most accurate translation is also a must to sharpen your skills.
Understand the audience
Always keep in mind the characteristics of your target audience when doing the work as there will be a slight difference in translated content for doctors, patients, regular consumers, etc. For instance, while translating documents for doctors will require using accurate terminologies to describe the situation, implementing similar tasks for patients will need more simple and understandable phrases for the non-experts.
Understand the local law
One of the things easy to overlook when it comes to answering the question of how to become a medical translator is sufficient knowledge of the local law. Most countries have specific strict regulations in terms of medical approval and medical procedures. Especially in advertising, plenty of countries have rigid guidelines about what words can be used to describe particular products. Hence, you should carefully learn about the medical-related laws to avoid any mistranslation, which can lead to your client delays or even miss the approval of selling medical products in local markets.
Have reliable medical term resources
The medical industry adheres to thousands of medical terms and phrases that are rarely alterable while translating the related documents always require the most precise contents. Therefore, you should have access to qualified resources and accurate glossaries of terms to refer to whenever you have assumptions or difficulties in finding the most correct words to convey the source messages.
Take the training course
Finding a training program that is offered by authorized providers will be a decent choice to get closer to a professional medical linguist. The course will provide you both expert knowledge and actual situations to practice. For example, they may build a practice of a non-English speaking patient arriving at the hospital without any relatives, you will have to quickly translate all of their symptoms in the most accurate way so that suitable treatment could be applied. It might be easy and smooth while practicing but you will find the real tension in an actual emergency.
Taking the training through local and reputable agencies also paves the way for employment opportunities as they have connections with those organizations, companies who are in need of medical translators.
Obtain a certification
Medical translation and interpretation are highly managed in most countries as they can directly impact human lives. Even if you’ve joined a training program but not obtaining a certification, the opportunity for lucrative jobs will be much smaller as the employers don’t know whether you are qualified or not. Hence, medical linguists not only should be expertise in both professions to get a job but also need more qualifications to prove their abilities are certified by a reliable organization.
Here are 6 useful things to help you answer the question of how to become a medical translator. To pursue this occupation, being fluent in two or more languages is not enough. While other fields may only require translators to master linguistic matter and knowledge about the specialization, medical translation may stand in need of continuous training and several years of practice. It’s an occupation in which you never stop learning and update your knowledge every day.