Medical translations – when an error can be very expensive

2016 05 06 07:10

The question how the precise information of an original text should be conveyed in the target languages of translation is solved for many years already but still, translators do not agree about one best and most suitable translation. Of course, one technique of translation cannot be applied to all translated texts or documents. The whimsical part of this process is the nature of the translated document.

Medical translations are very subtle and require high accuracy and responsibility; therefore, they are entrusted to a professional team of translators only who know the subtleties of the language of translation starting with semantics and ending with grammar and who have medical education.

Medical translations are edited and proofread at least several times as one error of translation can become very expensive, and we are speaking not only about the financial losses a translation agency or pharmaceutical company may incur.

For instance, the user’s guide of insulin injection translated inaccurately or erroneously can cost the life of a person suffering from diabetes. Side effects translated inaccurately may appear scarier that they are in fact and a pharmacy company may incur huge losses due to the translator’s mistake.

Of course, medical translations are not limited to the translation of information leaflets of medicinal products. Very frequently translators have to translate user’s guides of medical equipment, brochures, scientific publications, booklets, etc., which are equally important and necessary.

Thanks to the open border policy applied today, the possibility appeared to supply the Lithuanian medics with the most modern equipment which facilitates in making very complicated organ transplantation, heart and oncological surgeries successfully, in providing first aid in time, etc.

Part of such medical equipment reaches Lithuanian hospitals from such countries as Switzerland, Sweden, USA, Japan, Germany, and similar. Therefore, it is natural that equipment is not provided with the Lithuanian user’s guides, transportation, and safety instructions.

Translators have to take care that medics would have precise and clear information and would be able to work successfully.

On the other side, we should also think about the good relations between suppliers and buyers of medications or medical equipment, the Lithuanian state in this case.

The field of medicine is very subtle and specific and fluent cooperation is vital while negotiating the purchase of medical equipment or medications that would help to strive for own objectives for both sides: for the suppliers – to sell, for the buyers – to buy at a more favorable price. It is hard to do it without translators in such cases.

A natural question may arise – will Lithuanian hospitals and other medical institutions be left without some or other necessary medications or medical equipment if a translator renders information inaccurately? Most probably they will not; still, the process of negotiations may prolong and not everybody can wait.

Thus, there is no place for inaccuracies, interpretations or question marks in medical translations. Every error is very expensive; therefore, such translations should be entrusted to qualified translators with many years of experience only.


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