What Makes a Good Translator of Medical Projects?

Guest blog written by Roman Mironov, of Velior, a translation agency located in Ivanovo, Russia.

Which competencies are critical to success in medical translations?

This article offers a few related tips to those translation buyers in the life sciences industry who seek to have their content translated by top talent.

Which Competencies Should You Look for?

First and foremost, your translator must be able to demonstrate medical specialization, e.g. an extensive translation experience in this field, attendance at medical training courses, or a full medical degree. For some projects, a native speaker who is currently a physician or a medical technician may be preferred over a professional translator. Although some may think a combination of a healthcare professional and a translator is rare to find in a single person, it is in fact available for most popular language pairs. Having developed translation skills through formal education and reading scientific papers in English (probably the No. 1 language of the global medical community), many medical practitioners apply these skills to generate an additional income as part-time freelance translators.

Strong command of the source language. While being a native speaker of the target language, your translator should also have a language degree or otherwise demonstrate knowledge of the foreign language. Full understanding of the source text, including all subtle details, is of paramount importance in medical translations where even a minor slip can cause damage to patients or fines from regulatory agencies.

General translation experience. Because medical projects leave no room for taking chances typically associated with using unexperienced workforce, your translator must have at least three years of professional experience. Otherwise, be prepared for substandard quality, costly editing process, or missed deadlines.

Knowledge of industry-proven technology and best practices. The most essential skills include project management, translation memory, and terminology. Your translator must be self-organized to handle your project within the requested timeframe, maintain folder structure and file names, keep formatting intact, and follow your instructions to the letter. Translation memory skills are crucial to leveraging existing translations effectively, handling 100% and fuzzy matches, understanding tags, or running QA checks. Finally, managing terminology involves (a) following any approved term lists, (b) accumulating new terminology in the course of the current project, and (c) checking the final translation against both the approved and new term lists to eliminate any discrepancies.

Ability to research online and offline sources for information. Even though your translator may hold a medical degree, they may lack some of the knowledge required to handle a particular project due to narrow specialization. The medical field is also subject to rapid changes as knowledge of the human body is being accumulated and updated on a daily basis. The ability to research additional information is therefore vital to staying abreast of the latest changes and getting the message of the original text across properly.

Translation Agency Can Do This for You

The wide range of expected competencies makes it difficult and time-consuming for translation buyers to source, select, and manage their translators directly. A cost-efficient and effective way to free yourself from this laborious task is to use professional services provided by translation agencies such as The Geo Group Corporation. Being able to draw upon a pool of tested and dependable talents in a variety of languages, they are uniquely positioned to deliver the first-rate quality most life sciences clients expect.

Contact The Geo Group Corporation today to let professionals cater to your translation needs reliably and efficiently.


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