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Medical and pharmaceutical translations

Translating medical and pharmaceutical documents is a highly specialised area of expertise. Only appropriately qualified translators should be entrusted with this kind of work.

For this reason, we exclusively commission professional translators who have either studied medicine or work in related fields, are experienced in the relevant medical domain and have linguistic qualifications. The quality of the work of these translators and their qualifications have been subjected to in-depth reviews.

Why are our medical translations exclusively produced by translators who are qualified in the field of medicine?

Proficiency in a foreign language alone is not sufficient. The most important aspect when it comes to translating a text is understanding it. We all have a very good grasp of the English language, right? Well, let’s put our skills to the test by looking at the two following sentences taken from a medical abstract:

Other epithelial cells in the crypts correspond largely to those in the epithelium of the intestinal villi.

The most serious complication following esophagectomy and conventional intrathoracic esophagogastrostomy is anastomotic leakage, which contributes to both a high mortality and morbidity postoperatively.

Now be honest – to what extent did you understand the above sentences? How easy respectively difficult was it to read them? Alright, so you speak English – but understanding a medical text is a different kettle of fish altogether.

You can now relate to how a translator with no scientific or medical background knowledge feels when he or she is faced with a text of this nature. Translators translate from a foreign language into their mother tongue. In other words, the translator should ideally be a native speaker of the language he or she translates into, i.e. the target language. A given person might have excellent bilingual skills - unless they are also an expert in the field they specialise in, a translation produced by them can turn out to be an absolute disaster.

The terminology of medical and scientific texts is quite specific. In German medical texts, for instance, the term “Anamnese“ is very common. The English equivalent offered by various dictionaries is “anamnesis“. A translator who solely relies on dictionaries will have a problem in this situation. Why? Because English-speaking doctors around the world would never use the expression “anamnesis“ – they simply refer to it as the “case history of a patient“.

The same applies to translators who have excellent knowledge of their area of expertise, but no linguistic skills or competences. They will encounter just as many difficulties as those in the above-mentioned case scenario. A medical expert might spend days looking for the English equivalent of the German term “Patientengut“, for example – he may or may not succeed in finding that the most appropriate and common translation is “patient records“.

As we all know, style refers to the manner in which something is said, done, expressed or presented. Have you ever noticed that scientific-technical documents are written in a style of their own? If a translator literally adopts the same style when translating from the source into the target language, the outcome is likely to appear awkward. A translator who is qualified both in terms of the respective languages and his field of expertise, on the other hand, has the ability and the skills to translate the document in the scientific- technical style typically used in the target language.

No matter how subject-specific your documents are – we can offer you translations into all languages.