Communicating with your doctor or other medical practitioner has always been challenging for the average person. As far back as 2011, the U.S. National Institutes of Health even addressed the topic, although no real changes have been implemented since. This problem with medicalese is exactly why your medical translation services need to be pinpoint accurate and reliable.
When patients struggle to understand what their doctors, test results, instructions, or medication containers tell them, the potential for misunderstanding is enormous. This not only makes it challenging for patients to communicate their own concerns and questions, but it can also lead to adverse consequences for their health.
The potential for trouble is already there. Don’t complicate it with inadequate or poor medical translation services. Every translation services provider is not well equipped or sufficiently experienced to handle complicated and often confusing medical documents. Consider the following three factors to see if it is time for a medical translation services checkup.
Medical Translation Services Checkup: Consider Your Audience
Health literacy is an important determinant of health. People can be well educated and even very literate and yet have low health literacy. Overall, low health literacy is most common in people with low basic skills and the elderly. And as medical advances continue to propagate, this literacy gap will only grow larger.
Therefore, it is important to consider the target audience when arranging medical translation services for a new or updated product or service. Obviously, those within the medical community, with some level of training, will possess a greater understanding of medical terminology and jargon. And yet, care must still be taken to communicate clearly.
When medical translation services are needed for consumer-facing material, even greater efforts are needed to communicate complex terminology simply and clearly. Translators must be educated and experienced in the medical field in order to choose the correct wording that will convey your meaning without being misleading or confusing and potentially harmful.
Medical Translation Services Checkup: Watch Medical Jargon
Medical terms and procedures are often complex and difficult to understand. But the medical field, like most other industries, has its own particular language. This language is a peculiar jargon that has evolved through use to convey important information quickly and simply between medical professionals.
But to the uninitiated or unschooled, everyday medical jargon might as well be Ugaritic or some other complex language. Just as doctors should apply a ‘universal precautions’ approach to communication (that is, communicate clearly and without jargon for all patients), medical translation services should adopt the same approach.
Only a translator educated and experienced in the medical industry will be able to accurately translate jargon into simple, understandable terms for the intended audience. If your translation services provider is routinely hung up on translating medical jargon, you should seek a new provider with the skills and experience to get it right.
Medical Translation Services Checkup: The Consequences of Misunderstood Translations
Before you believe that just any translation service can provide adequate medical translation services, consider the consequences when translated medical communications are misunderstood. When the lives and health of people are at stake, there is absolutely no room for errors in translation.
Regardless of your opinion of its origin, a primary directive to all who practice any form of medicine is “Do no harm.” Those who provide medical translation services would also be wise to adopt the same dictum as a reminder to produce completely accurate and reliable translations of all medical documents and materials, every time.
International Language Services is a top provider of medical translation services for a variety of industry sectors. You can rely on our ISO-certified quality control processes and linguistic subject matter experts to produce the most accurate and reliable medical translations. Contact International Language Services to learn more about how we can help with your next medical translation project.