Medicine is a field of study which everyone had a contact with at least once in their life. Doctor appointments in the vast majority of cases involve medical documentation – from important referrals and prescriptions to drug leaflets and test results. Such documents are often indispensable to us, especially if they are related to our own health.

Along with the development of technology gradually came specialised apps and websites with the intention of helping translators in their work. But what exact influence does this development have on translation of complex medical documentation?

Specific translation

First of all, medicine as a field of study is generally very difficult to comprehend, which is no surprise. It has been known for years that it is characterised by complicated terminology, which can definitely pose a problem for translators. That is why translating medical documentation needs to be handled only by professionals, because even the slightest mistake can prove catastrophic. Apps and websites can help in such process, but it is advised to not overly rely upon them.

Usage of publicly available websites is also discouraged – yes, it can help us with less complicated texts, but relying on an inaccurate website in circumstances directly concerning our health does not seem like a good idea. It is better to visit a professional translation agency which will do everything in their power to translate any sophisticated text without any mistakes.

Constant evolution of medicine

Another factor significantly affecting the work in this field is the constant development of medicine, which can cause some problems when it comes to translation. One of them is a continuously expanding lexicon with medical terminology – every year new diseases or medicine production methods are discovered, but many online translation tools are not able to keep pace with it. It is then our responsibility to get familiar with such processes as fast as possible to help with communication and interpretation. However, this evolution remains a driving force of sorts for translators, who are making efforts to ensure that technology eventually becomes an integral part of medical translation, raising hopes for potential successes and far greater accuracy in the future.

Translation apps

In recent years, an increasing number of translation apps have started to appear, some more and some less useful. People eagerly use them whenever they forget a particular word or are simply studying another language, but it is worth keeping in mind that pretty much none of such apps were created for specialised translation, especially a medical one. For example, the widely known Google Translate has only 57.7% accuracy when translating phrases closely related to medicine, so it should not be treated as the core of translation in this field. There are also many critical mistakes – it happened that, when translating from English into Polish, the phrase “Your husband has the opportunity to donate his organs”, it was translated to “Your husband can donate his tools”. It is just one of countless examples as to how inaccurate such software can be.

It is therefore important that the person translating the medical text has the relevant experience and, above all, knowledge of medicine in order not to make such mistakes and to produce a perfect translation. At Atominium, we go to great lengths to make sure that everything is buttoned up to the last detail, and our interpreters have many years of experience in the field under their belts. When it comes to health, it is not worth relying on half-measures and the same applies to the translation of medical documents, which should be handled by specialists.

(translation Ł. S.)

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