Why is medical translation so important? | Stillman Translations
Why is medical translation so important?

Medical translation requires specialized and trained translators to be constantly updating their knowledge. This field demands top-quality working procedures because what is at stake is the health and life of human beings.

Medical translation emerged from the need to achieve a mutual understanding of health issues between patients and professionals who speak different languages, and also, the dissemination of knowledge in the medical field.

When translating medical texts, linguists face several challenges. The terminological complexity of this type of text requires to be specially prepared in lexical equivalence, terminology, readability, and linguistic quality. To translate medical texts, they need to be familiar with a variety of fields like pharmacology, surgery, pediatrics and even other disciplines like law and administration. Medical translations cannot be ambiguous, they must be completely accurate.

Most of the research is done in English and, therefore, its results are made public in English as well. The investigation carried out by Wioleta Karwacka (“Medical Translation”, 2015) reflects the way the scientific world is predominantly English-speaking: “the share of scientific papers written in English in the total number of papers published is 80% according to Montgomery (2009) and 85% according to Kaplan (2001). But long before English became the lingua franca of science, Latin was the dominant language of medicine as of the 2nd century, while Greek remained the language of instruction for medical students until the 3rd century (Fischbach 1998)”.

For centuries, every great civilization not only kept records of medical findings but also translated medical advances so that they could pass from one civilization to another. Thus, translation made it possible for valuable knowledge to live on.

Medical translations have also had a substantial impact to assure the rights of ethnic minorities and immigrants. Language barriers have shown that a lack of understanding can lead to catastrophic results, putting lives at risk. To guarantee access to health-related information for all communities in their native language, different international regulations were carried out. 

It’s undeniable that medical translation is a disciplinary field that requires constantly trained professionals. What is at stake if we do not work with quality and excellence processes is, plainly, the health of human beings. At Stillman Translations we maintain standards of excellence to ensure medical translations without any ambiguity, ensuring a highly valuable translation service.