What is healthcare translation?

Healthcare translation is a highly specialised field of translation that is used to translate medical documents and records from a source language to a target language. These documents can include patient information, diagnoses and pharmacological instructions.

Moving countries is a huge decision in itself that takes a lot of organisation and requires a mass of documentation to be in order. One of the things to take into account is the transfer of medical records and documents to the target country and the translation of these into the target language. Everyone has medical records and will at some point in their life require medical assistance, whether that be a routine appointment with a doctor or nurse, a prescription for medicine, or in more extreme circumstances, emergency medical care.

Additionally, it could even be that you are in the position of looking after someone who is unable to look after themselves and so you will need to know that their medical records are translated accurately, so that they are able to access the appropriate medical care that they require. This could be for babies and children or even elderly people or people with disabilities who are unable to communicate for themselves.

This is where a healthcare translator can assist in the translation of medical documentation, which has to be done to an extremely accurate level.

Why it is important to have medical documents translated

Healthcare records and documentation are incredibly important as they provide us with a clear understanding of our body’s current condition. When individuals go to see medical practitioners who are not native speakers, it is much more challenging for them to fully explain these records thoroughly. As a result, this can lead to a myriad of misunderstandings, mistranslations and misdiagnoses.

When moving countries it is important to consider how healthcare can be accessed, as you may need it in an emergency. For example, if you are moving to Russia, the healthcare system may initially appear similar to other healthcare systems within Europe, in that it offers both state and privately funded medical treatment. However, understanding how this complex system really works and ensuring you have the necessary information to hand, can be confusing and time consuming for individuals looking to relocate. Therefore, one of the best things to do initially, is to ensure that all your medical documentation is accurately translated by a qualified healthcare translator, as this will mean you can access healthcare more quickly should you require it in an emergency.

The situation is similar in Ukraine, but again, having your documentation accurately translated and ready, so that any medical team is able to treat you quickly and more efficiently, can only be in your best interests.

The accurate translation of medical documents benefits the whole medical team, as everyone is able to communicate about the patient’s situation and past medical history. The patient is also able to be kept informed about treatment or how to take medication.

Why do you need a healthcare translator?

Healthcare translation is highly complex. The medical language that is used within the documentation is abundant with scientific and technical terminology that needs to be accurately translated. For this reason, only someone who is appropriately qualified in this field should undertake the task of translating medical records and documentation, as the problems and pitfalls that can be encountered if it is not done correctly, can in the worst case scenario, prove to be fatal.

The tone of the medical documents needs to be considered as well. These documents are very different to any other kind of official documentation and they can have a layered inference within them. A healthcare translator understands this and will take into consideration that the tone of each translated medical text type changes in relation to the culture that it is dependent on, the region specific audience that it targets and that high quality medical translation has to cater for a spectrum of needs of a specific audience.

Such understanding only comes from extensive training and experience and as such, when moving countries, it is advisable to seek out the services of a healthcare translator to aid in the translation of all medical documentation.

Prepared by Yuliya Kinash, certified German & English to Russian/Ukrainian translator

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For the past 16 years, businesses, law firms and private clients have relied on me to provide high-quality translations from English and German into Russian and Ukrainian. From articles of association to user manuals, my prompt, professional services ensure smooth communication across international borders.