In addition to attending and interpreting at various appointments, consultations, conferences and even surgeries, medical language service providers are required to accurately convey the meaning of medical documents including doctors’ notes, reports, test results, invoices, outpatient sheets, correspondence between medical practitioners and health care professionals or documentation regarding medical procedures and tests from one language into another or even from an audio-visual format to a written format and it goes without saying that the medical language service provider, be it a medical translator or interpreter or transcriber needs to display a mastery of the terminology used in each respective field of medicine. The medical language service provider also needs to be able to accurately convey information shared between health care provider and patient as failure to do so can result in misunderstanding, misdiagnosis and/or mis-prescribing, which can further result in the patient’s lack of trust in the healthcare provider, the medical facility and the language service provider. This can lead to the exacerbation of the illness and even death. Hence, it is vital for the medical translator to be superlatively qualified and experienced.
In compliance with legislation requiring healthcare facilities to provide translation and interpreting services for non-English speakers, many healthcare facilities in the United States are now making it a requirement that in order for a healthcare provider to provide translation, interpreting or foreign language services in the healthcare facility the provider must have medical experience in countries in which the foreign language is spoken. Therefore, a medical language service provider who also has a background in the healthcare profession in a foreign country is a major asset to the healthcare industry.
Continuing education is of extreme importance to the medical translation professional since technology and expertise continue to expand at a rapid pace and our global community is becoming increasingly borderless.
Translators interested in launching out into this area of expertise should not be daunted by the enormity of the responsibility that a medical language service provider has to shoulder but should understand the commitment that needs to be made to provide superlative medical translations. Health care facilities do well to continue to employ high-end medical language solutions for their reputation’s sake and more importantly, to enhance the health and wellbeing of the community at large.