stack of medical books
By: Alison On: August 26, 2016 In: Interpreting, Medical, Translation Comments: 0

In order to deliver quality services and keep pace with the continually evolving terminology of the medical field, doctors, nurses and other practitioners continuously update their knowledge.

Medical translators and interpreters must be responsive to these changes as well if they too want to deliver services at a consistently high standard.

Difficulties of Keeping Up with Medical Terminology

The World Health Organization estimates that several thousand new medical terms are created every year. This creates a huge challenge for medical interpreters and translators.

Not only do medical interpreters and translators have to know the new words in the source language (and understand the medical developments they refer to), in some cases of first-time translation they will also be responsible for coining new words.

Another aspect of medical terminology development that makes medical translation and interpreting especially difficult is the evolution of terms in different countries. A term that is unused in one place may be ubiquitous in another.

For example, there is a common bacterium that’s referred to as “Pseudomonas pyocyanea” in European texts and “Pseudomonas aeruginosa” in North America. Linguists that specialize in the healthcare field understand these important differences.

How Linguists in the Healthcare Field Stay Current

Linguists who specialize in the healthcare field immerse themselves in the latest medical research and conclusions. They subscribe to medical journals and keep up-to-date with new developments. They refer to updated medical dictionaries and consult medical terminology databases regularly.

Because medical interpreters in particular have the added burden of needing to verify the pronunciation of new terminology, they also often devote time to memorizing terms in advance of live interpretation.

For both medical translators and interpreters the primary goal is to accurately convey the meaning of the term, which is why it is so essential that linguists possesses a thorough knowledge of the medical content that they are working with.

By staying abreast of new developments and coinciding terminology, these specialized linguists are able to develop a nuanced understanding of the healthcare field and perform to a consistently high standard.

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