Given that the medical sector is one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, coupled with the fact that the ever-expanding translation industry is proving to be virtually recession-proof, what better time is there to become a medical translator? An average annual salary in the profession of around £ 25,000, plus the opportunity to progress, makes it an attractive proposition for those who can tailor their bilinguality to complement one of the most valuable translation services out there.
A medical background is an obvious prerequisite, although qualifications and experience vary widely among translators. Most will have worked within a medical setting and can continue to do so, although there are graduates in medicine and language who go directly to the translation industry after obtaining the necessary legal documents translation
Terminology is the key factor with which translators must be easy; so much so that it somehow almost serves as a third language where fluency is essential. Similar to technical and legal translations, industry-specific words and phrases will have alternatives in the target language that go beyond the limits of word-for-word literal translation. If they don’t, linguistic skill and medical knowledge are required to find the correct wording. Glossaries are always available to a translator, but only to add weight to your already detailed understanding of medical jargon.
However, there is little point in being lyrical about Haemophilus influenzae and necrosis, if it cannot be divided in simple terms when necessary. Instruction leaflets, container labels, and prescriptions often require translations, and those who read them will not want to feast on specialized language that they are not expected to be familiar with. Only a native translator with creative talent and technical substance will be able to convey a message that way.
Software has also entered the medical translation equation in recent years. Computer literacy is a must for translators who consider assignments to be word-processed and generally submitted electronically. More specifically, however, proficiency in the use of audio and publishing software can be critical to accurate translation. This may involve listening to audio recordings of patient / doctor monologues / dialogues or translating saved information into digitized formats.