How to Become an Ideal Medical Interpreter

The need for extra precaution and precision is a must, especially when you are saving a life.

One of the life-threatening challenges faced in the medical field is the possibility of wrong medical translation and interpretation. It has already led to many lawsuits, medical complications, and avoidable deaths.

If you are interested or involved in the field of translating medical diagnosis, prescriptions, and medicines, then you must have a thorough knowledge of general medical vocabulary.

You must also possess the following requirements and expertise:

1. Language Proficiency


To successfully carry out medical translation, you must be proficient in the language of a particular area you are assigned to. You should also have the necessary level of scientific knowledge. These proficiencies are required because it is quite easy to confuse syntax, diction, and theoretical frameworks of different languages and contexts. Remember that you won’t be dealing with medical practitioners alone. Patients and locals also need to hear what you have to say.

This is even more complicated in the medical industry due to lots of specialized terms involved. Not only do you need to translate, but you should also be able to relay the message as efficiently as you can.

2. Must Have a Legal Certification

It can be dangerous to engage in translating medical terms without having the certification. It is considered an illegal act and could lead to prosecution and imprisonment. The law in the US prescribes the relevant certification one must have to be a medical translator or interpreter. Not only should that, getting awarded with the certificate or license also come with sufficient experience in the field of medical translation.

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3. Meets Global Knowledge

The medical industry is highly progressing with lots of researches and new medical technologies that are being introduced nonstop. As a result, there’s a rapid increase of ideas and terms as far medical translation is concerned. To translate or interpret medical terms, you must be updated and always open to changes.

For example, the World Health Organization (WHO) has done its part by creating the International Nonproprietary Name (INN) for chemicals and substances contained in medicines. These are the generic names to be used across the globe. Attempting a translation without the proper knowledge of global updates can be a serious risk.

4. Identifying Your Target Audience


Either you are interpreting to medical personnel or simply translating diagnosis to a patient; you need to translate any medical terminology or prescription correctly. For that, you must identify your audience accordingly. Medical terminologies would work for a medical person like you, while an ordinary person only needs to hear information interpreted in layman’s term.

Being a part of the medical field, it is mandatory that you go beyond the skills and knowledge required. You are in a ground of professionals that help save the lives of many. So to upscale your expertise so that you don’t commit a crucial mistake is already a very noble thing to do.

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