Are you multi-lingual or even bi-lingual? Do you have a background in medicine or science, or even basic knowledge of anatomy and physiology?

With the medical sector growing rapidly in the past ten years, coupled with the fact that the ever-expanding translation industry is proving to be practically recession proof, there’s no better time than the present to look into a medical translation career.

Medical translators and interpreters (sometimes referred to as healthcare interpreters and translators) are currently in high demand. They often work within clinics and hospitals, or for third-party translation companies to facilitate communication between patients, family members, nurses, doctors, specialists, administrators and other medical staff. They’re responsible for converting documents, patient files, brochures, marketing material, policy statements and even prescription labels into the target language.

Medical terminology is the key area in which translators need to be comfortable when breaking into this industry. Similar to technical and legal translations, medical-specific jargon or phrases can have alternative meanings in the target language that stray outside the boundaries of the literal word-for-word translation. This is where in-depth knowledge of the target language combined with any medical experience gained is invaluable. However, these aren’t the only skills that need to be honed for this rewarding career path.

There’s not much point in blowing your readers away with brilliantly translated medical documents if the simple translations get lost in the translator’s expertise. Be wary of using specialized medical vocabulary with packaging labels, pamphlets and instructional material if the target audience isn’t familiar with high-level medical terms, as they will quickly become overwhelmed and confused. Translators are always riding a thin line between using proper medical terminology and ensuring target audience comprehension.

The future is bright for anyone who can say “yes” to the opening questions in this post. The demand for medical translators in the United States and the UK is expected to increase by 10% over the next five years. Whether you see yourself working in the field, independently or for a translation company, medical translation continues to be in high demand and proves to be a rewarding and challenging career choice.



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