I was scrolling through my TV channel lineup this past weekend and I realized that there were about 1000 channels to choose from! I remember as a child when 20-30 channels were a lot back when cable television was in its infancy. Still, to my dismay, I couldn’t find a program in which I was interested and ended up leaving on the Spanish station “Telemundo” as I fixed myself a bite to eat. I chuckled as I heard a Snickers commercial playing as the narrator was communicating everything in Spanish but the product, Snickers, was spoken “Snickers”. An interesting thought came to mind as I considered linguistics, translations, and the medical industry. Mind you, I was not thrilled that work popped into my head during a lazy Sunday; however, I made a pretty good observation I thought I would share with you.
When considering translations for the medical products industry, one really needs to select a translation partner that can translate everything, including the all-important medical terminology translation, or else end up like “Snickers” in the commercial I described. Now, I realize that “Snickers” in Spanish, because it is a brand name and has no Spanish form, is “Snickers”; however, the name sticks out like a sore thumb amongst the other Spanish vernacular. In some instances, a medical term may be the same in multiple languages, but you better be sure that this is the case or else risk your credibility, liability and regulatory compliance. Often, there is an industry accepted translation for medical terminology that is required. You run a greater risk of incorrectly translating your medical terminology by working with a translation provider that does not have the necessary medical industry experience or who cannot guarantee that your projects will be translated by certified medical translators.
Here are a few helpful guidelines to help you choose a qualified medical translation partner:
- The translation company you are considering uses only certified, in-country medical translators with either a medical degree or years of proven translation experience in your field. Ask to see sample bios of the translators who will be used for your project
- The translation company you are considering has achieved the proper EN and ISO- certifications which are applicable to the medical industry and ask to see copies of these ISO and EN certificates.
- The translation company you are considering accepts your glossaries of commonly used terms to ensure that your terminology is translated consistently to your preferences.
- The translation company you are considering issues you a Certificate of Conformity certifying:
- Each final translation delivered to be substantially true, complete and accurate to the source language original received.
- That the project was managed from a facility certified to all the ISO standards you are requesting or were told this facility holds.
- The translation company you are considering has routine testing and performance reviews for its in-country translators ensuring that translators are rigorously tested regarding their translation proficiency and knowledge of medical industry terminology.