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How Medical Translation Services Can Save Lives

by Tracy Finke

Medical service provision relies heavily on communication. For this reason, medical translation services ensure a smooth flow of communication. The services come in handy whenever a language barrier occurs during any services provision process.

Medical translation does not apply to the patient-doctor relationship only. It also applies to research, funding, new drug development, and new device development. Also, the need for translators continues to rise in proportion to globalization.

Healthcare stakeholders are increasingly collaborating. The existing networking platforms increased the availability of information, and global outbreaks are some reasons for healthcare collaboration. For these reasons, translation in the industry has become a necessity.

So, medical facilities have to invest in translators to align with the changing field. This move will enable a facility to remain relevant in the industry. Also, the move will save more lives.

How much do you know about medical translation? Before we discuss how translation can help save lives, let us explore some of the things you need to know.

Definition of Medical Translation

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It refers to the art of converting healthcare communication content from one language to another language. The content can either be verbal or written. The interpretation covers the regulatory, technical, marketing, and clinical verbal communication, software, documentation, or curriculum.

Whenever translators do their work perfectly, the beneficiaries of the services rarely notice the impact of the translation process. However, the following are some of the areas that interpretation impacts:

  • Instructions
  • Patient records
  • Item labels
  • Research papers
  • Clinical trial findings
  • Local regulations
  • Marketing materials
  • Website translations
  • Travel health warnings and advice
  • Training materials

A question arises as to why medical interpretation differs from normal communication. One of the reasons for the variance is that translators must have a background. This skill should add to their linguistic skills.

Notably, the field has sensitive and technical information. For this reason, translators must understand the terminologies.

Saving Lives Using Medical Translation

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According to Eurolingo, medical interpretation is a fundamental pillar of saving lives medically. The following are some of the ways that this service reduces human mortality:

Helping Patients Understand Their Prescriptions

One of the benefits of translation is to help patients understand their medications. It enables patients to understand the medication dosage, frequency, and side effects.

Translation also enables healthcare professionals to identify the drugs that a patient requires. Sometimes, a patient can be under a referral. In such a scenario, translation can help a pharmacist understand the language of the patient and the referring doctor.

Helping to Reduce Errors

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Medical translation requires precision. A translator should never add, delete, omit, or substitute any information during a translation. Any error that arises during the translation process results in consequences that affect medics and consumers of the information.

Notably, patients require a record of complete and accurate information regarding their condition. If any error occurs, it can lead to a misdiagnosis. Also, it can lead to unnecessary consumption because it can take longer to treat the patient.

If errors occur in the prescription process, it can lead to an intake of life-threatening medication. Also, it can result in delayed recovery because the patient has to seek more services.

Facilitating Approvals

The pharmaceutical industry relies heavily on translation. The translators ensure that any imported medicine and equipment carry accurate information. So, they have to check and recheck the labels on the imported packages.

Notably, labels of any package follow specific standards. The packages should have storage instructions, recommended dosage, warning on side effects, and emergency advice, among other information.

Medical translators help to convert the information on any imported medicine and equipment into a local or understandable language. This move facilitates approval from the appropriate authorities.

Facilitating Research

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It takes research to identify a viable intervention to a new or existing condition or situation. If such a condition requires foreign research assistance, local translators should work with foreign researchers to get information from the affected community.

Medical translation also facilitates foreign intervention that can improve an existing situation. For example, it calls for translators to assist foreign researchers to improve existing interventions in a foreign country.

In other words, translation comes in handy whenever there is a need to apply for foreign assistance in a local region. Such a situation may arise when only foreign researchers can find a solution to a local situation.

Improving Patient Care

Medical translation facilitates the maintenance of accurate patient records. Some of the information you can find in the records is the patient history. Translation enables a physician to understand the needs of a patient. In return, there is high accuracy in the administration of interventions.

The interpretation of information also helps a doctor inquire more information from a patient. In return, a doctor spends more time with the patient. This move facilitates provision of comprehensive services that address patient needs holistically.

Increasing Efficiency in Service Provision

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Doctors can attend to many patients when they employ interpretation. Often, doctors waste time deciphering patient information that they do not understand. However, interpretation can facilitate a quick understanding of the information. In return, a doctor can spend reasonable time with a patient constructively.

If doctors wait for onsite translators, they can take too much time on one patient. However, the use of interpretation technology can increase efficiency. This technology is readily available regardless of the language that a patient uses.

If a medical facility increases its patient turnover because of increased efficiency, it can get funding to expand its capacity. Such a move translates to better equipment and services to patients. The credit for improved services can go to the interpretation services.

Facilitating Accurate Training Materials

Training doctors and future medics rely on training materials, such as journals, to perfect their art. If the materials are in a foreign language, the trainees cannot capture unique findings from the materials. In return, they can operate at a low potential.

Also, erroneous journals and other training materials have long-term consequences on their information consumers. There is a high likelihood of trainees performing errors because of the acquisition of wrong information during their training. It takes translation to identify the errors and correct them accordingly.

Providing Medical Care to Foreigners

Almost every country has foreign speakers, who can be tourists, workers, or residents. This set of people requires care similar to the locals. If they do not get medical care, they can lose their lives or develop long-term complications.

Equality and ethics dictate that foreigners should get medical attention similar to the locals. For this reason, there is a need for localization in the provision of services. These services facilitate saving the lives of foreigners at any time of the day.

Operating Medical Equipment Efficiently

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It is hard to find emergency response departments without imported equipment. A question arises on the operation efficiency of such equipment. Notably, such equipment bears manuals written in a foreign language. So, these manuals require interpretation.

Failure to translate medical equipment manuals leads to a lack of skills necessary for some equipment operations. In return, a facility with medics who do not know how to operate imported equipment puts its patients a risk.

For example, ICU equipment requires precise operation and interpretation of their data. A patient in ICU requires special attention, given that their life is at stake. It takes medical interpretation to ensure that the medics operating such machines apply the required skills.

The Bottom Line

Medical interpretation is a requisite for high-quality service provision. Localization services in a hospital are must-to-have services. So, it is not optional for a facility to either have onsite translators or interpretation technology that helps it promote life at all levels.

Medical facilities require high-quality localization services, given the sensitivity of services. Any error, omission, or substitution of information can lead to life-threatening consequences. For this reason, every facility has to invest in quality interpretation services. Failure to do so leads to loss of lives, resources, time, reputation, and sustainability of a facility.

The translation should have 100% accuracy. Various reasons back the need for high-level accuracy in localization, including the following reasons:

  • Errors are unacceptable in the industry.
  • Erroneous interpretation can lead to death.
  • Wrong information localization creates legal risk.
  • Inappropriate interpretation results in delayed or canceled approval.
  • Faultless research depends on the accuracy of interpretation.

Every medical stakeholder should understand that accurate localization is crucial in saving lives. Also, they should know how to identify high-quality translators and avoid quacks. Remember, uncompromised precision is fundamental in interpretation. So, health stakeholders should do all it takes to secure high-quality healthcare translation services.