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Do you have to be a medico to translate medical texts?
Thread poster: WitchDoctor
WitchDoctor
Local time: 22:53
English to Russian
Aug 12, 2008

I've been interested in medicine as long as I can remember. Spent my school years reading Encyclopedia of Therapeutics and Manual of Human Dissection- that sort of stuff..Even worked couple of summers at hospital as a nurse.
However, life circumstances made me enter a linguistic university, so my profession is supposed to be far from medical. But the calling is the calling- you know, it's just a part of you!
I'm obsessed with the idea to become a qualified translator of medical texts. As I'm determined, I know that technically it's not a problem, I can learn anything required. But is it possible to get the recognition- you know, to be considered a REALLY GOOD professional in this area,constantly being compared with practicing doctors?


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xxxPRen
Canada
Local time: 16:53
French to English
+ ...
Well.. Aug 12, 2008

you'd probably have to be more than a "witch doctor"

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James McVay  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:53
Russian to English
+ ...
No Aug 12, 2008

If you can do the work, that's all that matters.

Frankly, I don't see how a practicing doctor has time to also work as a translator, given the short deadlines and the need to constantly monitor e-mail. But that's another matter entirely.

[Edited at 2008-08-12 23:59]


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Steven Capsuto  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 15:53
Spanish to English
+ ...
Don't need to be a doctor Aug 13, 2008

I think a formal biomedical background is more important for medical editors than for translators.

My clients are extremely happy with my work as a medical and pharmaceutical translator and I'm certainly not a doctor. Like you (though to a lesser extent) I am well-read in the field and have enough background to be able to read texts related to whatever I'm translating and understand the main concepts and extract the relevant vocabulary. I think those are the main skills (in additional to general translation skills).

Biomedical texts have become one of my main specialties, which I could hardly have imagined ten years ago.

[Edited at 2008-08-13 05:03]


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WitchDoctor
Local time: 22:53
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you so much! Aug 13, 2008

Your words are really encouraging!
I'll be looking for new customers!:D


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Edwal Rospigliosi  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:53
Member (2004)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Yes, it's possible. Aug 13, 2008

WitchDoctor wrote:
I'm obsessed with the idea to become a qualified translator of medical texts. As I'm determined, I know that technically it's not a problem, I can learn anything required. But is it possible to get the recognition- you know, to be considered a REALLY GOOD professional in this area,constantly being compared with practicing doctors?


Believe me, you won't be compared to practicing doctors. Most of them have neither the time nor the skill to make a good translation. Most of them have atrocious handwriting anyway.

However, I understand the feeling of inadequacy when you're in front of such experts. I've been translating medical texts (and interpreting in medical conferences) for 10 years now, and always felt that I needed something to show them that I was in the field, that I belonged in there.

Last year I finished a 1-year nursing assistant course. So now I "am" in the field. Now I "belong".

The thing is, until now nobody has asked me to show my nursing certificate, nor it has been a factor in getting jobs. But I'm a lot more confident knowing that I have it.


[Editado a las 2008-08-13 10:22]


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WitchDoctor
Local time: 22:53
English to Russian
TOPIC STARTER
Edwal, you saved me! Aug 13, 2008

How lucky I am to have visited PROZ.com! Yesterday I was just desperate- and now I'm holding my dearest dream in my hand!
Btw, concerning hands: I thought "atrocious handwriting" is a distinctive feature of Russian post-Soviet doctors. Hm, it turns out to be a global problem..Nice, that could be useful for translators all over the world;)


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