Translating Prosthetics and Orthotics
Thread poster: elsie suess (X)

elsie suess (X)
Local time: 20:04
+ ...
Feb 22, 2010

Hi everyone! I am recently certified to translate Spanish to English and want to narrow down my career to a specialty. I intended on doing Medical translation as that is the field I have worked in for years and I am very familiar with the terminology, etc. However, the field of medicine I am in is Prosthetics and Orthotics. I know very little about general medicine, so I am thinking that "medical translation" is too broad for my knowledge base.

My question is this: Does anyone know anything about this specialty. I have not found any need for Document Translation in the O&P field as of yet. It would certainly be a good niche to be in if there were a demand. However I believe there would be more demand in English to Spanish as opposed to the reverse.

Anyway, any help or experience would be appreciated. I am very curious to see if this would be a plausible opportunity or not.



Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:04
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
Medical is broad enough Feb 22, 2010

Hi Elsie,

Start by translating package inserts:

A package insert or prescribing information (in Europe, Patient information leaflet for human medicines or Package Leaflet for veterinary medicines) is a document provided along with a prescription medication to provide additional information about that drug. (My copy-paste from Wikipedia.)

Retrieve all bilingual package insert translations you can find. Align those translations and build glossaries. Of course you have colleagues who are specialised in prosthetics and orthotics. Who cares: you specialise in translating package inserts.

During those weeks that you're trying to align Spanish into English and English into Spanish package insert translations, you'll probably discover that the best translations aren't the standard. Once you've discovered that you'll be ready to play the game yourself.

Take it from a commercial translator: market yourself as a general package inserts translator, it's hard enough to live up to those standards already, and improve your offer going from there.

Good luck,


Gerard de Noord  Identity Verified
Local time: 03:04
Member (2003)
German to Dutch
+ ...
I know more about the history of the Netherlands than most translators Feb 22, 2010

Hi Elisie,

I know more about the history of the Netherlands than most translators, but I've always skipped the French period: 1795-1813, I just hate it that we were occupied by foreigners and that we didn't resist.

Technically, I am the best Engish/German/French into Dutch translator to translate any text from that period into Dutch. I thoroughly understand the Dutch words, grammar and state of mind in those years.

I hope I make sense to you,


Local time: 03:04
German to English
Possibly too specialised Feb 23, 2010

As it happens, I'm currently working on a prosthetics and orthotics project for a German company.
My professional background is in bioscience, with a fair amount of interest in general medicine and a large degree of specialised knowledge in immunology, genetics, ecology and veterinary science (among many, many others).
I seriously doubt that it's possible to build up a viable business concentrating only on this field (unless you can prove some genuine practical experience, offer additional services and target end clients only).
The "medical" field is extremely broad and it is up to your own professional judgement to assess whether you can handle any job you are offered.
I regularly turn down jobs if I do not feel 100% comfortable with the subject. I've also been asked to proofread and review translations by competent translators who obviously took on a subject that was entirely beyond them.
My advice: if you have some specific (certified) knowledge/experience in this subject, use it by all means, but don't make yourself dependent on it.
Otherwise, try to research any other subjects that interest you. Niche markets are always a lucrative source of work, just be sure that you really do know your stuff and that you have other subjects to fall back on!


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