Getting experience in area(s) of specialization
Thread poster: Cidália Martins
Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
Oct 7, 2005

I've been reading and digesting a lot of advice from various translator sites, forums, articles, etc. as I contemplate finally taking the plunge and going into freelance translating.

I've read advice regarding getting experience (i.e., on-the-job experience) in whatever area(s) one intends to specialize in, especially if one doesn't specifically have a university degree (which I don't).

Good advice, but I'm wondering how I can fit it into my interest in specializing in medical translation.

I am already nearing completion of a comprehensive course in medical transcription. I plan to seek work as a medical transcriptionist upon completion of the course working from home via the Internet. Other than doing that, and reading a lot of medical texts written in my source languages, is there anything else I should be doing, or can I start doing some translating work (within my skill level and area of expertise, of course)?


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
All right then... Oct 8, 2005

I guess there is nothing more I should be doing.

A question for those of you specializing in medical translation:

How did you gain your knowledge of medical terminology? Did you have a previous career in the medical field? Did you just dive into medical translation head first and take your chances? Special courses?


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Anton Ivanyuk  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 08:57
English to Russian
+ ...
My reply is not going to be very useful... Oct 8, 2005

But I, just like many other medical translators I know (but not all of them), have higher medical eduñation. I still work as a doctor, too, and I'm not going to give it up at future.

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Angela Arnone  Identity Verified
Local time: 08:57
Member (2004)
Italian to English
+ ...
You're not going to give up being a translator or a doctor? Oct 8, 2005

I know that you are not alone.
I wonder why. Is it financial or some other reason?
It puzzles me.
Angela



Anton Ivanyuk wrote:

But I, just like many other medical translators I know (but not all of them), have higher medical eduñation. I still work as a doctor, too, and I'm not going to give it up at future.


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Interesting... Oct 8, 2005

Anton Ivanyuk wrote:

My reply is not going to be very useful...


Well, perhaps I can't apply your methods of medical training to my own situation, as I have no inclination to go to medical school to train to be a doctor, but it is still interesting to hear from others how they came into the business of medical translating.

My training in medical transcription may not constitute "higher learning," but it certainly is medical language intensive. Plus, I get the added bonus of training on the finer points of grammar.

I am always interested to hear from others how they came to do what they do and how they acquired their training or experience.


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Astrid Elke Witte  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 08:57
Member (2002)
German to English
+ ...
Working as a medical secretary is useful Oct 8, 2005

Hi Cidalia,

Working as a medical secretary would be useful - even for only 3 months. I am not a medical translator, I am now a legal translator - however, I would not fare too badly with some medical translations, as I know quite a lot of medical terminology.

Quite a few years ago now, I got a job as a medical secretary in a diabetic clinic. I told them I would be able to pick up the terminology, because I had studied Greek at university, as part of a theology degree, and most medical terminology is Greek.

Working as a secretary in a diabetic clinic would be really good for your purpose, because you would learn a wide range of medical terminology. Diabetic patients have various parts of their body tested, on their visits to the clinic, including their feet and eyes. I really became very familiar with the language, in only 3 months (after which I left the job to travel to Austria).

Of course you cannot start training as a doctor now, in order to be a medical translator, but you could learn so much as a medical secretary - and it might assist your income as well, until you get enough clients.

I presume you could also land a job as a medical secretary without studying Greek first!

Astrid


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
An interesting proposition... Oct 8, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Cidalia,

Working as a medical secretary would be useful - even for only 3 months....

I presume you could also land a job as a medical secretary without studying Greek first!

Astrid


I suppose the same would hold true if I worked as a medical transcription (transcribing dictated medical reports). In my studies as a medical transcriptionist, I am exposed to A LOT of medical terminology in all of the body systems, surgical terms, drugs, etc.

Also, medical terminology has a lot of latin-based terms. I have found my knowledge of Portuguese to be quite useful in learning those.

I do like the idea of working in a clinic though. I have been offered a job in the past by a physician I know who needed some extra help around the office with paperwork and getting his patients set up for their consultation. Perhaps I should seriously look into it.


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Anton Ivanyuk  Identity Verified
Switzerland
Local time: 08:57
English to Russian
+ ...
Neither of them :^) Oct 8, 2005

Angela Arnone wrote:

You're not going to give up being a translator or a doctor?



Neither.

Angela Arnone wrote:

I know that you are not alone.
I wonder why. Is it financial or some other reason?
It puzzles me.
Angela



For me the reason is financial. Translating makes my profit, medicine makes my mission. But if I am ever faced with the choice, I think I will give up translating

Cidalia Martins wrote:

Interesting...



My opinion is that having a reliable manual for every branch of medicine at hand is no less important than any training course of that kind. But I may be wrong. I do not know what such course is like.


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Cidália Martins
English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Just had a thought... Oct 9, 2005

Astrid Elke Johnson wrote:

Hi Cidalia,

Working as a medical secretary would be useful - even for only 3 months....


Seeing as I may be moving to Portugal next year (country of my source language), perhaps I would do well by working in the medical field there, instead of here in Canada. After all, it is in my source language that I need the most practice.

Anton Ivanyuk wrote:

My opinion is that having a reliable manual for every branch of medicine at hand is no less important than any training course of that kind. But I may be wrong. I do not know what such course is like.


If you're referring to reference material (anatomy books, drug books, medical word books, medical dictionaries, etc.), I have quite a lot of those. The course I'm taking involves preparing medical reports from the voice dictations of doctors. It requires familiarity of the different body systems, different branches of medicine, drugs, medical and surgical instruments, and grammar. It also requires knowing how to research.

All in all, it is an excellent course, but I could use some more practice with medical terms in my source language, as I mentioned above.


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