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Thread poster: carmelasanchez

Local time: 15:43
English to Spanish
+ ...
Sep 11, 2011

Good afternoon translators.
I am a medical doctor form South American, now finishing my boards in Chicago to be able to practice here. I have done several medical translations "word per word" English-Spanish, of course much time is consumed. With this, I have a very naive questions:
Why some companies ask for software -ie SDL? I tried the try-out version and I found myself editing a large part of the document. I tried Google translate, and itworks much better.
I want to insist in working with translations until I am able to graduate, because it has turned out to be for me very natural, simple and makes a lot of sense. How should I charge for a technical translation as this one?
I have also seen many translators who are medical certified? Is that neded? Where do you do that?
I have very little experience in translation, eventhough the 2 companies that I worked for were very please with my work, but I have all the medical technology under my belt. How do I present myself to a client?

Thanks in advance for your input.

Take care



Piero Intonti  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Italian to English
+ ...
some suggestions Sep 12, 2011

Hi Carmela,
my name is Piero.
I’ll try to give you some advice, based on my brief experience.
It sounds like you are not a proz.com member.
If so, the first step is to subscribe.
The proz. com world is quite confused, at least at the beginning: you have to know all the “site rules”, to present a profile and then you can start to meet some of the “translation offer”. This mean that against an offer or an answer (it depends on the point of view), for example from English to Spanish or Spanish to English which are your linguistic pairs, it starts a sort of selection among the potential candidates, everyone with their own requirements, with their own experience, their information technology knowledge and practice.
As regards the software, I think that Google doesn’t work in this context, because only professional and precise translations are required; TRADOS is nearly a MUST.
As regards the medical certification, I can’t tell you anything.

I hope to have given help to you and you.
Piero Intonti.


Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Local time: 22:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
medical translations Sep 12, 2011

You will find lots of advice about getting started in this forum:
In a nutshell, you need to complete your profile and become a member.

RE: medical certification. Some universities offer MAs in medical translation but that certainly isn't a requirement. Your medical background will prove that you have all the technical know-how in this field.

As far as I can see there are two problems. One is the fact that you have almost no experience and no translation qualification. Almost everyone requires one or the other nowadays. So how can you convince potential clients that you are still the best person to do their job? Upload a sample of your work onto your profile, so at least outsourcers can see that you are an expert in your field. Talk about the work you've done so far (without breaching client confidentiality) to show you have some experience at least. Give details about which medical field you specialise in.

The other problem is about CAT tools (the "SDL" part of your question). While a CAT tool isn't necessary in every field, in medicine it is often a requirement because clients have their own TMs (translation memories) and terminology. The purpose of these tools is not to translate automatically (although some have Google Translate as add-ons), but to build on work that you have already done. If you translate regulatory documents (SPCs, PLs, ADR reports, marketing authorisations etc.) you certainly need a CAT tool.

Last but not least, think carefully about which language pair you are going to offer and which languages you report as your native languages in your profile. I've lived in Spain for 20+ years but I still don't report Spanish as a native language and I never translate into it.

Good luck!


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