Pages in topic:   [1 2] >
Developing Medical Specialism
Thread poster: Sam Brightbart

Sam Brightbart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
French to English
Sep 18, 2012

Hello,

I am an FR-EN translator and I am interested in developing a medical specialism. I don't have a scientific background as such but I am interested in the domain and willing to put some time and effort into this.

Firstly, do you think this is feasible?

If so, what do you think would be the best way for me to go about it? Obviously, doing lots of reading would be the best place to start, but what would be best to read - academic journals, or are they not that relevant to most of the available work? And after I've done some reading in both languages and tried to translate a few things myself, then what? Should I try to find a medical professional willing to regularly check my translations if I do get into the field?

Thanks in advance for your help and advice.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

dhsanjeev  Identity Verified
India
Local time: 02:13
English to Hindi
+ ...
Getting Medical Knowledge Sep 18, 2012

Hello
First of all start with reading about the systems of the body like respiratory system, muscular system, circulatory system, digestive system etc. This way you will gain knowledge of the body and how the medical science works upon the body. After making a base in this you can further go on with basic surgery, some nursing books and first aid books. That will be helpful in making you complaint with the understanding of medical terminology. After that you can think of translating a medical record. Rest depends upon personal interest.
Regards


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Emma Goldsmith  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 21:43
Member (2010)
Spanish to English
Training options Sep 18, 2012

I think translators who have a background in medicine are at a distinct advantage when it comes to medical translations, but I also know translators who have become proficient by specialising on their own, so, yes, I think it's possible.

I see you already have an MA in translation, so maybe doing another MA specifically in Medical Translation would be an exaggeration, but I think it would be highly relevant. I don't know about Fr>En, but in Es>En there are several distance courses in Spain, such as this one:
http://www.tradmed.uji.es/master/seccio.php?idseccio=10

In the meantime, you might be interested in the free on-line courses that Coursera organises. There's a 12-week one on Introductory Human Physiology that starts in January, and you get a certificate on completion, although of course a Coursera certificate is of very limited value.
However, it might be just the right sort of course to take to see if you're really interested in medicine. Here's the link to the Introductory Human Physiology course:
https://www.coursera.org/course/humanphysio

I'm doing a statistics course at the moment through Coursera and it's very interesting, and very relevant to the field of clinical trials in medicine. I wrote about it in a blog post called "Statistics for Translators":
http://traductormedicina.wordpress.com/2012/08/30/statistics/

MITIO also offers an online medical translation programme:
http://www.mitio.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=21&Itemid=17
but I've got no idea how serious it is, as the website looks quite "glossy". It seems to offer other languages apart from Spanish.

HTH,
Emma


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPLR TRADUZIO  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:43
English to French
+ ...
No ! Sep 18, 2012

Sorry to be so cruel, but IMHO and after more 20 years in this business, my answer is "no" !
I don't think any readings may substitute an MD or a PhD; not even a 12 months course.
As well, a translator without "legal background" cannot accurately translate legal documents.
If you read Kudows, you’ll find out how non “real” medical translators are able to make dramatic mistakes.
Also please consider that many agencies, and even more “direct client”, ask for physicians/biologists/pharmacists to specifically translate medical documents.
Good luck anyway.


[Edited at 2012-09-18 12:26 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 04:43
Chinese to English
Competing with doctors/ex-doctors Sep 18, 2012

I'm a bit dubious as to whether the return on effort would be worth it. The good medical translators that I've worked with have generally had medical training - often they're doctors or ex-doctors. That's a lot of experience and knowledge that you have to compete with.

To work really well in a specialist area, you have to actually know a bit about it. Google can help you fake terminology, but there's a core of conceptual knowledge that you really can't do without. If you want to do medical, first read the textbooks and assimilate some basic concepts. Then read the kind of materials you want to translate, and see if you're understanding them. Rinse and repeat.

One point worth considering: "medical" is a very broad church. It can cover everything from prescriptions to scrawled medical records to advertisements to research papers. Some of these are easier than others. Personally, I would never touch anything which related to the healthcare of a specific individual - it's too hard, and the potential consequences are way too serious for someone who doesn't know what he's doing. But I have done some stuff on pharmaceutical research. You can pick and choose.


Direct link Reply with quote
 
xxxPLR TRADUZIO  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:43
English to French
+ ...
Also check this forum: Sep 18, 2012

http://www.proz.com/forum/medical/228910-are_general_translators_capable_of_translating_highly_specialized_medical_texts.html

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sam Brightbart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Sep 18, 2012

Thanks to everyone for their valuable input. People do seem quite divided on this topic, but your points about having understanding of the subject and considering different types of text are important. I definitely take on board your point, Phil, about avoiding anything for which a mistake would be too costly. I'm going to keep mulling this over for a while longer, I think. Thanks, also, to Emma for your training course recommendations.

Phil: what kind of medical texts specifically do you think could be more feasible?


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 04:43
Chinese to English
Publication/non-publication Sep 18, 2012

There's a big gap between documents that have been through an editing process and those that haven't. Research papers are by their nature designed to be explicit and clear, so that helps - but they are also by their nature on the cutting edge of medical knowledge, so you have to know your stuff. Educational materials are obviously a translator's dream - but they often want very authoritative people to write and translate them.

Medical marketing texts are generally less technical (and might benefit from being translated by someone who's a good writer).


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sam Brightbart  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 20:43
French to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks Sep 18, 2012

Great, thanks, Phil.

Direct link Reply with quote
 

Siegfried Armbruster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 21:43
Member (2004)
English to German
+ ...
Go for it if you are prepared to invest time in your education Sep 18, 2012

I don't see any reason why you should not be able to become quite a good medical translator. I have seen various translators with no or extremly limited medical background who became experienced medical translators. It will take a lot of work and you will have to invest a lot of time, but it is definitely possible.


[Edited at 2012-09-18 13:56 GMT]


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Sabine Akabayov, PhD
Israel
Local time: 22:43
Member (2011)
English to German
+ ...
I agree with Siegfried Sep 18, 2012

If you invest time and effort you can definitely become a good medical translator.
Academic journals are very advanced and I would start with general books for medical education. Get a good anatomy atlas (Thieme has a good one), Gray's anatomy etc.
There are some great apps for the Ipad/Iphone for medical students.
If you can, listen to lectures for medical students at your local university (biology, chemistry also helps).
Take an online class for medical translation.
I took the German-English one at NYU for the translation certificate. There is also a French-English one:
http://www.scps.nyu.edu/academics/departments/foreign-languages/academic-offerings/noncredit/certificate-in-translation.html
It will help you to understand where you stand and what you need to learn.
Also, start translating easier medical texts (texts for the general public, surveys, etc) and take on more difficult texts later.

Good luck!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Christine Andersen  Identity Verified
Denmark
Local time: 21:43
Member (2003)
Danish to English
+ ...
Translation and practising medicine are very different jobs Oct 11, 2012

Just as monolingual medically trained people may be excellent at their jobs, but unable to translate, a translator can learn the necessary terminology and acquire the background knowledge to translate without actually being qualified to practise in the medical field.

You don't have to have the manual dexterity of a surgeon to translate texts about surgery.

A translator does not need to know enough about medicines to be able to prescribe them for individual patients, though an understanding of what they are prescribed for and why is definitely advisable.

You must be able to read and understand the literature in both languages. You can start with information to patients, and other texts written for non-experts, and read up on the background for them.

You DO need to be a competent linguist in both languages, and understand the genres and registers involved. You must be able to catch homonyms and false friends - that is the translator's business, but not necessarily a medical qualification!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

IrimiConsulting  Identity Verified
Sweden
Local time: 21:43
Member (2006)
English to Swedish
+ ...
A specific example: Me Oct 11, 2012

I specialise in medical and life sciences translation. I don't hold a degree in either subjects ("only" a master's degree in computer linguistics). However, before jumping on the linguistic bandwagon I took about 1,5 years worth of courses in pharmaceutics, chemistry, physiology and biochemistry, and I am married to an MD who has helped me with queries and proofreading on numerous occasions. I also worked as a technical writer in the life sciences industry for a year and a half.

I have learned enough to translate most texts well, be it surgical instruments or devices for analysis. I know my limits and try to learn something from each assignment, and I always keep a lookout for good sources on medical terminology.

I have been stumped in some cases, but TBH not that many. The majority of those cases have been at least in part due to ambiguous or unclear source text.

I don't believe you must be an MD or a nurse in order to be a good medical translator, but 6-12 months worth of courses in cell biology, physiology and basic anatomy will help immensely. Add any courses for specialized equipment and you're set most of the time.


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Ricardy Ricot  Identity Verified
Local time: 15:43
French to English
+ ...
It's about the passion Nov 6, 2012

Hello, Sam. If you are truly passionate about it, then yes, it is possible. It will take a lot of effort and study however. After you master basic scientific knowledge, such as basic biology, I recommend you read medical textbooks and familiarize yourself with different types of procedures (surgical or not) and equipments. I suggest you read about internal medicine. That will provide you with a general knowledge of the medical field. You should also find yourself some glossaries specialized in the field. Proz.com has some for members. Moreover, you can also consider volunteering at an hospital, healthcare facility or Red Cross. It doesn't have to be in patient care. This will give you some hands on experience and you will hear all the time the medical terms you will find in your translation projects. That would also be a good occasion to socialize with experts in the medical industry.

Hope that helps,

Ricardy

PS: PLR is too harsh Listen to Emma Believe in yourself, Sam!


Direct link Reply with quote
 

Fiona Grace Peterson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 21:43
Member
Italian to English
JAT article Dec 31, 2012

This article might be of interest

http://jat.org/articles/show/how-to-become-established-as-a-medical-translator


Direct link Reply with quote
 
Pages in topic:   [1 2] >


To report site rules violations or get help, contact a site moderator:


You can also contact site staff by submitting a support request »

Developing Medical Specialism

Advanced search







TM-Town
Manage your TMs and Terms ... and boost your translation business

Are you ready for something fresh in the industry? TM-Town is a unique new site for you -- the freelance translator -- to store, manage and share translation memories (TMs) and glossaries...and potentially meet new clients on the basis of your prior work.

More info »
LSP.expert
You’re a freelance translator? LSP.expert helps you manage your daily translation jobs. It’s easy, fast and secure.

How about you start tracking translation jobs and sending invoices in minutes? You can also manage your clients and generate reports about your business activities. So you always keep a clear view on your planning, AND you get a free 30 day trial period!

More info »



Forums
  • All of ProZ.com
  • Term search
  • Jobs
  • Forums
  • Multiple search