Ensuring accuracy in medical translations

Medical Translations Ambulance

The second instalment of our industry-specific translations blogs focuses around the challenges of translating medical documentation, where any mistake can be life-threatening (dramatic, but true). So within an industry that carries so many risks how can you be assured mistakes will not be made?

Make use of Specialised Human Translators

Human Translations Team

This is key, you must use translators who are experts in the field. Although I’m assuming (and we know what that makes out of me and you, don’t we) I don’t think you would be able to translate the following, to say, French, even if you spoke the language – ‘Anaphylaxis develops in an IgE mediated mechanism confirmed by a positive SPT or elevated IgE’. I, for one don’t and am struggling to understand. This is because I don’t have a background in medicine. It’s pretty straightforward; it is not possible to translate the text accurately if you don’t understand it. You must use a translator you can trust, one with a proven track record in the medical/pharmaceutical industry, appropriate qualifications and the medical experience to go with it. And of course, you knew it was coming, with Dialogue you can be assured that all our medical translators are screened on this basis in their specific fields to ensure you get a perfectly accurate translation every time.

Check the accreditation

Within translation you will find there are many different accreditations which translators hold. When it comes to medical translation this is important; it really demonstrates the translator’s ability to provide accuracy. Dialogue has been awarded accreditation for ISO 17100 translation quality processes and ISO 9001:2015 quality management system, as well as being a member of the Institute of Translation & Interpreting. So what exactly do these accreditations actually mean? Because let’s face it until I was in the industry I didn’t have the slightest idea what they meant. Now, since our expertise at Dialogue lie with ISO accreditation I will be discussing what these mean – try to stay awake! Now, I’m not saying there aren’t other accreditations out there, I am merely saying these are the most important of course!

ISO Translations and Quality Management certification logos

ISO 17100, is the translation quality focused certification. This accreditation sets out a set of requirements for processes, QA, resources and other aspects that one must meet for delivering translation which meets applicable specification. It’s all about demonstrating that we have the ability to deliver a service that will meet the requirements of our clients consistently, reliably and accurately.

ISO 9001 is a strict quality management system the business as a whole must adhere to. This includes ensuring the business provides products and services that meet customers’ and statutory and regulatory requirements. We adhere to this system, because we know and believe it helps us to increase satisfaction for our customers, by sustaining the highest level of quality on a consistent basis.

I hope you didn’t drop off there!

Look out for testimonials

The best way you can be sure of translation quality, is looking out for testimonials. If the biggest players in the medical industry have been pleased with the work of their translator/translation agency, you can be almost certain you will get the desired quality and accuracy you are looking for. Accreditation and experience are one thing, but physical proof of the work a translator has done, well nothing can beat that can it?


Areas of specialism

Areas of specialism - Medical Translations

Finally, this tip may seem a little less obvious and a bit vaguer than the others, but stick with me. A sure sign that a translator is actually an expert in the medical field is if they can list particular areas of specialism within the industry that they hold, which are not necessarily common knowledge. This is just a quick demonstration of the fact that they do actually know what the medical industry encompasses, with all its different divisions, rather than just outlining themselves as a “medical” specialist. As well as this, often the translator will outline the range of medical documentation they have worked on, which will again often demonstrate whether or not they have done work in your specific field. If they do not have an extensive list of this, or your field does not feature, they may not have the experience you required.


We know medical translations can make you a nervous wreck. It’s so difficult to be sure that your translations are going to be carried out the accuracy that you need, that can potentially have a life depend on it. That’s why we hope this blog has helped you identify a few things that can make you feel more confident in your translation provider, of course we ensure we meet all these factors. If you would like to talk some more about medical translations, then feel free to give us a call on +44 1793 513 321 and we would be delighted to have a chat with you, or take a look at our dedicated medical translations web page and see how much it would cost to translate your medical document with confidence. Don’t risk lives – get it done properly.


Medical Translations Testimonial

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