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What is the difference between medical translation and medical device translation?

Published on 05/01/2021

If there is one field that requires particularly advanced translation skills, it is medicine.

Inaccurate or incorrect translations are absolutely unthinkable, given the human or legal consequences they could entail.

It is therefore essential that medical translations are translations translations are carried out by specialised translators and that these translators have the corresponding technical knowledge in the case of translations of medical devices (or medical devices).

1. Medical translations: an ultra-specialized field

Medical translations an ultra-specialized field

Medicine is a science that encompasses a large number of disciplines. Each discipline is represented by the respective professionals: specialised doctors, radiologists, pharmacists, etc.

The translation of a medical document for a particular discipline implies that the translator, in addition to having a perfect command of the two languages involved, must also have specific medical training.

This explains why it is sometimes difficult to find competent translators for medical translations.

2. Lexical Differences in Medical Translation

Lexical Differences in Medical Translation

Although related, medical translations vary greatly from translations relating to medical devices (or medical devices) for the simple fact that the lexical field used is not the same.

You would not write a clinical report or medical questionnaire using the same vocabulary as a respirator instruction booklet, for example.

Malcom Marsh, a translator specialising in medical translation, is the author of an article available on the website of the Centro Virtual Cervantes entitled "Some considerations on medical translation" in which he identifies a series of specificities that arise in this field.

A medical translation assumes that the translator has sufficient knowledge of general medicine and ideally of a specific field within the medical field.

A translation concerning a medical device (or medical device) implies that the translator knows how to use the equipment and understands how it works.

3. What do we mean when we talk about translation of medical devices?

What do we mean when we talk about translation of medical devices?

Although the definition varies slightly from country to country, a medical device is a device used for medical purposes in humans. There is extensive legislation for medical devices that regulates the translation of medical devices.

Some are classified as high-risk devices (cardiovascular devices, implants, etc.) and others as low-risk devices, such as prescription glasses.

As in pharmaceutical translation, the translation of medical devices includes labelling that must accurately reflect the specifications in the original language.

It should be noted that mobile medical software or applications (for diagnosis or health recommendations for example) are considered to be medical devices.

This is particularly important for translations, as they must follow the same rules that apply for other medical devices.

4. Reference standards for the translation of medical devices

Reference standards for the translation of medical devices

The combination of two standards, ISO 13485 for medical devices and ISO 17100 for translation agency requirements, guarantees the quality of translations of these medical devices.

Legislation in many countries also requires translation of imported medical devices into the local language, so quality assurance is required.

The best translation agencies that offer medical translation services have these quality certifications.

Virginia Pacheco's picture
Virginia Pacheco

Blog writer and Community Manager interested in multiculturality and linguistic diversity. From her native Venuzuela, she has travelled and lived for many years in France, Germany, Cameroon and Spain, passing on her passion for writing and her intercultural experiences.

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