Medical text translation has been in practice for years now. The medical language is tough and complex that only language professionals can confront it. They have to come across multiple challenges. There are new viruses and diseases every other day. Therefore, medical researchers and scientists are always working on new medicine formulas, diseases, therapies, and drugs. These all requirements call for a continuous ongoing search. This industry has been the most challenging with the medical terminology itself a big challenge. Medical terminology has a load of technical terms, complex words, and signs and medical translation has its different demands. 

Professional medical terminology translation services face many challenges. They need to pay special attention to accuracy considering the critical nature of the medical content. According to doctors and medical linguists, medical translators should follow certain principles for convenient medical translation. 

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Let’s find out a few basic terminology translation principles for a better process.

1. Working on the target audience

When it comes to medical terminology translation services, it gets crucial for translators they know who is their target audience. The medical companies and the clients should work on it. They should sit with their translation vendor and a team of translators they are going to work with. They need to exchange a few ideas and also work on the target audience. The translators need to know the intended audience for which the translation is being carried out. Medical documents that require translation for the medical fraternity can contain complex medical terms with a broader and heterogeneous audience. However, for medical documents that require translation for a simpler audience, the medical terminology needs to be simple for the patients and other audiences. The complex data makes the patient keep in the dark and he feels poorly informed.

Therefore for the patients, it needs to be kept simple.

  • A negative lab result is a condition that a layman can comprehend easily. It tells him that the tests are normal.
  • NO LVH tells a layman that his left ventricle of the heart is working fine and there is no thickness.
  • A thrombus tells about a blood clot in the body.


2. Polysemy and false friends

The second principle of translating medical terminology talks about polysemy. Many languages have similar words that share identical and similar morphology which can have different meanings and significances. The medical text is tough to handle in one language and navigate through the complex terms, however, it gets even more tough while working on medical and scientific translation service from one language to another. This situation makes things challenging for people because they have to struggle with where two words apparently may look similar but carry different meanings. These are false friends. In the medical backdrop, it is challenging for translators to deal with false friends as these turn out to be huge threats. These can lead to misunderstanding and can have dreadful consequences.


The next principle to follow for professional medical translation services are eponyms. It is quite common in the medical field that there are diseases and syndromes which are named after persons, devices, and techniques of the person who had a major impact. It could be a development, discovery, or creation. This is what an eponym is and these go through the translation quite smoothly.

A few examples include

  • Parkinson’s (a syndrome and disease)
  • Alzheimer’s (Disease, dementia)
  • Asperger’s syndrome
  • Huntington’s disease

4.Staying up to date

Staying up to date with online medical translation services and other medical texts is extremely vital. As the world health organization quotes, hundreds of new medical terms are coined in medical terminology every year. This strikes a great challenge for medical experts and language professionals. Medical translators as well as interpreters have to keep up with the latest happenings in the medical industry. They can subscribe to journals, can have medical dictionaries in their apps, and can check medical terminology databases, and can consult with professionals when there are doubts.

5. Trusting experts only

Translation of medical terminology is a complex and draining task. However, it is not an impossible task and is doable. It asks for the experience, technical knowledge, and the right terminology, in order to guarantee consistency and accuracy in the medical content. Moreover, storing and maintaining the medical term base can be a time-consuming task. This is what makes it evident that the hospitals, HMOs, organizations, and medical associations in the medical and pharmaceutical industry collaborate with third parties to choose the right and competent language service providers. Thus, while choosing the language partner it is important to check the background of the translation agency. This way the medical terminology translation can be aced by following these principles.


Medical terminology translation is a complex and draining task. Medical translators should ensure that they know the basic principles to translate the medical text effectively. They should know their target audience, understand the terms polysemy and false friends, should know the techniques to cater to eponyms, and should only rely on experts for medical translation. Moreover, medical translators should keep up with the recent developments in the medical field. 


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