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Medical translation is the practice of translating various documents—training materials, medical bulletins, drug data sheets, etc.—for health care, medical devices, marketing, or for clinical, regulatory, and technical documentation. Most countries require that companies and organizations translate literature and labeling for medical devices or pharmaceuticals into their national language. Documents for clinical trials often require translation for local clinicians, patients, and regulatory representatives. Regulatory approval submissions typically must be translated. In addition to linguistic skills, medical translation requires specific training and subject matter knowledge because of the highly technical, sensitive, and regulated nature of medical texts.
Medical translation steps can include:
Translation agencies may oversee both project management and linguistic aspects.
The life and death nature of medical texts mandates a strong emphasis on translation quality. The international medical industry is highly regulated, and companies who must translate documentation typically choose translation agencies certified or compliant with one or more of the following standards:
Because of the high amounts of specificities, regulations, and challenges in the field of medical translation, some specialized translation companies have emerged who deal with medical translations exclusively. Some of these companies have hired medical practitioners to supervise the translation process.