Thursday, November 25, 2021

Medical Translation Vs. Interpretation: How Are They Different?

Credit: via FreePik

Despite the ongoing trend toward globalization in healthcare, some of the biggest challenges facing the medical community today are language barriers. Healthcare may slam to a halt when doctors, technicians, and patients can’t understand each other.

Translation and interpretation are two services that help healthcare practitioners overcome these barriers, but it may not be obvious which one you need. If you aren’t sure how you can elevate your communication on a global stage, here’s a quick guide to the differences between healthcare translation and interpretation.

What is Medical Translation

Medical translation is the process where someone takes a written document and converts it from one language to another. These healthcare documents may include drug data sheets, lab results, patient histories, and brochures. 

These documents tend to contain incredibly sensitive, private, and technical information, so only certified medical translation companies should ever be given this task. 

Only accurate medical translation services can attain globally recognized accreditation, as they go through multiple levels of review to ensure they make faithful translation while following healthcare privacy standards and regulatory compliance.

A healthcare translation service reduces its margin for error by employing professional medical translators with several years of experience in the industry. With this familiarity with the industry, these translators can deftly make the best substitutions when converting technical words, acronyms, and other complicated terminology.

What is Medical Interpretation?

Medical interpretation is a vital step in the healthcare system when two parties don’t speak the same language. An interpreter speaks both languages, so they act as an intermediary between a patient and a physician to communicate what they say to each other.

Healthcare interpreters are professionals with practical experience in the industry, so they surpass friends and family who may be fluent in both languages. This professional experience helps them convey accurate diagnostics, treatment plans, and test results. 

From there, interpretation can be divided into three, highly specific categories:

1. Simultaneous Interpretation

This method interprets conversation in real-time as it unfolds. It’s best for situations when you need to share the spoken word as quickly as possible, like during a physical examination of a patient who doesn’t speak the doctor’s language. 

2. Consecutive Interpretation

When a rapid exchange of information isn’t on the table, you can opt for consecutive interpretation. This method involves a few seconds of delay, during which the interpreter refines the speech to make the most accurate translation.

3. Remote Interpretation

At the start of the pandemic, virtual healthcare and telemedicine usage increased significantly. According to Deloitte research, despite the slow reintroduction of in-person care, many physicians and patients still choose these remote options today. If your event or appointment is unfolding online, an interpretation service can facilitate the live video and audio interpretation remotely. 

The Takeaway:

Long story short, there is one major difference in setting these two industries apart. Whereas medical translation relates to the written word, interpretation deals with speech. Now you know the nuts and bolts behind these two options, you’re in a better position to choose the right service for your needs.

This is a guest blog entry.

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