Accurate Results With Medical Document Translation Services

In an increasingly globalized world where healthcare professionals and patients interact across linguistic and cultural borders, the need for accurate medical translation services has never been more vital. As a matter of fact, effective communication in the healthcare industry is crucial not just for providing the best possible care to patients, but also for avoiding costly errors and ensuring regulatory compliance.

But how do medical translation services navigate the complexities of medical terminology, language barriers, and the specialized knowledge required for accurate translations? In this article we discover the intricacies of medical document translation and its importance in the world of healthcare.

Short Summary

  • Medical document translation requires qualified personnel to guarantee patient safety and quality of care.

  • Professional medical translation services ensure accuracy, uniformity, and compliance with healthcare regulations.

  • Pfizer's successful partnership with SYSTRAN highlights the importance of selecting a professional service provider for accurate communication.

Understanding Medical Document Translation

Medical document translation is a highly specialized field that calls for translators with expertise in the medical domain and relevant experience. Why is it essential? For one, it guarantees the wellbeing and safety of patients, especially for those with limited English proficiency. Moreover, it helps prevent damaging and costly errors while ensuring the highest quality of care.

The process of medical document translation involves highly qualified translators with pertinent medical knowledge and experience, translating medical texts and documents into another language, followed by a thorough review by a medical linguist to ensure accuracy.

The advantages of medical document translation include providing vital information to patients, such as informed consent, enhanced translation quality, and the use of verification systems for all translations.

Types of Medical Documents for Translation

medical-translationMedical translation services cater to a variety of documents, each with its own set of complexities and requirements. Some of the most common types of medical documents that require translation include patient records, clinical trials, medical device manuals, and pharmaceutical labels.

Let us delve into each of these categories to better understand their significance in the medical translation landscape.

Patient Records

Patient records refer to documents that store critical information about a patient's medical history, clinical findings, diagnostic test results, pre and postoperative care, patient progress, medication, and other pertinent details. The primary objective of patient records is to provide a comprehensive and accurate portrayal of the patient's medical history.

Accuracy in patient records is integral to delivering quality healthcare and ensuring patient safety. Furthermore, these records are indispensable for research and medical studies, as well as for legal and regulatory compliance.

Clinical Trials

Clinical trials are medical studies designed to evaluate the safety and efficacy of potential treatments or interventions in human subjects. These studies play a crucial role in the advancement of new medications and medical devices.

SYSTRAN has built a variety of translation engines based on medical document translation. This AI enabled translation system works very accurately for a wide range of medical research content, including clinical protocols, studies and patient consent forms. Ensuring accurate and culturally appropriate translations for clinical trials is essential to maintaining the integrity of the research and protecting patient safety.

Medical Device Manuals

Medical device manuals are documents that provide instructions on how to use, maintain, troubleshoot, and ensure safety when operating medical devices. These documents may also include information on diagnostic procedures, installation instructions, and usage scenarios.

Machine translation for medical device manufacturers is broadly seen as essential (especially with machine translation post editing), as medical devices must often be exported to foreign nations and require translation for both patients and medical practitioners. Medical device manuals, Instructions for Use (IFUs), and clinical trial documents, such as Informed Consents and clinical protocols, require frequent updating, an application tailor-made for machine translation software.

Pharmaceutical Labels

Pharmaceutical labels are labels affixed to pharmaceutical products that provide essential information, such as product name, purpose, dosage and use instructions, drug facts, active and inactive ingredients, potential side effects, warnings, and more. Accurate pharmaceutical labels are critical to ensuring the safe and effective use of the product.

Challenges associated with translating pharmaceutical labels include guaranteeing accuracy and uniformity of the translation, as well as adhering to regulatory standards. Professional medical translation services, but also machine translators with healthcare engines, can guarantee accuracy and uniformity in the translation of pharmaceutical labels, as well as ensure that the translation meets regulatory requirements.

The Medical Translation Process

doctor-with-stethoscopeThe medical translation process is an intricate endeavor that involves understanding the source material, selecting the right translator, and ensuring accuracy and quality. Each medical translation is accompanied by a certificate of accuracy, which is a signed statement verifying the precision of the translation.

Translation memories, a tool utilized by SYSTRAN, optimizes existing translations for increased linguistic uniformity, cost efficiency, and expedited delivery. Medical translators, in some cases, possess advanced training in medicine, and clinical validation of medical documents involves verification by licensed Medical Doctors.

Importance of Certified Medical Translators

Certified medical translators are often asked for, but are not required to guarantee precision and adherence to regulations. In many cases, neural machine translation, or NMT, provides strong technical precision in medical translation to ensure accuracy and meet regulatory requirements. Obtaining a certified translation of medical records serves to ensure an accurate representation of the original medical records in another language.

By entrusting the translation of medical documents to secure, quality machine translation software like SYSTRAN SPNS, healthcare providers can ensure that their communication with patients and other stakeholders is accurate, clear, and complies with regulatory standards.

Challenges in Medical Document Translation

nurse-in-frontTranslating medical documents is no easy task, as it poses several challenges. These include accurately translating complex medical terminology, managing sensitive information, and guaranteeing that the translation is suitable for the intended audience. Language barriers may arise due to the complexity of the language used, the necessity to accurately translate medical terminology, and the requirement to ensure that the translation is appropriate for the intended audience.

Additionally, cultural considerations must be taken into account to accurately convey medical information and ensure its appropriateness for the target audience. Technical terminology may also pose difficulties due to the sophisticated language used in medical documents.

Ensuring Quality and Accuracy in Medical Translation

To ensure quality and accuracy in medical translation, certain methods are employed, such as back-translation, proofreading, and certification. One of the easiest quality tests for SYSTRAN translation is back-translation, which involves translating a document back into its original language to guarantee accuracy. Meanwhile, proofreading entails examining a document for errors. 

By employing these methods, professional medical translation services can minimize errors and maintain consistency across translated medical documents. Ultimately, ensuring quality and accuracy in medical translation helps protect patient safety, maintain compliance with regulations, and promote clear communication between healthcare providers and their patients.

Benefits of Professional Medical Translation Services

Utilizing professional medical translation services can yield numerous advantages, although when compared with machine translation, cost savings and improved efficiency, are not advantages. For instance, SYSTRAN may translate words at a negligible cost (like a tiny fraction of a cent per word), whereas many of these translation services may charge anywhere from 10 cents to $2 per word. These services also take upwards of a day per page, whereas AI translation from SYSTRAN can translate these same pages in a matter of seconds. 

In effect, AI enabled translation systems like SYSTRAN leverage AI and machine learning to provide faster and more efficient services. By ensuring complete accuracy and quality in their translations, and applying their knowledge of linguistics and the life sciences industry, professional medical translation providers that use SYSTRAN can help healthcare organizations effectively communicate with patients and other stakeholders across linguistic and cultural barriers.

Medical Translation and Regulatory Compliance

Medical translation plays a significant role in ensuring regulatory compliance, as it enables accurate communication between healthcare providers and patients who speak different languages. Medical translators must possess an understanding of the regulations and standards in the medical field to guarantee that all documents are accurately translated and in compliance with these regulations.

Ensuring regulatory compliance in medical translation is not only essential for patient safety and protection, but also for avoiding costly mistakes and legal issues. As such, many professional medical translation services make claims that their accurate and compliant translations are the only medical translations that can be trusted. As a language translation software provider with 55 years of experience, we have many clients that prove this agency-created concept to be incorrect.

Choosing the Right Medical Translation Service Provider or System

doctor-thumbs-upSelecting the right medical translation service provider, or machine translation system requires thorough research and comparison of services, and pricing. Companies may claim medical industry experience by noting that they work with regulatory authorities, such as the China NMPA (formerly CFDA and SFDA). This is rarely an important claim, as even a language services company with a presence in key markets will not necessarily ensure that medical translation requirements are met effectively and efficiently any better than a healthcare employee with a strong MT system.

By choosing the right medical translation service provider, or instead a lower cost machine translation software provider, healthcare organizations can ensure accurate communication, maintain regulatory compliance, and ultimately, provide the best possible care to their patients.

Case Study: Successful Medical Document Translation

To illustrate the importance of accurate medical document translation, consider this case study involving a global pharmaceutical company and a professional medical translation service provider. SYSTRAN, the translation system provider, constructed a multilingual medical dictionary for Pfizer, one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies. The purpose of this dictionary was to provide medical translators and professionals with standardized translations of technical terms accepted by international regulatory authorities.

This case study demonstrates the successful collaboration between a pharmaceutical company and a professional medical translation software provider, resulting in accurate and compliant translations that facilitate clear communication across linguistic and cultural barriers.


In conclusion, accurate medical document translation is an essential component of the healthcare industry, ensuring effective communication between healthcare providers and patients, as well as compliance with regulatory standards.

Navigating the complexities of medical terminology, language barriers, and specialized knowledge requires the expertise of certified medical translators and professional medical translation services. By investing in accurate and compliant medical translations, healthcare organizations can safeguard patient safety, maintain regulatory compliance, and provide the best possible care to their patients, regardless of linguistic and cultural differences.

As the world continues to grow more interconnected, the importance of accurate medical translation systems will only continue to rise, playing a crucial role in fostering a global healthcare landscape that is both inclusive and accessible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where can I translate a medical document?

For professional medical translation software you can trust SYSTRAN. We have over 55 years of experience as a well-regarded machine translation system with over 150 languages available. Our specialized medical engines are powerful and are quite accurate when working with medical terminology. Global companies in the healthcare, medical and life science space work with SYSTRAN every day in their day to day business.

We understand the importance of accuracy and precision when it comes to medical translations. And, because of products like SYSTRAN ModelStudio, companies can train their translation engines themselves to fit the language standards of the organizations. 

Is there an app to translate medical documents?

Yes, there is an app to translate medical documents. SYSTRAN Translate PRO, SYSTRAN Translate Enterprise and SPNS are secure, fast and easy-to-use platforms that provides secure, real time language translation. It simplifies how you produce translations for medical history forms, informed consent papers, discharge papers, pamphlets, prescription information and more.

Can you use Google Translate for medical translation?

No, Google Translate is not suitable for medical translation as there is often specialized vocabulary involved and high accuracy requirements in this field. Specially trained language engines, such as those offered by SYSTRAN, are typically best suited to provide accurate translations of any sensitive medical information. What's more, Google Translate is insecure by its very nature, as all information you run through it is saved by Google. 

Where can I translate a medical document?

For reliable and certified medical translation, SYSTRAN is the ideal solution, and you can perform these translations in real-time, instead of waiting days or weeks for a medical translation agency.

Experience the Solution: Test SYSTRAN’s MT Engine Today

SYSTRAN’s neural machine translation (NMT) solution is one of the most feature-rich neural machine translation options on the healthcare and life science market. It can provide astoundingly accurate translation quality, building on an extensive library of language pairs, dictionaries and industry-specific glossaries and supporting features like translation memory.

With over 55 years of history in the MT industry and a wide array of impressive features, SYSTRAN’s  is unlike any other machine translation solution, and is incredibly cost effective. You can experience this powerful medical document friendly machine translation solution for yourself. Test SYSTRAN’s MT engine today and find out more about how we can help you create better translations.

To learn more about specific translation terminology, check out SYSTRAN’s resource on every term you need to know.

Craig Wright