Medical translation resources.
If you’re a translator in the medical field, or are thinking about becoming one, you’re going to need them.
Not every translation specialization needs to have its own set of translation resources.
There are plenty of general translators that can get by and do translation jobs without having to have a specific set of resources for the translations that they do.
Maybe you’re like that.
If so, congrats!
That’s awesome because the less time that you spend scrolling through your various resources to find what you’re looking for means more time spent translating and marketing.
You know, the things that really make you money.
Not every translator is like that, though.
And if you don’t fit into that category, it’s OK.
You can still be a professional translator and have access to resources you need to do your job.
Specialization Requires Resources
Because even if you are an expert in a certain subject, as a translator you’ll face a couple of challenges:
- the industry changes
- you’ll encounter something you’re not sure about
First of all, the medical industry is always changing and evolving.
I used to not eat them because they were bad for me.
Then they were good.
Then bad again.
Now “experts” are saying they’re good again.
And this is just one little food in all of the nutrition industry.
The medical field is HUGE.
Things are always changing.
And as a professional translator, you have to keep up with the times.
You can’t rely on the knowledge you had 10 years ago to get you through translations you’re working on today.
Imagine if you were trying to translate articles about the Internet today 30 years ago.
It’d be difficult, if not impossible.
The second point is that you’re not as smart as you think you are.
None of us are.
Eventually, if you translate long enough (more than two days), you’ll know.
You’ll run across things you have to look up.
And that’s OK, too.
That’s what resources are for.
Medical Spanish Translation
Medical translation to or from Spanish is the same.
No medical translator knows everything there is to know about how to translate between English and Spanish.
It’s presumptuous for anyone to even think that.
Medical Spanish translation is an important translation field that requires lots of training and specialized knowledge.
As I said before, any type of translation field requires specific knowledge for any translator wanting to be the best in that field and do a good job.
This is especially the case with medical translation.
First, medical translation can be (and often is) life or death.
How you translate something can have drastic effects on someone’s life.
What’s the purpose of medical translation/interpretation?
Impart health-related knowledge to speakers that don’t speak the same language as the doctors or care providers treating them.
We all know how difficult it can be sometimes to understand health issues in our own language.
Now think about doing that in a different culture and from someone that doesn’t speak the same language that you do.
This is why the best medical Spanish translators and interpreters need the following:
- excellent linguistic skills
- extensive experience in the medical field
- ability to relate to patients and medical professionals
- vast repository of medical knowledge
- medical translation resources to find answers to questions
You also need to keep up-to-date on the medical literature so you know how to best transmit the ideas from the doctors and nurses to patients.
You need to be on top of your game as a medical translator.
If you’re a seasoned medical translator, you’ve probably already got your list of resources.
If you’re just starting out, here’s some medical translation resources that could be useful.
Remember, though, that these are only useful if you’re a Spanish translator.
Medical Spanish Translation Resources
OK, so you might not consider a medical dictionary a resource.
I beg to differ.
This is where it all starts.
You have to understand medical vocabulary if you want to be successful professional translator.
This is a decent free online dictionary of medical terms.
The one thing I don’t like about this glossary is that you have to click on each letter to look for a word beginning with that letter. It makes it a bit clunky to search for medical terms this way.
Here’s what it looks like:
As you can see, the interface isn’t all that great.
In fact, it’s super clunky.
But, it’s good for what it is: a basic medical translation resource that can help you translate medical terminology between Spanish and English.
OK, so once you click on a letter, you’re taken to the page for that letter.
Here’s an example looking at the letter S:
As you can see, it’s basic but get’s the job done.
While not technically medicine related, it does have to do with health.
That is if you think pesticides are important for health.
This glossary is published by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and is really thorough.
I don’t know how many total words it has, but it’s a great resource for anyone interested in the intersection of health and pesticides.
Here’s a screenshot of what it looks like:
The glossary used to be in PDF format, which made it difficult to search on.
This HTML version, however, is much easier to search through using the good ‘ol CTRL+F.
Every freelance translator has heard of Proz.com.
Translators either love it or hate it.
Except for me.
I don’t have feelings either way, actually.
I recognize that it’s good for some translators.
Yet I can also understand the complaints that other translators have.
But that’s beyond the scope of this article.
Let’s go back to its section of English/Spanish glossaries.
Proz.com has a bunch of user-submitted translations on a variety of topics, including Spanish medical translation.
Doing a quick search of the site, here are all of the medical-related glossaries I see:
- general science
- general medicine
- health care
- medical instruments
Plenty of glossaries to choose from.
If you know of any additional medical translation resources, be sure to add them to the comments below.
P.S. Being a successful freelance translator isn’t just about having the best resources. It’s also about knowing how to use them the right way. For more tips and techniques, read my book.