Reasons Why You Should Prioritise Quality and Accuracy for Medical Translations

To eliminate the various language barriers, all kinds of medical-related data and information is published in various languages. Translating a particular document has always been a difficult job, requiring extremely meticulous people with great attention to detail to get the job done.

Because of how their sentence structure, syntax, nuances, and subtleties differ, there’s a great chance of an error taking place. But in the medical field, the room for error is generally very little and the smallest of mistakes can cost a life.

Urgency Can Lead to Mistakes

One of the major errors people make is keeping short deadlines for their medical translations. Translations in general aren’t just simple as putting a text into Google Translate to copy the result. They require going over the context several times by a concerned individual with some medical knowledge along with bilingual/multilingual capabilities to translate the text properly.

Physician reading a document on the clipboard.

Avoiding Literary Issues

One of the major issues with translations, in general, is that many languages don’t have equivalent terms and phrases. This makes the translation process much more difficult. While most medical journals don’t use such casual terminologies, there are certain instances where a medical contributor may use a particular term that won’t directly translate.

This makes it crucial to have people proficient in both languages at the helm to ensure such issues don’t take place. At the very least, they can prevent some problems.

Preventing Mishaps

In the past, there are known instances where medical translation mishaps have led to major issues. The case of Willie Ramirez is famous in particular, where the doctors were unable to understand Spanish. Not being able to interpret what the patient’s family was saying, figuring out the probable cause of why Willie was ill prolonged.

What many people assumed was the word “intoxicado” being a direct translation to “intoxicated”, was an umbrella term that a proficient speaker would be aware of. Eventually, Willie’s hemorrhage was diagnosed but he was already paralyzed from the effects of the hemorrhage.


It’s an essential compliance policy to have quality control over the medical instructions and material provided to health care workers. There should be cross-verification of both languages to ensure the best translation possible with no ambiguity on each end. Not having such quality control may be a direct violation of these compliance policies.

Different parts of the world have different policies, with each describing how the major languages spoken in the region should be looked over and considered. These require a strict implementation to prevent any unnecessary disasters such as the Willie Ramirez case.

Make sure that your medical translations come through with proper and native phrasing for easy understanding. Apart from certified document translation, PA Localisation also offers voice-over, website translation services, subtitling, scientific journal and medical manuscript, academic editing, and proofreading services among others.

Reach out to us today to get started on your project.

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