5 common mistakes in medical translations

A lot of businesses ruin their medical translation projects from disregarding the importance of working with a professional translation company. While it is easy to quickly complete a translation project using machine translations, contents which are highly medical require high level of medical knowledge to translate accurately.

The end product of any document translation project should be clear, comprehensible, and contain all the information from the source language.

Medical translation is an important part of medical procedures for medical institutions and pharmaceutical companies. It aids collaborations between medical professionals with language differences. Thus, it is an important part of clinical trials, medical processes and retreats and other procedures that involves professionals from different parts of the world.

Medical translation projects require accuracy and precision as it involves human lives. Thus, there are mistakes and errors that cannot be allowed or will have serious consequences on the project and professionals involved.

You can avoid these mistakes by working with a professional translation company with a good track record in the industry.

This informative piece outlines the common mistakes associated with medical translations and how to avoid them.

1. Word for Word Translation

A lot of translators think it is right to translate from the source language to the target language; word for word. This approach is similar to a machine translation where machine translates documents verbatim without additional efforts.

Translating word for word will degrade the source document and the message may get filtered. Thus, it is advised you work with professional translators that would translate accurately and retain every information contained in the source document.

2. Excessive Creativity

While its bad to translate medical documents “word for word”, its worse to get creative and alter the original information from the source document. Expert medical translators do not need to get creative to make the content smooth and colorful.

It is of great importance that you remain objective throughout the process to ensure complete transfer of information from the source document to target document.

3. Poor Communication between Client and Translators

Translation projects require collaboration between the client and the translators to ensure the transfer of information necessary to complete the project.

The absence of proper communication will undermine the entire process as the translator is bound to be confused at some point. The translator may need to understand the context of the contents and this requires client to provide materials for reference.

4. Inadequate Memory

A lot of translators depend on their previously completed projects as the source for their vocabulary when working on new projects. While this is a good practice, some projects require a broad range of vocabulary that may not be in your catalog. Medical translation is a complex form of translation that requires a broad range of vocabulary.

Thus, it’s important you work with a medical translation agency with a wide range of vocabulary to ensure the complete transfer of information from the source language to the target language.

Without a broad vocabulary, the information translated may not completely pass the author’s ideas and this would cause a bridge of the process.

5. Poor Proofreading

Last on the list of errors common in translation projects is the lack of quality proofreading. Most translators are in a rush to deliver their projects without taking out time to proofread the content and ensure it meets the necessary standards.

Proofreading is an important part of the translation process as it involves detailed run over of the entire text. Thus, translators should pay good attention to this process to make sure the content is ready for use.

It is advised an independent translator goes over the document before certifying it ready for use.


Errors and mistakes are not acceptable in medical translation projects. The consequences of the slightest error in a medical translation project can lead to even a loss of life.

Hence, it is important you eliminate the chances of error by working with ECI, Life Sciences division,

ECI offers professional medical translation services and localization solutions for over 20 years. As a market leader in the localization industry, we have over 8 offices in major cities across the globe.

We offer full localization support in over 260 locales and 130 languages. We edge over competitors in the industry using quality translation productivity, quality control technology accumulation and unbeatable efficiency.

Contact us today and enjoy free consultation session to discuss your project.

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