Three Steps of Quality Assurance for medical Translation Processes
Medical translations of all types need to be consistently accurate to ensure that no potentially
life threatening mistakes are made.
One only has to consider that people have ended up taking potentially lethal overdoses of their
medication because of poor translations, the urgency and high importance of accuracy becomes more than
A few simple steps can be taken to ensure consistent accuracy and prevention of such dangerous
The first step is to have the text translated by an experienced, trained translator with sufficient
medical expertise who is a native speaker of the target language, as well as being perfectly fluent in the source
Using a native speaker ensures that cultural and other background information, as well as nuances in
dialects, written styles etc of a country or language are being taking into consideration.
Particularly complex or risky documents may be translated simultaneously by two separate
translators, who will then get together to discuss their translations and combine the best of the two versions into
one working version to be passed on into phase two of the quality assurance process.
Either way, translators will use a range of very specific, specialized medical translation tools and
translation memory. This is a tool similar to a glossary, but terms and phrases are being continually updated by
the translators to ensure that all work completed has a consistent style and quality.
Phase two consists of the translated text being given to an additional translator, who has no
knowledge of the content of the source text. This translator, usually a native speaker of the source language who
is fluent in the target language, will then trans late the document back into the source language.
His or her translation is then compared one row after the other to the original text by a project
manager. Any differences which are caused either by translation errors or questionable interpretations of meanings
will be noted, discussed with both translators and amended where necessary. The whole process is then repeated
until no more differences can be found.
Once the translated text matches the original document perfectly, ensuring that no meaning or terms
have been accidentally misinterpreted or wrongly translated, it is saved into the required format and passed on to
the final step in the process.
The third and final step of the process is to have the document proofread by a native speaker of the
language it was translated into. This proofreader will ensure that spelling, line or page breaks and punctuation
are all correct and that none of the text has been corrupted by saving it into the desired
This is particularly important when a document has been converted into HTML or other formats
suitable for publication on websites.
The native speaker will also be able to confirm that the document is indeed as readable to a native
as it is required to be. By following these steps, it is possible to achieve the kind of accuracy vital on medical
documents of any kind.