Blog – It’s All About Language

As travel and communication become more convenient, the healthcare industry is seeing an increase in cases treating international patients. Whether they’re shipping medication or medical devices overseas, treating foreign visitors and residents, or collaborating with international hospitals, it is safe to say that healthcare is taking a globalised approach. While this shift brings numerous benefits, it’s also creating new challenges, and the language barrier is an obstacle many healthcare professionals regularly face.

An Introduction to Communication in Healthcare

To this day, written documentation is still the most effective and efficient means of communication within the healthcare setting. Having written documentation allows healthcare professionals to safely receive and relay information to each other and their patients. In addition, medical documentation serves as a reference point on which many professionals base their clinical decisions. Hence, it is crucial that healthcare professionals clearly comprehend the content within medical documentation. Moreover, patients are becoming increasingly involved in their own and their relatives’ care, which further emphasises the importance of clear communication.
However, there’s currently one factor that stands in the way of this communication: the language barrier. Each country has its national language, and there is no universal language that all healthcare services abide by, creating an unnecessary challenge for healthcare services that must collaborate internationally. In addition, several healthcare workers are pursuing careers outside of their national country and many of which would also require language assistance.
Malta is a great example of the points mentioned above. Over the past decade, the percentage of foreign health care workers has increased drastically, and many local medical professionals must collaborate internationally on a regular basis.
In this post, we will be explaining what medical translation is, who can benefit from it and how it can improve healthcare services.

What is a Medical Translation?

Medical translation encompasses different sectors and projects. It refers to the translation of any medical information, including:

– Information and technical documentation for medical devices
– Pharmaceutical information documentation
– Clinical research papers
– General medical information
– Patient files, medical histories, and test results
– Prescriptions
– Discharge or follow-up instructions
– Medical standard operating procedures

Who Requires Medical Translations?

– Health and medical clinics
– Hospitals
– Pharmacies
– Pharmaceutical companies
– Medical research scientists
– Health and medical schools
– Medical Insurance Agencies
– Funeral Directors
– Patients and caregivers

How can Medical Translation Improve Healthcare Services?

1. Medical Translation Facilitates Mobility and Collaboration of Care.

The primary goal of any healthcare service is to provide the best treatment for their patient,
which sometimes requires them to collaborate with medical professionals in other areas of the world. In addition, more healthcare workers are pursuing a career outside of their national country and it is becoming increasingly common for professionals within the same institution to have different primary languages. While the notion of having a multilingual facility brings with it many benefits, it also poses a challenge when the latter need to communicate. In some cases, crucial details can be misinterpreted or lost in translation if the professionals are not fluent in a common language.
Hence, having accurately translated documentation allows the medical professionals to receive information from other providers in their native language, increasing their level of understanding on the patient’s medical condition.

2. Medical Translation Saves Time

This idea is evident in various aspects. Firstly, thanks to experienced medical translators, documentation and records can be translated quickly and accurately, allowing medical professionals to receive vital information swiftly. Despite the language change, the information would adhere to universal medical terminology and procedures, further improving the efficiency of care.
Secondly, it allows the medical professionals to focus solely on their role of providing care. With medical translation, the medical professionals do not need to waste time inputting data and using unreliable translation methods or having to contact an interpreter. It also provides the opportunity to revisit and refer to the translated documents whenever required.
Lastly, it allows medical professionals to pick up where the previous professional has left and continue building their work and care. This concept is known as the continuation of care, and it is vital to avoid unnecessary delays which can be brought about by extended and time-consuming handover processes or repetition of work.

3. Medical Translation Reduces Errors

Individuals working in healthcare are often responsible for other people’s lives both directly and indirectly. Their decisions have the power to permanently affect someone’s life, leaving no room for error. The accurate translation of medical documentation ensures that no information is misinterpreted or left out, making it a vital tool for reducing workplace errors.

4. Translation of Medical Documentation May Serve as Legal Documents

When medical documentation is translated, the translator ensures that all information has been written accurately and that the message conveyed in source and target languages remains the same. This makes the translated documentation a reliable source to be used by healthcare services. Medical professionals will be relieved of the burden of potentially misunderstanding any information, further reducing the risk of errors in their medical procedures and care. In addition, the translation of medical documentation can potentially serve as a legal form of evidence should the need arise.

5. Medical Translation Improves the Quality of Patient Care

Apart from all the points mentioned above, medical translation serves a direct purpose for the patients. Several research studies have established a strong connection between a well-informed patient and good recovery outcomes. Hence, having well-translated and written literature in the patient’s native language will improve their knowledge about their condition and the selected treatment. This documentation also allows the patients themselves and their caregivers to gain a sense of control on their medical care.

Final Words

In conclusion, medical translation has several benefits both for the healthcare provider and the receivers. However, its crucial for the medical translation to be done accurately as it holds a great responsibility.

Thankfully, at GTS (Global Translation Solutions), we have developed a team of experienced medical translators who deeply understand the medical terminology to tackle this challenge. Our team has a keen eye for detail and an excellent knowledge of the communicative ways adopted in the healthcare setting.

Follow the link for more information on our Medical Translation Services.


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