How to Solve Chinese Medical Translation Problems

07th Feb 2020

Medical translation comprises translating several media common in the healthcare division, which include scientific brochures, drug leaflets, and medical reports. Making sure you use the correct terminology is a critical part of a top-quality medical translation.

Translation work is no smooth sailing endeavor, but Chinese medical translations are by far the most challenging.

Chinese medical translation is crucial to spread around medical knowledge as well as making new medical discoveries. However, there challenges galore faced by Chinese medical translators.

A few of these challenges include Chinese medical terminology, the equivalence of medical texts, readability, and certain Chinese medical language characteristics such as:

  • Eponyms and multiword terms
  • Chinese Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Polysemy and Synonymy
  • Affixation
  • Word compounding

Not every Chinese translator is equipped to do the medical translation. It takes an expert on Chinese medical translation to get the job done. The Chinese translator has to be an expert on the subject matter (an individual who has a strong background in the field of medicine and its various divisions)

Giving Extra Attention to Drug Names

You need to give special attention to Chinese drug names and identify the difference between drug names and the INN (International Nonproprietary Name). The latter is a unique name and is different from the drug name. For instance, if you were translating Tylenol into Chinese, it would aid the end receiver to know what the INN is so that the equivalent drug used can be identified. The medical translator can then precisely translate Tylenol into its Chinese equivalent.

Sharing Medical Product Knowledge between Chinese Linguist and Client

It is crucial that both the Chinese linguists and the clients invest adequate time in sharing knowledge about medical products and extensively learning about it. Although this activity consumes a lot of time, the linguist will be able to fully comprehend the complexities of what he/she is translating. This, in turn, would boost linguistic quality.

It could also be very advantageous if the translator can expose himself/herself to the medical product physically. (This is possible by taking a tour of the client’s site). This will help the translator to see firsthand how the medical product is being created.

Engaging Services of Chinese Translators with Life Sciences Expertise

You should engage the services of those Chinese translators who are not only skilled in linguistic and medical training but also have a thorough knowledge of life sciences. By conducting extensive research into the specific medical topics, these Chinese translators can provide flawless medical translations.

Factor in Target Audience

Chinese Medical terminologies present unique challenges that differ from other translation domains. The medical translator must determine his/ her intended audience before starting the medical translation task. The different audiences include doctors, patients, laymen, and other individuals in the medical industry. If you are translating a Chinese medical text for a patient or a layman, you must use it as simple language as possible so that it is easy to understand. However, if you were translating for a doctor, you would want to include all the relevant technical information in the translation, such as research publishings and scientific data.

Make Use of Computer Assisted Translation

As the consistency of content between universal regulatory agencies and Chinese medical organizations is of paramount importance, Computer Assisted Training systems provide exemplary accuracy while saving a lot of precious time.

Final Word

In addition to the knowledge of subject-specific Chinese medical terminology, it is also very crucial to have complete access to all relevant sources such as Chinese glossaries, traditional dictionaries, textbooks, reference books, information that is posted online, articles, and Chinese medical databases. The final stage in the medical translation process is consulting with a medical expert, a specialist in a medical domain.  This is because their contribution will play an integral role in enhancing the quality of Chinese medical texts.

By following the aforementioned strategies, a translator can easily avoid common Chinese medical translation problems.