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Why translation is so important in medical discussions

– Posted in: Language and Culture
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At London Translations we know that a good translation service can be vital for the success of businesses. However, sometimes professional translators can be even more important than that, sometimes they are the difference between life and death. Indeed, the role of a capable medical translator is not to be underestimated.

Why translation is so important in hospitals

Fortunately, the NHS accept that they have a “statutory and moral responsibility to patients” to provide medical translators to all the communities they serve. However, in countries where hospitals don’t always use translators, issues regularly occur. In the U.S only 69% of hospitals offer language services, despite the fact that over 60 million people in the country do not speak English as a first language.

Nowhere is the terrible consequences of miscommunication highlighted more clearly than the tragic case of Willie Ramirez. When he was admitted to hospital, it was wrongly assumed that Ramirez had overdosed.

That’s because his Spanish-speaking family used the word ‘intoxicado’. This was interpreted by doctors as ‘intoxicated’, however the word is actually used in a broader sense, meaning poisoned by something you have ingested. As the doctors treated him for a drug overdose he was actually suffering from a brain aneurysm. The absence of a medical translator meant that Willie was left quadriplegic.

A study by the American College of Emergency Physicians in 2012 analysed interpreter errors that had clinical consequences, and found that the error rate was significantly lower (2% compared to 22%) for professional interpreters with more than 100 hours of training, than for ad hoc interpreters.

This proves that by choosing an accurate and professional translation service, medical institutions can and will save lives.

Good translation doesn’t just save lives inside hospitals

At London Translations we know that good translation not only saves lives in hospitals, it can also help advancements in the medical industry. London Translations works within the medical device, pharmaceutical and clinical research industry.

Advances in medical device technology have increased rapidly in recent years to keep up with changes in our global health and population. Alongside advances in medicine, developing medical devices and equipment is often dependent on translation services. Again, an interpreter with industry-specific knowledge is vital, as the more they have an understanding of the subject, the less likely they are to make mistakes.

Translation plays its part in every single part of the medical industry. For example, documentation for medical equipment rely on accurate translation if they are to be used in different countries effectively and safely. Failure to provide appropriately translated materials can have huge ramifications, including criminal prosecution.

To find out more about our translation services, contact us today for an instant quote today.

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