Understanding Medical Translation and Why You Should Hire a Professional


In this week’s blog, we hope to help our readers in understanding medical translation and why you should hire a professional. In the field of medical translation services, there is no margin for error. Poorly translated medical documents can cause significant health consequences for patients, including misdiagnosis, which can lead to serious harm or even death in some cases. It is important for written or verbal communication to properly express what the physician and patient are discussing, that the patient’s medical chart and history is accurate, and the ultimate diagnosis and treatment. At Latitude Prime, we are your source for professional and effective medical document translation to ensure a seamless, accurate exchange of communication and information between patients and medical providers.

Ensuring Proper Treatment

Healthcare professionals may encounter obstacles in providing proper care or referring patients to other medical facilities and specialists because of language barriers. This can cause delays in diagnosis and treatment, resulting in a worsening condition. This can often be seen in the failure to translate a patient’s foreign-language medical records fully and accurately, which include such vital patient history information as pre-existing conditions, medications, previous treatments and surgeries, and medical exams (blood work, imaging, etc.). Accurate medical translation of these types of materials by a certified professional is essential to avoid any potential problems.

Avoiding Legal Liability

Poor communication as a result of improper translation can inhibit doctors from providing much-needed and accurate treatment for patients. Legal issues can arise when patients file claims that state they were not properly informed when they agreed to a certain treatment or signed a patient consent form, especially if it was not properly translated into their native language.

Accurate Medical Document Translation

The process of medical translation involves the translation of a wide variety of document types, including those in the clinical, marketing, medical device, regulatory, technical, and pharmaceutical fields. Many physicians use medical translation professionals to translate patient medical histories and records, diagnoses, and prescriptions.

Medical professional and patients involved in clinical trials also require the accurate translation of medical documentation so that clinicians, regulatory personnel, and (most importantly) patients are able to understand them. These translation services are also important for obtaining regulatory approval.

Any errors in these types of medical translations can have catastrophic consequences. Therefore, they should always be done by professional, certified medical translators who have the requisite experience and training, as well as a comprehensive, multi-step Quality Control Process that includes (at least) translation, editing, and proofreading. In certain situations, medical translations may also require back-translation.

Reduce Stress on Patients and Physicians

With reliable oral interpretation and medical document translation services, patients and physicians are much less stressed. When vital medical information is conveyed accurately, it reduces the stress on everyone involved, creating communication that is accurate and easily understandable by all parties. This gives the physicians the confidence that they have all of the necessary information to make an accurate diagnosis and prescribe the appropriate course of treatment. It also gives the patient the peace of mind that the language barrier will not unnecessarily put their health at risk. All of the above are important in understanding medical translation and the reason why you should hire a professional.

Finally, one of the most vital tools to ensure that patients with Limited English Proficiency (LEP) are provided with equal (and reliable) access to healthcare is the implementation of the Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) Standards. The National CLAS Standards “are a set of 15 action steps intended to advance health equity, improve quality, and help eliminate health care disparities by providing a blueprint for individuals and health and health care organizations to implement culturally and linguistically appropriate services.” As a leading provider of comprehensive language services in the medical and healthcare fields, Latitude Prime plays an important role in helping medical providers and organizations to ensure that these standards are properly and fully implemented, in accordance with federal and state law that guarantees equal access to vital services for non-English-speakers.

At Latitude Prime, we offer comprehensive medical translation, medical interpretation, and other language solutions in the medical and healthcare fields. We can help you to bridge the language barrier when it comes to patient diagnosis, care, and other medical information communication needs. Call us today at 888.341.9080 or email us at contact@latitudeprime.com to learn how we can help with your medical translation and interpretation needs!


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