Medical Translations: Why Accuracy Is So Important

The importance of accuracy in translations

Medical translations are more critical than one may think because one mistranslation can risk a person’s life. One example is the tragic case of Mayra Cabrera, who passed away due to the wrong post-childbirth dosage.

The importance of a medical translation service is underestimated because of negligence. Companies, especially medical institutions, rely on documents and prescriptions, which makes the situation riskier.

Even a minor illness can become a life-threatening condition for a patient due to an inaccurate understanding of a medical report.

That’s why getting in touch with an experienced medical translation agency is essential if you are serving international patients, customers, and suppliers.

factors in medical translation

Medical Translations

The term “Medical Translation” has a broad meaning. Although it mainly focuses on the doctor-patient relationship, there’s more to it. The following are some of the features you get from a medical translation service.

Scientific Translations

If you are not from a medical background, you probably do not have an idea of just how complex terminology in this field is. Sometimes it’s impossible to understand scientific terms as a non-medical expert.

But what if you need to urgently test a blood sample and get its report to understand the situation? That’s when you need a medical expert to accurately translate the scientific notations written in that report.

Another scenario could be when you want different chemicals to test a new medicine and present its findings to international clients and doctors. You will need to translate the scientific facts and make them understandable for the audience.


People who travel abroad for treatment struggle to communicate due to a language barrier. They bring reports written in their language, but when they sit in front of the doctor, they don’t know what to say.

So, a translation service can help you in that situation by interpreting for you and translating your reports. That way, you can get to the right expert regarding your medical history.


Scientists keep experimenting with new chemical combinations to prepare more efficient medicines. In addition, they put accurate labels on every sample and keep records for future readings. However, others are accessing these samples too.

During seminars and medical exhibitions, scientists and respective research centres must precisely translate each label for the audience.

The documentaries on each successful medicine also include labels in the native language. Therefore, a medical translation service must translate those labels accurately to understand the experiments better.

Medical Reports

Many incidents happen due to misinterpretation of medical reports. Since patients usually don’t know what a medical report says, they believe every word of the doctor. However, an international medical facility has language barriers that can cause mistranslation of these reports.

Densely populated areas where scarce healthcare centres face numerous issues due to language gaps. Doctors need to understand medical reports written in other languages. However, they try to understand using AI-based translating tools, which only partially solves the problem.

Sometimes the situation worsens when doctors or patients don’t understand the report.

Academic Documents

Medical students who apply for higher studies in other countries need a translated version of their academic documents. That translation must be accurate as required by the relevant authorities. Unfortunately, many students, even doctors, don’t get their academic documents attested just because of inaccurately translated documents.

So, always check the past academic work of the medical translation service you go for. You can also read the reviews of previous clients who hired a particular translation agency.

You will also need a medical translation expert while applying for higher education or a job in other countries. Be it a pharmacist, lab manager, doctor, surgeon, or nurse, the required student or employment form must be duly filled in the country’s language you are applying for.

when medical translation goes wrong

What Happens When Medical Translations Go Wrong?

Inaccurately translated medical documents may impact patient treatment, which can be risky.

However, there are also other consequences when medical translations go wrong. Here are a few.

Risk for Patients

Patients typically rely on their doctors to get treated for medical concerns. Despite a possible language gap, they may try to communicate, but there are better ways to communicate, like hiring a medical interpreter. A language barrier can impact areas such as:

• Medication
• Follow-ups
• Diet plan

Delayed or Wrong Laboratory Tests

Some critical conditions cannot be treated without lab tests, and doctors only proceed with treatment after getting accurate lab reports. For example, surgeons will never treat certain conditions if their patient becomes infected. Why?

This may spread the infection, worsening the patient’s condition. Now think for a second, you got the lab report, but it’s in another language. The doctors are still waiting for the report, and you want a translated version.

That disturbs the whole treatment schedule. This is why you need to rely on a translation agency that can offer expert medical translators and turn a translation around promptly.

Licence Cancellation

A mistranslation of a medical report is an offence that can lead to the revocation of a clinic’s or hospital’s license. Therefore, it’s vital to ensure you get help from a professional medical translation service with proven experience.

Damage to Company’s or Medical Institution’s Reputation

Working with an inexperienced or unprofessional translation service can cost you heavily in the medical industry. Since courts care for the people’s rights and enforce strict laws for medical institutions, there’s no way around dealing with the consequences of poorly translated medical documents.

The consequences of such actions can range from being potentially sued for providing inaccurate medical information to being banned or even fined.

The damage of a shaky reputation will also be something that will linger and will cause people to no longer trust using your service.


Choose a medical translation service that has reputable experts. Since the medical industry is responsible for helping people with their health, ensuring these sensitive documents are accurately translated is vital, and companies must provide high-quality medical translations.