Saving lives or risking lives: The significance of medical translation

by The JADE

The importance of accurate translation cannot be overstated, particularly in the critical realm of medical translation, where it pertains to matters of life and safety. Even the slightest error, such as a misplaced letter or number in medication dosages or allergy information, can have dire and potentially life-threatening consequences.

Let’s begin with a real-life example.

Patient Safety in Surgery, a journal owned by BioMed Central, published a report on 47 cases of improper knee prosthesis implantation in a German hospital. One of the causes of the accident was poor translation of the manual. The original English label of the femoral component packaging was “non-modular cemented”, but this phrase was erroneously translated into “non-cemented” or “without cement” in German. As a result, these prosthetics were implanted without the use of cement. The consequences for the patients are unimaginable.

The human error in this medical incident underscores the heightened significance of professional translation. Only accurately translated medical literature, product descriptions and manuals can ensure that healthcare professionals and patients correctly comprehend medication administration and treatment guidelines.

In today’s globalised landscape, translation plays a crucial role in the medical and pharmaceutical industries. It’s vital for effective communication among patients, healthcare experts, regulators, and stakeholders worldwide.

Moreover, as pharmaceutical companies increasingly target international markets, accurate translation is paramount for product promotion and market expansion. Cultural and linguistic disparities across various nations and regions imply the need to translate product information, labels, and manuals into the languages of the target markets, ensuring smooth product integration into the markets and compliance with local regulations. Hence, accurate translation breaks language barriers, facilitates product sales and outreach, and benefits a wider audience.

Additionally, in clinical trials and research, translation plays a critical role. Clinical trials often involve multiple countries and regions, requiring the translation of study protocols, data, results, and regulatory documents. Accurate translation ensures all parties understand trial requirements and procedures accurately, thereby guaranteeing the reliability and compliance of the trials. Any translation error could lead to misunderstanding of trial results and inaccurate data analysis.

Most importantly, translation in the medical and pharmaceutical industries relates directly to patient safety and health. Accurately translating medical instructions, surgical procedures, and medication usage guidelines is of utmost importance because mistranslations could lead to medical errors and pose health risks to patients.

In conclusion, the significance of translation in the medical and pharmaceutical sectors cannot be overstated. Accurate translation is vital for conveying medical information precisely, fostering international market growth, supporting clinical trials and research, and ensuring the safety and health of patients.

The JADE provides high-quality English-Malay-Chinese trilingual translations for the medical industry. We specialise in translating various pharmaceutical and medical materials for international drug companies, such as brochures and videos, and information manuals for medical non-governmental organisations. Not only do we deliver translations punctually, but all translated works undergo at least two rounds of proofreading to ensure smooth flow and accuracy of information. With our professional services and stringent quality control, we achieve a customer satisfaction rate as high as 98%.

Click here to learn more about The JADE!

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash