Medicine: specialist medical translations & interpreting services

In addition to the translation of texts from the fields of pharmacy, law and technology, we also specialize in medical translations and interpreting services, e.g.:

  • Medical reports
  • Medical certificates
  • Information sheets
  • Assessments
  • Findings
  • Discharge reports
  • Laboratory test results
  • Psychiatric expert opinions
  • Correspondence between patients and hospitals
  • Medical case histories
  • Surgical reports
  • Package leaflets
  • Presentations
  • Research reports
  • Examination and treatment of foreign patients in German hospitals
  • Scientific publications

Medical fields

Furthermore, we provide specialist translation and interpreting services for various medical fields. We provide our high-quality and professional translations for the following branches of medicine:

  1. General medicine
  2. Anaesthesiology
  3. Anatomy
  4. Occupational medicine
  5. Ophthalmology
  6. Biochemistry
  7. Surgery
  8. Gynaecology and obstetrics
  9. Otorhinolaryngology
  10. Skin diseases and sexually transmitted diseases
  11. Human genetics
  12. Hygiene and environmental medicine
  13. Internal Medicine
  14. Cardiology
  1. Paediatric and adolescent medicine
  2. Laboratory medicine
  3. Microbiology and virology
  4. Neurosurgery
  5. Neurology
  6. Nuclear medicine
  7. Public healthcare system
  8. Pathology
  9. Physical and rehabilitative medicine
  10. Physiology
  11. Psychiatry and psychotherapy
  12. Radiology
  13. Radiation therapy

Medical tourism is booming

The steady progress of globalization is not only becoming noticeable in culture and the economy, but is also affecting the field of medicine and health care. Thus, it is now common practice for people from all over the world to travel to foreign countries to receive medical treatment. There are various reasons for this “medical tourism”: in many cases, for example, no equivalent, timely treatment is possible in their home countries. Practical, financial, legal or ethical reasons can play a role here. However, the reputation of certain hospitals, countries or renowned specialists in the respective field can also be significant factors for the decision to receive treatment outside one’s home country. According to the International University of Applied Sciences Bad Honnef (IUBH) and a statistically representative survey by the market research institute YouGov, more than 50% of Germans would be willing to travel to a foreign country for medical treatment. Dental treatments, as well as rehabilitation measures and ophthalmic treatments, in particular, are becoming increasingly popular. Every year, 230-250 thousand patients set out for Germany to receive medical treatment or undergo surgery in this country. These treatments are mainly orthopaedic or oncological, but Germany also takes the lead in the fields of internal medicine and cardiology. Therefore, some hospitals (such as the university hospitals in Münster, Heidelberg and Erlangen as well as Nuremberg General Hospital as the largest hospital in Europe) have increasingly specialized in the admission of foreign patients.

What are specialist medical translations needed for?

If you decide to receive medical treatment in a foreign hospital, you at first face the challenge of explaining your symptoms and your medical history as precisely as possible. This is the only way to find the most suitable hospital / medical institution for your issue. Thus, medical diagnoses and findings must be available in the respective national language, or at least in English.

Therefore, clients require a qualified, experienced and reliable language mediator who can professionally translate their medical documents or support them as a medical interpreter on-site in communicating with medical professionals. However, translation or interpreting services may also be necessary during the course of treatment, for example, to translate expert opinions, medical reports or surgical reports comprehensibly into the client’s native language. Apart from this, a constant exchange between scientists and researchers is taking place in the process of globalization, especially in the field of medicine. Last but not least, the success of such international research cooperations and networks also depends on the quality of the translation of relevant specialist medical texts and publications.

Particularities of specialist medical translations

Specialist medical translations, in the broadest sense, are subdivided into different translation types, such as translations of pharmaceutical, biotechnological, medical-technological and general medical texts. Any concrete medical translation can basically be seen as a very specialized translation that requires the translator to have not only a perfect command of the foreign language, but also competent knowledge of the specialist medical terms corresponding to the subject of the text to be translated.

In addition to this, it is necessary to take the particularities of medical documentation, which are common in various medical institutions, into account: discharge letters, medical case histories, laboratory tests, epicrises, surgical reports, medical findings and certificates as well as analyses.

The translation of medical documentation for patients and their doctors requires utmost precision, a responsible approach and great care, as a physician makes decisions regarding the necessary treatment based on the information gained from the medical documents.

Medicine and translations of medical documentation: specialist terms, meanings, expressions

Medicine is a living and constantly developing science. The number of highly specialized medical disciplines increases every year. Modern inventions in the development, production and use of medical technology and pharmaceuticals provide new possibilities for the treatment and prevention of various diseases. This means that the requirements and demands on translators as well as their qualification and work altogether are also constantly changing. For this reason, only specialists with comprehensive specialist knowledge as well as substantial expertise in the field of medicine are employed for medical translations. This type of translation occupies a special niche amongst other specialist translations.

Excellent knowledge of specialist terms and work with ambiguous medical acronyms and abbreviations make medical translations particularly challenging. In addition to this, by far not all medical documents are supplied in an easily legible form – translators occasionally have to work with handwritten documents. We, as language professionals, do not always find it easy to decipher doctors’ handwriting. Especially if translations are needed urgently, this can make the work considerably more difficult.

Hundreds of new medicines and drugs appear on the shelves of pharmacies and drug stores every year, as hospitals implement the latest medical technology. The spectrum of words and expressions describing new patient care and treatment methods is constantly expanding. Established terms lose their relevance or even take on a different meaning.

If the person requiring the translation is a patient who has no medical training or no connection to the medical field, the translator has the possibility of adapting the text of the translation slightly. He or she can bypass the very specialized terms and abbreviations that are understood only by medical professionals, and instead use terms and abbreviations that are common and more generally understood. Medical professionals, however, need a translation using their specialized jargon – a correctly interpreted text containing both medical terms and Latin expressions.

Acronyms, abbreviations and Latin terms particularly aid the precision of concrete specialist terms. They help physicians grasp the symptoms as quickly as possible, and must therefore be translated correspondingly to comply with professional standards. In addition to this – due to notorious globalization – modern medical documentation contains numerous specialist terms borrowed from different languages which have achieved international status; these, however, are frequently only slightly or not at all adapted to the language of the document. Such language components are often encountered in discharge letters and medical reports given to patients who have been treated or who are undergoing rehabilitation in a foreign country. In such cases, the specialist translator must pay great attention to the Latin terms which are understood in every country.

It is also important to mention that specialist translators must pay heed to the correct layout, common form and style of medical documentation. On the other hand, the translator is repeatedly confronted with the reverse situation: in some countries, medical terminology is used which is country-specific and has nothing to do with the international system. This fact can cause considerable difficulties for the specialist translator. In cases like this, working in the usual manner is not enough - it is necessary to employ constant logical thought, consult specialists who are permanently in contact with medicine, and regularly work with relevant and current specialist literature.

Challenges with specialist medical translations

Extreme precision and care are needed for the specialist translation of texts concerning particularly serious cases and unclear medical diagnoses. Medical documents often contain evasive, confusing and extremely vague expressions which must be translated impeccably and without any alteration in meaning and logic to not harm the patient in any way. In such cases, translators will also consult the attending physicians; often they will ask to see the patient’s case file and will study scientific literature on a particular disease.

There are plenty of stories and jokes about the handwriting of doctors: a certain cliché has been established stating that no one can read anything a doctor has written. This, however, is linked directly to the specifics of the profession: time is mostly scarce and speed frequently plays a key role. Nevertheless, it is no easy task for the translator to work with an illegible document. Even if he or she has deciphered a word in a medical diagnosis which seems to fit the context, it is often impossible to be certain that this is exactly the word which is found in the original. Only experienced translators with in-depth knowledge in the medical field are able to solve these types of puzzle.

Every scientific paper inevitably contains an assortment of acronyms and abbreviations. Medical professionals try to avoid these in documents intended for patients. Here, specialist translators must then often choose between various possibilities. In such cases, the specialist translators must orient themselves toward the context or search for similar documents where the abbreviations and acronyms have already been deciphered.

Modern medicine is continuously opening up new possibilities. In conjunction with this, there are growing difficulties with regard to the correct interpretation of very specialized medical texts. German hospitals also provide care to foreign patients and successfully carry out diagnostics and treatment. Patients as well as physicians depend on a mutual exchange of information and thus on precise and high-quality specialist translations. After treatment in Germany, foreign patients frequently need additional medical care and examinations in their respective home countries. It is precisely at this point that a correct and professional translation of the accompanying documentation plays a crucial role, particularly with regard to the compliance with doctors’ recommendations, possible continuation of treatment, its successful conclusion and the patient’s recovery.

Your competent partner for specialist medical translations

At AP Fachübersetzungen, you will receive a professional medical translation which meets the highest standards with regard to both style and the specialist vocabulary used. No matter the level of difficulty and whether it is a translation from or into German - a translation by AP Fachübersetzungen will be comprehensible for both German and any foreign physicians.

Our Germany-based translators cooperate almost daily with doctors and medical professionals. Thus, we have the expertise and necessary professional knowledge to translate a medical text impeccably into another language.

Do you have questions or would you like to directly commission a specialist translation or an interpreting job? Feel free to contact us!

AP Fachübersetzungen - reliable without exception!

We are happy to help you with medical translations.
You can call us at: +49 (0)911 - 650 08 650.