Translating Medical Data Sheets

Mar 9, 2022 | Medical Translations

Medical data sheets are an important piece of document to ensure the safety and protection of those who are handling medical devices and equipment. This is why proper and accurate translation is highly critical. 

Medical professionals are regularly exposed to a variety of health and safety hazards. This could be from dealing with various medical equipment or biological waste. Either way, it is important to translate this document to ensure the safety of those who will be using the concerned medical equipment or devices. Translating Medical Data Sheets 1

What are medical data sheets?

The best way to understand what medical data sheets are is to first define what data sheets mean. This is a piece of document that provides the specifications for a particular product. For example, when you buy a piece of gadget or tech device such as a laptop or cellphone, you would often refer to the specifications first to know the features and technical information of the product. This is simply referred to as a spec sheet, or data sheet. 

The same thing is true with a medical device or equipment. They also come with this document when you buy a device or equipment for medical use. The data sheet is a commercial or technical communication of the characteristics and features of the product. By reading the data sheet, you will be able to determine which product to use and what to use it for. 

It contains the scientific or technical name of the product. Depending on the type of medical equipment or device, it details the properties and essential features of that particular product. The instructions of the proper use of the product follows, along with any precautions for its use. It should also contain information on the proper storage or handling of the product. 

Medical Data Sheets Could Save Lives

Translation of medical data sheets is of utmost importance. It could be crucial in saving the lives of those who will be using the device or will be relying on that device for life support or disease management. 

Translating Medical Data Sheets 2It is important that only qualified and certified medical translators must handle the translation job for this type of document. Another option is to find subject matter experts or those translators with a certain level of knowledge in medical terms and handling medical data sheets. 

If the translated information is inaccurate or incomplete, it can be critical in the misuse of the medical device or equipment. The faulty use of the equipment or device could put someone’s life at risk, especially if they depend on that device for support. 

Medical Data Sheet Language Requirements

Medical language is not easy to understand. If you are a layperson, you will be grappling with medical terminology and jargon in order to get a good grasp of this complex subject matter. This type of knowledge can take years of study and/or practice in the field. 

One of the things that complicate the process of medical document translation is the fact that the terminology could differ from one language to another. There are also various medical abbreviations that are employed in medical documents. These abbreviations could differ in their meaning based on different languages or the context they are used in. 

And yet, medical documents such as data sheets must be accurately and precisely translated. If not, it could lead to serious consequences (as mentioned above) such as death or injury. 

What to Look for in Medical Data Sheet Translation

Translating Medical Data Sheets 3Medical data sheet translation should only be handled by experts. This is a highly important document that only those with adequate knowledge can – and should – handle. If you are looking for a medical translation service provider, you must consider three important factors to ensure the best results.

  1. Choose a subject matter expert.

There are several types of medical documents. Each document type will require a different level of expertise in order to ensure a successful translation. This is important because each document serves a unique purpose and targets a different set of audience. These two factors must be accounted for when translating medical documents.

A subject matter expert (SME) will be able to deliver the precise and accurate information needed for the purpose of writing data sheets. In addition, an SME understands both the medical use of certain terms and the commonly used jargon. They can understand the context with which these terms are used and can consider that during the translation process. Without this, the translated data sheet could easily lead to error or inappropriate use of medical devices and equipment.

  1. Understanding of the lexical word usage. 

The meaning of words evolve as they are used in several languages. This refers to the “lexical” meaning of a particular word. 

Medical translators must know the lexical meaning of a word during translation. It is important to identify the gap in that meaning from the source language to the translated language. Even within the medical community, the same word could mean many different things. 

  1. Knowledge of the different registers. 

This is one of the most difficult aspects of hiring a medical translator and one that you need to pay a lot of attention to. There are multiple word registers used within the medical setting. Some words have a higher register (strictly medical terminology) and a lower register (can be used colloquially). 

When translating medical data sheets, it is important for the translator to have knowledge on the different registers for medical terminologies. This is something that is historically observed and is evident in many medical journals and documents. An understanding of the different registers for the same word must be there in order to choose the most appropriate word or term to use for a specific purpose in the data sheet. 

Types of Medical Documents 

Medical data sheets is just one of several types of medical documents that translators specialising in this field typically work on. There is a long list of medical documents that you can expect to handle as part of medical document translation, such as: 

  • Physician’s Notes
  • Clinical Protocols
  • Case Reports
  • Training Documents
  • Consent Forms
  • Surgical Procedure Explanations
  • Synopses
  • Medical Device Instructions
  • Brochures
  • Medical Regulations

The medical field is regulated by strict quality controls. Without these strict regulations in place, lives could be put at risk. The same is true with medical document translation. Any inaccuracies in the data sheet could be a life-or-death matter for those who will be using that information. It is important to hire the best translators for medical data sheets so it is easily understood and to avoid any significant medical risks. 

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