What Are the Risks of Medical Mistranslations? | How To Deal With Them?

In the healthcare field, accurate and clear communication is significant to ensure the well-being and safety of patients. Medical services providers and hospitals around the globe are striving to expand their reach to wider audiences. However, content translations are becoming essential to communicate with foreign audiences and provide them with more personalized services.

Healthcare providers have to deal with poorly translated content on a regular basis. Mistranslations do not just have a bad impact on your overall brand credibility but they also put your patient’s health at risk, which can be life-threatening.

Risks of Medical Mistranslations

As we know that medical translations are not like any other conventional translations, and mistranslations in medical documents can have a devastating impact on a patient’s health. If you’re not hiring credible resources for medical translations, you’re putting your reputation at stake as a healthcare service provider. The same thing goes with pharmaceutical translation services because these companies are also directly dealing with the health of patients.

To avoid the consequences of poorly translated content, you have to identify the major causes of translations and try to avoid them to achieve high-quality and accurate translation results.

3 Major Causes of Medical Mistranslations 

Unprofessional Translators

Most of the time, it is the negligence of translators that leads to inaccurate and low-quality translations. The medical and scientific translation service provider has to be very careful while hiring translators. Firstly, it is important to hire someone who has native-level expertise in the target language. Not just that your translators should also have sufficient experience in medical translations.

Poor Understanding of Target Audiences

Knowing your target audience is also significant to generate accurate and resonating translations. You have to keep in mind for whom you are actually translating. Is it a research paper that you are translating for foreign medical researchers and students? Is it a medical test report you are translating to be understood by a non-native doctor? Or, maybe it is just an article for the generic audience for informational purposes only. In all of the above cases, the level of expertise required by your translators will be different.

Poor QA Processes

In the end, the other major cause of poor-quality medical translations is ineffective QA processes used by an LSP providing professional medical and pharmaceutical translation solutions. They don’t have proper QA testing tools in place to screen the translations for potential errors and mistakes. Similarly, in the case of manual proofreading, the content should be reviewed and edited by 3 professional translators. So, make sure you are not cutting corners to avoid the medical translation services cost.

How To Avoid Medical Mistranslations?

By following the tips below, you can avoid making translation mistakes in your translations and achieve accurate and clear communication.

Work With Experienced Linguists 

Most importantly, you must have the best linguists on your team because if the first draft of the translation is not good enough, you can’t fix it through editing. Before hiring any translator, always evaluate their credibility through testing. You can’t really trust whatever they have claimed in their resumes. Similarly, you have to hire someone who is not just experienced but has reasonable medical translation rates that match your budget.

Utilize A Professional Translation System 

You can also get help from a professional translation management system that comes with tools to effectively manage your everyday translation tasks. Such tools support your translation teams, reduce their translation load and enhance their performance significantly. Traditional ways of managing translations are also one of the major causes of mistakes and errors because of excessive human intervention and manual handling of operations.

Use A Translation Glossary 

When dealing with multiple translators, it gets hard to approach each translator one by one and discuss in detail all the requirements and translation instructions. To make it easier, you create a translation glossary and distribute it among all translators. It will not just save you time but also keep the translation tone consistent. Moreover, you can also mention the brand terms and other medical terminologies in target languages that translators must use while doing translations.

Proper QA Testing & Proofreading

The most important step to avoid all errors, even if they are overlooked by translators, is to keep your proofreading and QA testing effective. When it comes to quality assurance, you must use both automated testing tools as well as expert human proofreading. It will help you keep your QA testing agile and effective at the same time. You can use a professional TMS tool that comes with proper QA testing features to make your QA processes more convenient.


Professional medical service provider companies need to be very careful while dealing with international patients and audiences. Clear and effective communication is critical in the medical field, especially when dealing with organizations and doctors who don’t speak your native languages. So, there is a need to be very careful while translating medical content. Make sure to follow the tips in this article to avoid all medical translation mistakes in the first place.