9 tips to follow for accurate medical terminology translation 

medical terminology
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Medical translation is full of complex industry jargon and terms. It includes reports, patient case files, and insurance claims. It also includes a variety of medical documents. Translation of clinical trials, medical education books, and pharmaceutical translation is a hectic task. This whole lot of content includes a variety of complex medical jargon.

It is extremely challenging to translate medical text and terminology. The process of translating medical terms gets hectic due to the complex and specialized nature of medical language. However, with the right approach and techniques, it is possible to accurately translate medical terms. Here are 9 important tips that can help you effectively translate medical terminology.

1. Understanding root words

The complex terminology requires a particular technique and approach to follow. A number of medical terms are derived from Latin or Greek root words. You as a medical translator need to familiarize yourself with common root words used in medical terminologies. For instance, the terms such as “cardio” for heart, “derm” for skin, “neuro” for nerves, and “osteo” for bones are commonly used by doctors and healthcare staff. Understanding these root words lets you ponder on the root of the word before translating medical terms.

2. Breaking down complex terms

Breaking down complex terms is another important tip for translating complex terminology in the medical field. Following this tip allows you to understand the word quite well. Medical terms are often long and complex, but they can usually be broken down into smaller components. The word “gastroenteritis” is a combination of three words. These are ‘gastro’ and ‘enter’ and itis; where these can be broken down into “gastro-” meaning stomach, “enter-” meaning intestines, and “-itis” meaning inflammation. By understanding the individual components of a medical term, you get a better idea and translate and interpret its meaning really well.

3. Using medical dictionaries & resources

Medical dictionaries and resources are available everywhere. There is a whole lot of these available on the internet too. A certified medical translator online or offline can use these sources conveniently. However, authenticity is important. Medical text and resources have to be authentic to avoid life-threatening consequences. These resources often contain definitions, synonyms, and explanations for medical terms and complex industry jargon. Many of these also contain their translations in different languages. However, it is important to utilize reputable medical dictionaries and resources to have accurate translations.

4. Considering the context

A medical terminology translator understands the significance of the context in medical translation. The context in which a medical term is used can provide important clues to its meaning and background. Furthermore, it is also important to consider the surrounding words, phrases, and sentences to help decipher the intended meaning of a medical term. A term that includes “ectomy” in the context of surgery likely refers to the removal of a body part, such as “appendectomy”. This term is used for the surgical removal of the appendix.

5. Paying attention to suffixes and prefixes

Suffixes and prefixes are commonly used in medical terminology. They serve the purpose of modifying or qualifying the meaning of a term. The word “hypo-“, for instance, means low or below, “hyper-” stands for high or above, and “-itis” indicates inflammation. Understanding common prefixes and suffixes enable you to get the meanings and interpret medical terms more accurately.

6. Considering language nuances

Medical and psychology translation comprises multiple language nuances. Medical language varies across different languages and regions. This is why different terms can be translated differently in different contexts. Therefore, it is important for translators to consider the specific nuances of the target language and culture when translating medical terminology. Many medical conditions have different names in different countries or regions, so it is better to be mindful of these nuances to ensure consistent translated content.

7. Consulting with subject matter experts

This is of the foremost importance to consult the subject matter experts while translating medical terminology. This tip contributes to a more accurate translation. Consulting with subject matter experts, such as medical professionals or translators with expertise in the medical field can fetch positive results. They can provide insights and guidance on specific medical terms that require specialized knowledge or expertise for the accurate translation of the medical text.

8. Proofreading and Verifying

This is the ultimate tip for every type of translation. You should make a point that after completing your translation work you to proofread and verify your translations to ensure accuracy. Medical terminology is precise and errors in translation can have serious consequences. Therefore, cross-checking the translations against reputable sources, and seeking feedback from subject matter experts or native speakers of the target language to ensure the accuracy of your translations should be your practice before submitting the text for further review.

9. Keep learning and stay updated

The process of translation and learning is in constant evolution. Whether you have to deal with medical or psychology translation services, there are new inventions and happenings in every field. They are introducing new terms which didn’t exist earlier. Staying updated with the latest developments in medical language should be a regular practice of the medical translator. They can use multiple mediums such as professional development opportunities, continuing education, and staying updated with the latest medical literature. This also helps them stay current and accurate in their medical translation work.


Translating medical terminology requires a thorough understanding of the language, context, and specialized knowledge of medical concepts. Medical translators should ensure they keep themselves posted about the latest happening in the medical field. Moreover, they should follow certain tips such as utilizing authentic medical resources, consulting with subject matter experts, and continuously updating their knowledge to ensure accurate and precise translations. 

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