Effective medical translation is not only about the words

Medical translation demands getting it as absolutely close to perfect as possible. The words have to be right, but they are just part of the equation. The nuances and subtleties, slang and idiom that distinguish one culture from another are other important facets. Truly effective medical translators know this. What some may not know is that even the formatting of your materials can have an impact on how well you are able to reach your patients.

Apparent incidentals like fonts, line breaks, graphics, and other elements can actually have different meanings in different cultures. In Japan, for example, italicizing will only confuse most readers. And if you wish to identify something as important or want to show respect, it’s best to use additional punctuation marks or double-width characters. Other characteristics like bolding, underlining, and stylized character sets are also issues in Japanese and should be used sparingly.

These are important considerations. Overlooked, they can impact the effectiveness of what might be an otherwise accurate language translation. Identifying and responding to these details is one of the places your language services provider (LSP) can really add value. Work with them to make sure the design of your materials is strengthening, and not undermining, your message.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage


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