The speed of technological innovations in the 21st Century is clearly accelerating. New technologies and advancements are driving the translation industry today as they are in all facets of our society.
When reviewing medical translation, it is important to understand market forces, relationships and technologies which are altering the status quo in the translation industry in general.
Discussions for the last decade have revolved around the possibility of machine-aka computer-translation taking over the industry. Can our wireless devices and laptops accurately translate material from one language to another? Will it require constant updating of new language data and will it effectively control translation memories? Who will scrutinize these changes-professionals and academics who are immersed in the material on a daily basis or will words and concepts be monitored by computer techies who have no prior knowledge of the subject at hand?
These questions take on even greater importance in the field of medicine. With health care, for example, with its highly technical and scientific nature, proper translation can be a matter of life and death. An incorrect interpretation of a medical condition and a recommendation for treatment must be 100% accurate. For pharmaceutical manufacturers and medical device makers who bring new products to the market and must present promotional and regulatory materials, correct translation takes on an even greater significance.
When journals and other texts provided by medical companies, healthcare providers, drug companies and other health personnel are distributed to other countries or when medical records of international travelers are shared among physicians in different countries, there is simply no room for incorrect translations.
It is known that Israel is a leader in medical technology and research. For this reason they always use a proffesional Hebrew medical translation service in order to make sure that the medical docummentation is up to par. Many Eupopean countries follow this example in order to impover their logs and journal at an international level.
What is certain, however, is that information dissemination is growing explosively, and translation machines are making inroads into the core business of language. With the shift towards multimedia content and mobile devices, and the increasing pressure to deliver content on a real-time basis, we can anticipate changes in the field of medical translation in cost, time and quality.