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7 Tips For Solving Chinese Medical Translation Challenges

Posted by Anne Q. on April 25, 2022.

China’s healthcare industry has risen quickly, allowing the country to move from a pharmaceutical manufacturing base to a vital R&D centre. As a result, China has solidified its position as a key player in the global pharmaceutical market, both as a consumer and as a base for expanding R&D. The Chinese medical market, therefore, becomes one of the most potential destinations for foreign medical cooperations to enter.

The demand for Chinese medical translation services has grown tremendously accordingly. However, due to the complexity of medical content, it is not an easy task for businesses in the healthcare and medicine industry to get highly-accurate translations that adhere to the Chinese legal system and medical requirements.

In today’s post, let’s discuss 7 challenges of Chinese medical translation and find the best solutions to overcome these issues.

1. Pay Attention to Drug Names

You should be extra careful when handling Chinese drug names. It is highly recommended that you know the differences between drug names and INNs (International Nonproprietary Name). INN is a distinct name that is not the same as the drug name.

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For example, if you want to translate Tylenol into Chinese, the end recipient would benefit from knowing the INN so that a comparable medicine could be found. Only by then does the medical translator can exactly translate Tylenol into Chinese.


2. Don’t Overlook the Writing Style and Punctuation

When it comes to Chinese medical translation, especially translation for classical medicine, you need to pay extra attention to the style of Chinese medical writing. Chinese, for instance, has a peculiar rhythm and grammar that results in mellifluous phrases composed of five or seven words.

These rules and structures are challenging to replicate in translation, especially because the majority of Chinese medical classics were written in a traditional literary style with no punctuation.

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To make sure your Chinese medical translation is accurate and well-accepted by your target audience, you should always work with native Chinese translators who have a deep understanding of Chinese medical writing styles. You should also prepare a style guide to let your translators know your requirements and preference for styles and punctuation of the final Chinese medical translation.


3. Be Careful with Special Period Languages

Classical medical Chinese text has a distinct syntax and structure that necessitates a thorough understanding in order to interpret and translate. When handling a classic Chinese medical translation or modern text with many quotes from the classics, translators must be versed in basic classical grammatical patterns.

Many classic Chinese medical materials include commentary from various time periods which require translators to have some understanding of the historical, literary, and lyrical references. This necessitates a fundamental understanding of history and culture.


4. Handle Medical Terms

When translating medical text from a language to Chinese, there are three methods Chinese medical translators use to devise equivalents for technical terminologies:

    • Using loanwords without translation
    • Using a term with a loan translation
    • Using an English phrase that is either a technical term derived from biomedicine or a word that is not a technical term in common usage.


5. Ambiguous Abbreviations and Acronyms

While abbreviations are short versions of phrases and words, acronyms are a group of initials that signify a word or terminology. Abbreviations and acronyms are challenging for Chinese medical translation professionals to deal with, especially if these words have Latin roots.


6. Gain a Mutual Understanding of the Products

It is critical that you devote sufficient time to providing information about the related-medical products or technology to your Chinese medical translators. Meanwhile, the translators should also do some self-research to make sure they fully understand what they are about to translate. Although these activities are time-consuming, they have a direct influence on the final Chinese medical translation’s quality.

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It would also be beneficial if the translator could directly interact with the medical products. This can be done by taking a close look at your website or you can allow the translators to observe the manufacturing process firsthand.


7. Use Translation Technology

The use of computer-assisted translation tools (CAT tools) is always recommended for any translation projects. When it comes to Chinese medical translation project which requires utmost accuracy and consistency in the translations, CAT tools become indispensable.


Wrap Up

Chinese medical translation is no doubt one of the most challenging types of content for any translators and companies. Excellent translators play an important role in guaranteeing the quality of your project.

In addition to having a thorough understanding of subject-specific Chinese medical terminology, the Chinese medical translation provider you work with should also have comprehensive access to all necessary sources, such as Chinese glossaries, traditional dictionaries, reference books, Internet materials, medical research articles, and more.

If you are looking for a professional Chinese medical translation agency that can help you accurately translate medical content into the Chinese language, look no further than GTE Localize. With years of experience in medical translation in the Chinese market, GTE Localize is confident to bring you the best-in-class translation at the most reasonable price.

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Book a 1:1 consultancy with GTE Localize’s medical translation experts and get your projects kicked off now!