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How To Be Qualified For Medical Translation Jobs?

Posted by Anne Q. on December 14, 2021.

Due to the high degree of complexity and the hazards that any inaccuracy may cause, medical translation is one of the most difficult forms of translation services. That is why being proficient in a language pair isn’t enough for medical translators or interpreters.

Besides ongoing training and years of experience, what else might this career require? Let’s take a look at today’s article to gain useful tips to become a medical linguist.

What is Medical Translation? Is it Different from Medical Interpretation?

Most language professionals in the medical field manage medical data and classify materials that have a direct effect on people’s health. Therefore, medical translation and interpretation both require linguists to have high qualifications and unique skills. However, the two professions are vastly different since they involve operating in different environments with distinctive tools.

Medical Translation

Medical translation requires absolute precision for the medical written material, whether they are patient case reports, product information booklets, or packaging information for the pharmaceutical business.

Medical Translator

Medical translators need to have a background in medicine and translation fluency. They might deal with documents like clinical trials, clinical protocols, package inserts, labels, manufacturing process descriptions, production manuals, protocols, pharmacological investigations, scientific journal articles, and regulatory papers.

Their common clients are medical equipment makers, pharmaceutical businesses, healthcare executives, and clinical research groups (CROs). Customers will highly expect error-free documents and confidential information from medical translators.

Medical Interpretation

As for medical interpreters, they rarely have to handle the documents. Their main job is to help patients communicate with healthcare practitioners across languages without cultural obstacles. They are comparable to mediators that support patients communicating with their doctors when they don’t speak the same language.

Medical Interpretation

Medical interpretation requires extensive medical terminology knowledge in both the source and target languages. Because, no matter which side is speaking, the interpreter might have to translate from two languages.

To grasp what the patient is saying then transfer it correctly to the doctors, a medical translator must understand the body language and medical terminology. Medical interpretation services are available on-site, over the phone, and via video conferencing. To give correct service, the language expert in both circumstances must be double focused on the patient’s demands.


What Does it Take to Be A Medical Translator?

If you have a passion for becoming a qualified medical translator, you should start from the basics.

Medical Knowledge

You will need technical skills to work as a medical translator, and a background in medical-related to the subject you’re translating. A medical translator should also be familiar with the country’s regulations they are working in. In most nations, strict laws govern the approval of medicines and medical treatments. Any mistake might create delays for your customer or possibly the denial of selling a certain pharmaceutical in local marketplaces.

Medical Experience

Thousands of medical phrases are used in the medical sector, yet they are seldom interchangeable. To make your job simpler, you should have access to quality resources and precise glossaries of terminology.

Translation Skills

Since a medical translator usually has to spend time to read through the sources, study the information, and then generate a translated document, you must be able to communicate in at least two languages, and a thorough understanding of medical jargon is essential.

Especially, you must include various levels of control in your translated material about this field. It is critical to proofread your translation numerous times before giving it to the customer.


The certifications have some true values for medical translators. These qualifications confirm the in-depth knowledge of medical terminology and an absolute understanding of usage, which is the key for anyone to become a translator in demand.

So, a medical translator must have at least a high school graduation, or even more a Bachelor’s Degree in translation or the Medical field. If you have a degree or have finished a medical assistant program, it might be extremely helpful.

Moreover, before working as a medical translation, you need a certification from the National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters (CMI) to prove your proficiency.


With so many clinical trials being undertaken across the world, there is a constant demand for translation services. When looking for a medical document translation business to help with clinical trial translation, the clients might prefer the one that has a lot of expertise with international standards and laws.

So one important factor is you must have experience working in the medical industry. But it is not a problem since you can improve your skills by self-study and simply start with some small-scale medical translation projects.


How to Improve Your Chance of Getting Medical Translation Jobs?

As a medical translator, there are a few things you can do to expand your knowledge and get more job opportunities.

Invest in Medical Books and Journals

Reading easy-to-follow medical books is one of the finest ways to improve your medical knowledge. Medical journals for young learners are also available. Because you will be conducting a lot of research both online and offline, you should bookmark all outstanding websites. It is also vital to invest in decent medical dictionaries and medical translation literature in your target languages.

Medical Research and Books

Reading up on your chosen subject of translation can boost your confidence in your ability to work as a medical translator. Moreover, you must keep your medical knowledge up to date on a regular basis by reading constantly, so a comprehensive glossary is necessary.

Take Courses

There are a variety of free online courses available for persons with a non-medical background. The program can assist medical translators to improve subject-matter comprehension and medical terminology.

Some of these courses are self-paced, allowing you to begin at any time, while others begin on a specific day. You can sign up and view the course materials if you missed the start date, but the course is still running. Or you can “watch” it to be notified of future sessions if the course has ended.

You can find several informative medical programs of leading universities on Coursera, EdX, and FuruteLearn.

Get More Experience 

Finding a job as a medical translator in a reputable healthcare institution or a suitable firm might be difficult for newcomers. Because in this profession, experience is highly required.

But don’t worry because you cant begin with small first steps. It’s a good idea for newbies to start with non-critical tasks like translating product information or summarizing product characteristics. You might also consider translating marketing materials for pharmaceutical or medical device companies. As you gain experience with the language, you may be able to translate case histories, patient information, diagnoses, and other documents.

After that, you can choose to volunteer with non-profit projects. The UN, Translations for Progress, Translators Without Borders are good options for you to take part in. These adventures give you real-world experience, refer to more experience in your CV, and you also can ask for testimonials from the clients after each assignment to determine your abilities.


Wrap Up

Becoming an expert in medical translation might sound difficult to beginners, but after getting a better understanding of certain requirements that we have mentioned above, you are fully capable of achieving this career with passion and determination.

Become our translator

So, if you believe you are qualified to be a translator and would like to get real experience working on ambitious translation projects, submit your CV to to become a member of GTE Localize.