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How To Become a Biology Translator?

Posted by Ethan N. on September 26, 2023.

The intersection of biology and translation offers a distinct and vital niche for individuals who bridge the gap between researchers, medical experts, and the rest of the world. In this blog post, we’ll look at the necessary skills required for a biology translator as well as the challenges of working as a biological translator.

1. The Intersection of Biology and Translation

Biology, among many other subjects of sciences, is extremely fast-moving and fiercely competitive. Novel biology research and advancements are made every single day. These development efforts are required to be documented and shared across the world to encourage global collaboration as well as making clinical trials and data sharing more accessible and supporting advancements in many other fields.


Given this broad and international nature, biology translation services are always in high demand. Biology translation covers a wide range of content such as biology academic journals, publications, medical records, regulatory information, and other documents for clinical research organisations and pharmaceutical companies. Specialised biology translators play an important role in bridging the gap between scientific complexities and effective global communication. One of the functions of biology translators is to convert complicated biological concepts and research findings into language that a broader audience can absorb. In other words, biology translation service providers help disseminate knowledge, and bridge linguistic and cultural differences while making medical and scientific information accessible to those who need it.

2. Skill Sets Required for a Biology Translator

Biology translator is a highly demanding job that requires you to have a variety of skill sets to be able to meet the job’s high requirements. Here are some core skills that a great biology translation provider must have:

  • Bilingual Proficiency: Similar to any other type of translator, a biology translator must be fluent in at least two languages. It is highly recommended that the target language is the first language of the translator. Besides being able to speak the language well, a biology translator must have a thorough understanding of both the source and target languages. This can be obtained through language education and training.
  • Biology knowledge: Considering the intricacies of biology, a biology translator is required to have a solid background in biology and/or related scientific knowledge. Having a deep understanding of complicated biological concepts, vocabulary, and jargon is a must to deliver accurate scientific knowledge between languages through biology translations.
  • Attention to Detail: Having the ability to pay attention to details is an important skill for translators as they need to guarantee the highest accuracy for translated documents. This is even more important when it comes to biology translation considering the high level of content complexity.

3. Educational Background

The majority of biology translators start their career as biology translators with a degree in sciences such as biology, biochemistry, pharmaceutical, and other related fields. This gives them a solid foundation required to comprehend complicated biology knowledge.


4. Certifications and Training

Additionally, biology translators are required to get qualifications in languages to give them the ability to understand both languages and cultures. Language certifications and training play a pivotal role in ensuring an accurate and well-localized biology translation. If you have a background in biology and expect to work as a biology translator, you can consider getting certification offered by some well-known translation associations such as the American Translators Association (ATA). Besides, continuous engagement in workshops, online courses, and seminars is important for biology translators to keep their knowledge up to date.

5. Gaining Experience

As the old saying goes practice makes perfect, the more biology translation projects you engage in, the better your translation skills become. Working on real-world biology translation projects allows you to practice your translation skills, learn about the common traps in translating biology content, and improve your problem-solving skills.

If you have not gotten much experience in translating biology content, the best approach is to volunteer or intern at healthcare organizations or translation agencies. The hands-on experience you get will hone your skills, broaden your networks, and gradually establish your name in the industry.

6. Tools of the Trade

To improve your work efficiency and your biology translations’ accuracy, the use of modern translation technology is highly recommended. Biology translators typically make use of a wide range of translation tools such as:

  • CAT tools such as SDL Trados or memoQ are widely used by translators in biology. CAT Tools allows translators to manage terminology and maintain the consistency of their translations throughout the project. As biology translation normally contains numerous terminologies, the use of CAT tools significantly enhances the translation quality while saving biology translators a great deal of time.
  • Access to online resources and scientific resources: Biology translations require translators to do extensive research on different topics and concepts. Thus, the use of different online databases and scientific literature is needed.
  • Terminology management: Creating a biology terminology and glossary is an essential step for biology translators before working on any biology translation project.
  • Communication tools: For effective and accurate biology translations, constant communication between translators and clients as well as translators and other linguists such as editors and proofreaders is required. Thus, translators need support from emails, video conferencing, and other project management software.

7. Building a Portfolio

Once you start having more experience with biology translation projects, it’s time to compile a portfolio to showcase your great skills. This is an important step to help you get more projects and clients. A strong portfolio for biology translators should demonstrate your qualifications, linguistic skills, and translation software that you are fluent in. In addition, you should include a variety of your past work to demonstrate your ability and adaptability to different types of biology translations.

8. Challenges and How to Overcome Them

Besides dealing with highly complex content, biology translators usually face strict deadlines. As mentioned, biology is a fast-moving field which requires translators to work under tight time constraints to deliver translations quickly and efficiently. Thus, biology translators need to practice effective time management and project planning skills. The use of translation tools is also extremely helpful.

Finding new clients is also a big struggle for many new biology translators. To overcome this challenge, you should consider expanding your networking by joining events and webinars as well as learning more about marketing yourself.

To Wrap Up

Becoming a biology translator is a challenging yet rewarding journey for anyone with a strong interest in science and a deep passion for languages. By mastering the essential skills, obtaining qualifications, gaining practical experience, and utilizing translation tools, prospective translators can bridge the gap between biology and translation successfully.

If you are interested in working with a global professional team of biology translators and handling big biology translation projects for top companies in the world, apply to become a part of GTE Localize’s translators team.