Samatova Akmerei Gabitovna1, Zorina Olga Sergeyevna1
1Karaganda State Medical University, student

The article is dedicated to the problems of adequate rendering of medical texts. The problems that are being discussed in the article are connected with the specifics of medical texts and possible ways of making good, equivalent, adequate translation in this sphere. There are also some ideas about implementation of innovative methods, which can help with the improvement of translators’ qualification in specialized sphere.

Keywords: adequacy, assignment, coherence, competence, equivalence, hypothesis, professionalisms, rendering, Skopos

Category: 10.00.00 Philology

Article reference:
Adequate translation of medical texts and ways of its fulfillment // Modern scientific researches and innovations. 2016. № 2 [Electronic journal]. URL:

View this article in Russian

Translation is compared with flowers behind glass: you can see and evaluate them, without possibility to touch and smell. Translation is the activity aimed at rendering of a source text into a target text. Any translation should possess a number of qualities: adequacy, high level of equivalence, contextual coherence. Adequacy of translation depends on the discussed and approved aim, on the audience which is going to perceive a target text or speech. Adequate translation is given when the audience perceives the same idea which was created by the author of the text/speech. At the same time such translation is oriented to the main direction of the source text/speech and is given with respect to these peculiarities.   For example, translation of special documents is based on so-called professionalisms; these are words reflecting specific features of medical, juridical, educational professional activity. The most obvious point here is polysemy, which complicates the work of a translator or an interpreter.

Experienced translators state that there are some additional points when making an agreement about the translation of some documents [1]. These points include detailing of the following clients’ needs: deadline of translation and target language; e-mail address that will be used as a final destination of an accomplished translated version; the necessary format of the text; what text should be translated firstly; the necessity of translation some additional points (tables, graphs, charts, footers etc.); assignment of the translation (should it be in the form of a presentation, site page or something similar).

An experienced translator can evaluate the scope of the given source text even if it is presented in an uncustomary format. It is very important to have such an experience because it will help to avoid emergency work.

In fact, unfortunately, an ordinary translator gets only a source text and information about its deadline, and managers in translation agencies don’t have enough time to discover all these facts properly. So, the only way to simplify the work process for a translator is to communicate with the client by phone.

Adequacy of translation is a voluminous phenomenon, which includes not only the Skopos  of a source text, but also all additional demands and extra-conditions: special terminology, professionalisms, change in a language through time, stylistic connotation of the target text, orientation upon the audience or only one receiver of the text [2].

One of the most important, sophisticated and tricky translation directions is medical translation.

Medical texts are initially very difficult for understanding. They have such stumbling points for a translator like: medical professionalisms; necessity of being consulted by medical specialists of the widest range; not knowing about how, when and where to reveal the meaning of some polysemantic words.

Translation of medical texts and references is one of the most required types of translation nowadays. This type of translation demands thorough work with dictionaries and manuals, because imagination must be excluded here. The dependence of a diagnosis and treatment on a proper translation is obvious, so a translator understands the whole responsibility and importance of an adequate translation.

At the same time medical texts which are fully equipped with special terms can be understood and translated with the help of various reference books, manuals, dictionaries and textbooks that are presented in a wide range in any library, e-library, book store.

It can be rather interesting to work with such text because the process of understanding medical issues, diagnoses, innovations and discoveries can be very useful for broadening background, helpful in everyday life, care of relatives and friends.

The minuses of medical texts translation lie in the variability of different terms and shortenings, Latin borrowings etc; lots of negative information that can badly influence sensitive persons. Of course, there are lots of things that can be repeated; they simplify the translation process but the speed in such a translational type is rather slow, because every term should be decoded and checked thoroughly.

The most difficult genres in medical translation are: medical tests, new medical equipment, dentistry texts etc.

Modern translation is so complicated that a translator cannot achieve the sufficient level of competence in it through all his/her life and career. He/she cannot relax and enjoy his professional qualification; any knowledge will be useful in present and future work. Knowledge is always insufficient [1].

Here the question arises about the necessity of acquiring the second educational qualification. It would be helpful in the professional translator’s activity only in the case when a translator specifies on this exact sphere of knowledge. In other case this professional qualification will disappear or will take only 10-20 % of activity [1].

There is also a point in the special attitude of graduates with the second diploma. It is not a rule, but very often people who have the second educational qualification show negligence in the translation. Modern realias influence the quality of education, especially the second degree.

Experienced translators think that acquiring the 2nd education resembles attending educational courses. So, it doesn’t guarantee high level of competence in translation.

Medical universities include educational program, which contains training upon specified subjects and foreign languages as well. It is very important for medical students to show good knowledge in metalinguistic field. Latin, English, German, French, Spanish, Chinese languages, – knowledge in this sphere helps doctors to feel confident and independent in every business trip and at any qualification exam.

It is easy to study and practice foreign languages at medical universities because there are a lot of possibilities to practice knowledge: in the practical skills’ centers for meddies, during local internship and abroad.

There are so many events that help to improve knowledge of foreign languages at medical universities. For example, students of Karaganda state medical university can attend special classes, clubs and conferences which are aimed at summarizing profound knowledge of foreign languages.

The thematic scope of such events is closely connected with medical terminology, innovations and postulates of medicine.

So, we have a hypothesis that it would be very useful to create special courses at medical universities, which will have several directions of work:

  • Speaking clubs with native speakers, aiming at improvement of  students’ knowledge;
  • Consulting center for translators;
  • Help with the decoding of medical handwritings; shortenings etc.;
  • Organizing of academic mobility for students and teachers of the university.

These centers can be registered in the function of educational institutions submitting to the Ministry of education of the state. Any translator or interpreter in the case of misunderstanding or when looking for a consultation would ask professional advice from people who are in direct connection with this sphere of knowledge and activity.

Such centers may be useful not only for translators of medical texts, but also for people who work with any other field of technical texts’ translation.

  2. Vermeer H.J. 1989. “Skopos and Commission in Translational Action”, – The Translation Studies Reader. London. New York: Routledge, 221

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