The medical field is a discipline undergoing continuous change, both in terms of innovations in treatment and new developments in the information technology and e-documentation. The wide range of possibilities for subspecialties and the lucrative nature of the industry’s enduring growth, despite a rather lackluster economy, make specializing in medical and life sciences translation an intriguing option. However, translators entering this field will need to embrace technology in order to service.
Medical translators are already required to be well versed in medical terminology and to keep up with advances in research, technology, procedures, and standard of care, so the ever-changing context of the field presents additional challenges. Translators must remain vigilant to ensure that they acquire and maintain the necessary skill set to stay ahead of the technological curve.
Translation is still translation, but expectations have changed in terms of productivity, timeliness, and integration. Medical translators spend much of their time translating source documentation and case report forms (CRFs) so that international data from multicenter studies can be collected and harmonized.
Most medical translators are all too familiar with CRFs, the standardized form used by clinical sites to transcribe relevant data from patient medical charts (the “source documentation”) and compile it with data from other sites around the world to create a statistical pool for study data analysis. As clinical trials expand globally, a properly internationalized and localized eCRF application is essential to provide faster, less expensive, and more consistent translations. The key features of the eCRF are that it provides:
Japan may not be the best in the world when it comes to speaking English, but it remains a pioneer in developing cutting-edge translation technology.
With the 2020 Tokyo Olympics approaching, the nation is once again plotting to surprise the world, this time with high-quality, real-time machine translation systems.
Public and private institutions are working eagerly to develop and upgrade the technology so it can easily be used by tourists, whose numbers are growing sharply
There is nothing especially novel about machine translation, a technology that reaches back to 1951, when a team from IBM and Georgetown University first demonstrated a computer’s ability to translate short phrases from English into Russian. In 63 years, the machines involved in machine translation have evolved. What a warehouse-sized computer could do in 1951, a laptop can do even better today.