Medical translation has become a central part of the academic and medical response to global pandemics. This began in 1918, in the aftermath of the Spanish flu epidemic, which swept across the globe killing an estimated 50 million people. In total, some 500 million people were infected, which was around a quarter of the global population at the time. It is thought that one of the primary reasons for the devastating impact of Spanish flu was the lack of professional medical translation. This prevented countries from sharing information about the disease and tips about how to best counter it.
The lessons learned from Spanish flu
There were many lessons to be learned from the catastrophic consequences of Spanish influenza and the way it was handled by governments around the world. Central institutions and policies were subsequently put in place and global organisations, such as the World Health Organization (WHO), were created to research, analyse and share information about serious medical conditions. The aim was to create a rapid and global medical response that could mitigate the human, economic and social impact of future outbreaks.
The role of certified medical translation
The services of certified and medical translators have since become an integral part of the global response to any pandemic or natural disaster. The use of machine translation has increased dramatically over the last few years, but when it comes to communicating the latest information about outbreaks such as COVID-19 and the SARS outbreak of 2003, only trained and certified translation professionals are used. While machine translation can produce accurate literal translations, in a field as full of nuance and technical terminology as medicine, human translators provide the unwavering accuracy required.
A global shortage of translation professionals
In the current coronavirus pandemic, information is being routinely shared between nations and dispensed by the World Health Organization to countries around the world. Unfortunately, a worldwide shortage of certified medical translators and interpreters is threatening to delay the global crisis response. According to official figures, the requirement for interpreters and translators is projected to grow by 19% from 2018 to 2028, far outstripping many other occupations.
In the coronavirus outbreak, the number of cases introduced by foreign nationals has created the need for medical translators and interpreters at a local level. Having interpreters at medical centres around the world is an effective way to disseminate accurate information in a language those suffering from the virus and in high-risk categories can understand. That’s why professional medical translation is so crucial to the global response and management of this crisis.
Medical translation you can rely on
At Linguistica International, we have a team of mother-tongue medical translators with translation qualifications and professional medical experience. The result is medical translation that you can trust, even in the most testing times. Call 02392 987 765 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements with our team.