;   Medical Translation Insight: What came first: the chicken or the egg? - ForeignExchange Translations

What came first: the chicken or the egg?

When it comes to medical translations, what comes first: the chicken or the egg?When it comes to medical translation, our challenge is not quite as profound but can be similarly perplexing: "How do you ensure quality: by controlling the source text or the translation process?"

Controlling the source refers to implementation of authoring guidelines. This can include things like controlled English, authoring memories, and can be implemented either with or without a content management system (although many medical device and pharmaceutical companies find it easier to implement rules and controls through such a system).

Control of the translation occurs through proper handoffs from writer to translator (context, references, complete set of materials), maintenance of translation memory databases and terminology glossaries, and elimination of author's alterations (i.e., changes to the source text after translation has begun).

Each approach is an improvement over a situation where there is a total lack of control. But it's actually not an either/or issue: You will only control multilingual quality by controlling both items.

Unfortunately, while this sounds straight-forward, it is difficult to do well. Do you have any advice to share?

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