We know that medical translation isn't for everybody. But among those translators who want to specialize in medical translations, the most common question is "How do I get started?".
Andy Bell of AAA Scandinavian Translations provided a great response to this question last year, on the There's Something About Translation blog. He provides realistic and specific pointers like:
I would suggest that if you’re planning to translate patient notes, medical records, surgical texts or journal articles then you might consider a course in medical writing/editing, read prolifically around the subject ("Medical Translation Step by Step" by Vicent Resurrecio and Maria Gonzalez Davies is excellent) or even consider working in a hospital on a paid or volunteer basis if you really want to get a handle on the language of medicine.Take a look at the full interview - it's well worth the read.
Andy's comment that you "can't 'best guess' medical translation" identifies the crux of the problem faced by new-comers. Luckily, the book that Andy mentions, Medical Translation Step by Step, is a terrific tool to help beginner medical translators acquire insight and develop a suitable work style.
The book, which is published by St. Jerome Publishing, covers three main areas: medical writing, translation practice, and exploration of different paths to learning.
The 250-page book does a really good job of explaining the process of medical translation. Spread-out over seven chapters and two appendices, the book offers a comprehensive and practical textbook on medical translation.
For more information, take a look at the book review that appeared in The Journal of Specialised Translation. You can also get a sense of one of the author's experience and approach by reading The Acquisition of Translation Competence.
For other interesting books, take a look at:
ForeignExchange Translations provides specialized medical translation services to biopharma and medical equipment companies.