I think all of us ever used or contacted medical records when we or our friends or relatives were sick. As a medical translator, to translate medical records is a common task. However, what should we pay attention to medical records translation? Now, I would like to share some skills about it.
Firstly, we make use of medical terms.
For example, “膀胱炎”、“排尿困难”、体检化验的“结果”， are translated to be cystitis, dysuria, findings, not to be the inflammation of the bladder, difficulties in passing urine, result. Certainly, there are some other special examples, such as “关节炎”(inflammation of a joint). We should remember the medical terms. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand our translation without appropriate medical terms for foreigners.
Secondly, verb only with one word is used more frequently.
In order to express accurately, verb only with one word or verb with one preposition is often used. For example,“她妊娠期间体重增加了 10 公斤”. There are two kind of translation ways: 1. She gained 10kg during her pregnancy. 2. She put on 10kg during her pregnancy.
It is very easily to find out that the first one is more accurate than the second one. “Gain” only has meanings of “get, add”. However, “put on” can express more than one meaning, such as wear, add. Therefore, verb phrase or preposition verb with multi-meaning doesn’t often appear in medical English.
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Thirdly, conjunctions, relative pronouns are generally not omitted. And the selection of pronouns form is made according to its syntax feature.
For example, Jim is doctor Li’s patient who gets a cystitis.
Jim is doctor Li’s patient whose cystitis is serious.
Fourthly, sentences with various types are made use of.
It is not very suitable to use too many simple sentences. Certainly, simple sentence can express meanings concisely and clearly. It is often used to express statements. However, long sentence, compound sentence and complex sentence are often used in logic reasoning, opinion stating, which meets the medical English requirement.
For example,“患者，女，40 岁，已婚。劳累后心悸 10 年左右，因畏寒、发热和踝水肿一个月，于 2011 年 3 月 4 日收入湖南湘雅医院。”There are still two translation versions: 1. The female patient is married with 40 years old. There has been about 10 years with palpitation after doing hard work. And there has been one month that she complained of chills, fever and the edema of the ankle.
On March 4th, 2011, she was admitted into Hunan Xiangya Hospital. 2. The patient, a 40-year-old married female, was admitted to Hunan Xiangya Hospital on March 4th, 2011, because of palpitation, which caused by hard work, has lasted some ten years, and because of chills, fever and the edema of the ankle, which had all continued for one month. Let’s analyze these two translation version.
There are many simple and short sentences in the first one and no strong logic among them. However, in the second one, there is only one sentences including preposition phrases and complex sentences. It is not difficult to find out the logic relation among them. Here, the phrase “because of palpitation” is put at the end of sentence, called end weight. In medical records, the second translation version with strong logic is more commonly made.
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Fifthly, the first sentence is very important.
The first sentence is very important with main content of medical records (that’s the thesis statement ), such as the profession, age, gender, the time and especial reasons of admittance into hospital. It won’t be proper to cut it into several choppy sentence with the same level. Otherwise, it will destroy the integrality of the sentence .
Sixthly, we’ll discuss the tense of medical records.
The information in medical records is often provided by the patient or by doctor’s examination. The things happened in the past. Therefore, the past tense appears more frequently. If the symptom often happens, present tense is used. And if you would like to emphasize the influence by the past condition, we express it by the present perfect tense.
Finally, the style of medical records will be discussed.
Informal style is often used in physical examination part, such as simple sentences, short sentences. Except definite article in idioms, “the” is omitted, and “be” is often abbreviated no matter being linking verbs or auxiliary verb. All of other parts except physical examination, use formal style, whose sentences are often long and strongly logical.
At the end of medical records, there is an abbreviation “M.D.” (means Medical Doctor), which is often put before family name. Dr. X (Dr. + family name) is not used.
The above is my experience during medical translation. We, CCJK, who owns ten years’ medical translation experience, can supply you professional medical translation service. If you have this kind of requirement, please feel free to contact us, CCJK.
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