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Posted on27 June 2023

The importance of healthcare translation services

Healthcare Translation Services_TranslationAgency

We have recently heard stories about the lack of adequate healthcare translation services, which result in delayed diagnosis. In a place like the United Kingdom, home to a significant number of residents born outside of the UK, providing reliable patient translation services is a matter of life and death.

The impact of medical translation

Translated content is all around us and in some circumstances can even save lives. With the popularity of the English language and development of machine translation and translation apps, translation has started to be seen as an unnecessary expense. However, when it comes to medical document translation and communication concerning health, reliable translation and interpreting services are crucial. Language barriers and lack of access to information in one’s mother tongue can have serious health consequences.

Migrant health guidance

According to the 2021 Census, released by the Office for National Statistics, 7.1% (4.1 million) of the population in England and Wales are proficient in English, without it being their main language. In addition, 1.5% of the population reported not speaking English well and a further 0.3% not being able to speak it at all.

Even if those born outside of the UK can communicate in the language of their country of residence, discussing matters related to health and understanding medical terminology can pose a challenge. An inability to fully understand what’s happening and what is expected of the patient can have dire consequences. That’s why it’s important to ensure clear and accessible communication for everyone in healthcare settings.

The government’s migrant health guide suggests that “all possible efforts must be made to ensure effective communication with patients”. This includes making arrangements as needed if the patient’s native language is one other than English, and they are not comfortable communicating in English about health-related matters. Furthermore, guidance from NHS England and NHS Scotland stipulates that a professional interpreter should always be offered if there’s a language barrier.

It’s also worth noting that the government’s guidance discourages the use of automated translating systems and apps in healthcare settings due to the risk of inaccurate and low quality translations. Inaccurate medical translations can pose a serious health risk to the patient, legal issues, damage to reputation and more.

Reliable healthcare translation services

As a translation agency, we regularly provide our clients with medical translation services. This includes translation of test results, health information leaflets, informed consent forms, and doctor’s letters. Since 2022, we are also a member of the Patient Information Forum, which aims to ensure clear and accessible health information. If you’re looking for NHS translation services, we can help!

We also provide translations in line with the requirements laid out by the General Medical Council, delivering certified translations outlining the accuracy of the translation, and proving our membership with the associations, the Institute of Translation and Interpreting, and Association of Translation Companies.

We work with experienced translators and interpreters of various languages who specialise in medical translation. As a rule, all of our translators translate into their mother tongue. Being an ISO certified translation agency, we are dedicated to high quality service. Apart from proofreading completed by a second experienced translator, we can also offer the additional step of back or reverse translation for those documents that require the most precise accuracy and quality control. You can also be confident that we will treat all documents as confidential.

Whether you’re a private individual looking to translate your medical records from abroad, a social worker, or a medical care practitioner, we can provide you with reliable and high-quality medical translation. Don’t hesitate to give us a call on 01727 812 725 or email

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