Finding a good medical translator can be tricky, but it’s easy if you know where to look. Here’s how to find the right translator for your project.
Do you need a professional translator, or are there other options?
There are a number of ways to get documents translated, and different options will suit different needs. Have a look at my article on the best way to get medical or healthcare documents translated, for tips on choosing the right approach.
If you decide you need a professional medical translator, you can ask your fellow practitioners for recommendations, or use online directories or search engines to find the right provider.
One of the best ways of finding a good translator is to ask your colleagues if there is anyone they can recommend. Chances are, if they are happy with their translations, you will be, too.
Alternatively, if you are already working with a translator for one language, but now need another language, you could ask your translator to recommend one of their colleagues. The translation community is small and close-knit, so they will probably know someone who would suit.
Using search engines to find a medical translator
These days, many translators have websites with details of their services. This makes it fairly simple to find a selection of translators, if you use the right search terms. When searching, include both your language and the language you need (e.g. German English), and the words ‘medical translator’.
Professional translation association directories
Translation directories are another excellent place to find medical translators. Professional associations for translators and interpreters offer online directories of their members, which you can use free of charge to find a suitable provider.
It is a good idea to check the professional association directories for both the source and target language countries (where the language in the original document is spoken, or where the language in the translated document is spoken). Most of the directories are available in English, and you can usually narrow down the search by choosing the native language of the translator and the specialist field.
Here are links to directories in German- and English-speaking countries, where you can search for a translator:
Germany: BDÜ www.bdue.de, DVÜD www.dvud.de, ADÜ Nord www.adue-nord.de, ATICOM www.aticom.de
Germany: translation of official documents www.justiz-dolmetscher.de/
Switzerland: ASTTI www.astti.ch
Austria: UNIVERSITAS www.universitas.org/
UK: ITI www.iti.org.uk
UK: ITI Medical & Pharmaceutical Network http://www.itimedical.co.uk/
UK/Europe: The EMWA directory includes medical translators and medical writers
USA: ATA www.atanet.org
Australia: AUSIT www.ausit.org
New Zealand: NZSTI www.nzsti.org
Looking for a translator in another country? The umbrella association for translators’ associations, the International Federation of Translators (FIT), has an online directory of associations for translators and interpreters. There is also a listing of translators’ associations on Wikipedia.
For advice and information on what to look for when choosing a translator, have a look at these useful online guides:
ITI UK – advice for translation buyers
Translation – Getting it Right, A guide to buying translation (PDF), and the German translation:
Übersetzung – keine Glückssache, Eine Einkaufshilfe für Übersetzungsdienstleistungen (PDF, in German)