This situation is caused by a series of factors such as:
1) Health care reform and medical sector development;
2) Harshness of immigration laws that require a series of medical documentation;
3) The increase of lawsuits related to medical examination and translation of medical reports.
Medical translators are professional writers with translation skills and medical expertise. It is not sufficient to be fluent in two languages in order to become a professional medical translator; it is required a suite of translation and medical skills which are easily proven by extensive expertise in medical translations. Many of medical translators are nurse assistants, nurses, doctor’s assistants, and even doctors. However, be very conscious about asking doctors to perform the translation for you, because they may charge you based on doctor’s hourly pay which sometimes reaches a couple of hundred dollars.
Healthcare translators are selected based on multiple stringent criteria. According to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, a professional translator should have at least a bachelor’s degree. This is not a universal standard because it represents a general information per industry. Even though multiple non-governmental organization issue certifications for limited language pairs, no governmental institution regulates the standards of becoming a certified medical translator nor issue certification of any type for translators. As a result, regulations on medical translations are being reserved to non-governmental institutions and private entities.
On the other hand, some countries have governmental licensing programs for translators. Only those translators, that receive a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages and meet the expertise requirements, are allowed to sit for the licensing examination. Once the applicant successfully passed the examination, he or she becomes a licensed translator, also known as a sworn translator.
In the USA, translation agencies offer quality assurance programs for medical translations. Quality standards are set in procedures and regulations of several professional organizations such as The American Society for Testing and Materials, Localization Industry Standards Association, and International Organization for Standardization.