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Medical Translations

Correct Medical Translations Are Essential

Anyone who works in the medical field knows a correct medical translation is important. One group of students in Quebec, Canada claim a poor translation of a nursing exam, which was required for them to become registered nurses, led to them not passing the exam. The students complaining about the bad translation were among about 470 students who chose to take the exam in English instead of its original French form.

Complaints about the test include claims that there were missing words or words for which the meanings were unclear. For example, one student said there was a question asking if it was appropriate to place a ‘tray’ in front of geriatric patient. Some English-speaking students took this to mean a cafeteria tray. The French version of the test used the word ‘tablette,’ which is an object used to restrain a patient in a chair. A cafeteria tray and an object to restrain a patient are definitely two different things.

Gabriela Mizrahi, who took the English version of the exam and who was among those who did pass, said many of her classmates who failed were only one to four percent away from passing the exam. Although she passed the exam, she admitted:

I really don’t know if I was answering the right question because I had to sort of guess what was being asked of me.

People should never have to guess what is being expected of them due to a poor translation. Whether a nursing exam, directions for medication, or a medical manual, the person reading it should never be confused due to a vague or inaccurate translation.

Although officials claim there was a lengthy process to ensure an accurate translation of the exam Mizrahi and her peers took, she along with over 350 other people have signed a petition demanding changes to the way the exam is translated. They want to make sure future English-speaking nursing students do not have to face the confusion they dealt with this September. To avoid confusion in your own medical translations, contact us. At our translation company we are dedicated to always providing the most accurate translation of medical documents.

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