Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Just what the doctor ordered
I am always stricken by how versatile legal proceedings can be. Contracts can be about a plethora of subject matters: construction, telecommunications, engineering or animal husbandry to name a few. Certificates, though more limited in scope, deal with major life events: birth, marriage and death. Home studies and social worker reports, though not always strictly legal in nature, often describe children's physical and mental health issues.
It is no wonder then that my medical terminology database and my knowledge of all things medical are growing by the month even though I am anything but a medical translator. I couldn't be happier though, because there is scarcely a subject matter under the sun that I am not interested in.
Additionally, as long as I am not translating a manual on open heart surgery or something else along those lines, I am consoled by the fact that a) there are many, many medical resources on the Internet whether they be bilingual and monolingual glossaries and dictionaries or comprehensive explanations for the layperson (yours truly) b) most terms have a one-to-one correspondence. Not only that, most terms are cognates of Latin or Greek origin in both Spanish and English so there isn't much guesswork. Cardiología couldn't be anything else but cardiology and hospital, well the obvious.
On that note, one difference I do see is more lay terms accepted in English than in Spanish. In English, as an adjective you see lung and heart as well as pulmonary and cardiac, whereas in Spanish, you will most likely see pulmonar and cardíaco exclusively.
As always, anticipate your upcoming translations. If you go to the doctor, pay attention to any and all documentation related to your visit. Be sure to save all tests and scan them if they are not already in digital format. That way, when you are hit with that 10,000 word social services report, you have something on file and ready to go.
Here is a good site for blood tests in English.