What you need to know about medical translation projects and how to find a translator


As a member of the Societé Française des Traducteurs, the professional association for translators in France, I apply the general terms of sale it recommends.

Click on the link to read them in full: Terms and Conditions

I need an article translating into English and German. You’re trilingual. So that’s fine, right?

-> I’m a member of the Société Française des Traducteurs (SFT), and as such, I apply its Code of Professional Conduct.

-> Under this code, translators undertake to work solely into their native language. Mine is French.

-> This means that I only translate into French, from texts written in English and German.

How much do you charge?

-> The cost of a project is an essential element in the business relationship between a client and a service provider and must be the subject of a discussion that determines the client’s specific needs. It is impossible for me to give a fixed cost, simply because every project is different.

-> Translating a 3,000-word package leaflet in Word format? No problem! I’ve got plenty of experience with this type of project. My standard rate will apply.

-> Translating a 10,000-word research article explaining the action of chimeric antigen-receptor (CAR) T-cells in acute lymphoblastic leukaemia? I will carry out in-depth research on the subject to ensure your text is translated accurately.

-> For revision projects, I apply an hourly rate, which differs depending on the difficulty of the text.

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Why do you need 5 days to translate 4 pages? It seems straight-forward.

-> It is important not to confuse speed with haste. I know that some projects may be urgent, and in some situations, I can work quickly (a project that is similar to a previous one, modification of an existing translation, translation of a press release, etc.).

-> If you are responsive, I will be too!

-> The length of a text is not always a good indicator of how long it will take to translate.

-> If your text deals with a subject I’m familiar with, the translation will be quicker. But if I have to do in-depth research on the subject, it may take several hours before I can actually start the translation.

-> Some phrases are not simple to render in French. The translator’s job is to find the best possible way of adapting a text in a foreign language to his or her native language.

-> Sometimes, it can take 20 minutes to find the right phrase or translate one single complex medical term!

I am very careful to avoid anglicisms and produce a translation that sounds natural.

-> Some translation service providers may offer to translate your 8,000-word article in 24 hours. But the work will rarely be good quality.

-> In a world where quality has been sacrificed in favour of volume, I take a different approach. For me, if something is worth doing, it’s worth doing well.

-> Investing time and resources in a project always pays off. It allows a working relationship to be established on a solid foundation.

I need a certified translator for a medical conference I’m going to soon. Can you help?

-> Unfortunately, I can’t. I only work with written texts, not speech. Of course, you can send me the training materials you bring back from the conference!

-> For the event itself, you need a conference interpreter. You may be able to find one in the directory of SFT members.

-> Also, if you’re wondering if you should hire a Certified Translator, please, read my advice here.

What do “source text” and “target text” mean?

-> The source text is the English or German document you need translating.

-> The target text is the French document I will send you.