Should You Hire Certified Medical Translators?

- May 10, 2019

One of the many questions I am asked all the time is, “Do medical translators need to be certified?”

The answer is NO, they don’t NEED to be certified. But if you’re looking for evidence of a translator’s PROFESSIONALISM, here’s some important things you should look for:

Professional Associations

  • ATA (American Translators Association): ATA’s 10,000 members include translators, interpreters, teachers, project managers, web and software developers, language company owners, hospitals, universities, and government agencies.
  • ITI (Institute of Translation and Interpreting): Founded in 1986 and with over 3,000 members, both in the UK and internationally, ITI’s members include Language Services Businesses (LSBs) who provide a range of services across a variety of languages and Corporate Education members which are higher education establishments.
  • SFT (Société Française des Traducteurs): The SFT today counts more than 1,300 members, making it the largest professional translators’ union in France. The diversity of the SFT’s membership—which includes in-house and self-employed language service providers as well as literary translators—reflects the broad range of activities found in today’s global translation market.

Such associations have a strict professional code of conduct their members must adhere to.

Personal Training

Before asking someone to translate important documents, it is important to ensure that they are sufficiently trained. I recommend asking translators if they have

  • a Master’s degree in translation or
  • significant experience as a medical staff member

You can also ask them which types of documents they usually translate and if they have a website. This information should give you a much better idea of their expertise and experience.

Preferred Requirements

Are you sure you’re not looking for an interpreter?

Medical interpreters work with oral communications, such as assisting in a conversation between two languages. Translators work with the written word.

The National Board of Certification for Medical Interpreters has offered certification for the last 10 years.

If you don’t know where to begin to find a translator, you can read my blog post on How to find a translator or contact me directly at

I’d be happy to help!

Do you know someone who might find this article interesting? Don’t hesitate to forward it to them! Let me know in the comments your thoughts about this important issue, and let’s learn together!

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Post reviewed by Johanna Galyen from Glowing Still

Written by admin