A History of Medical Translation

A throwback to medical translation: Health Industry

Western medicine was born in the Greek island of Kos over 2000 years ago, was subsequently lost to Europe, and was recovered and developed further by translators (mostly doctors) during 2 amazing translation movements.

The 1st translation movement took place in Baghdad, with Greek medical papers such as the The Hippocratic Corpus being translated into Arabic in the 8th and 10th centuries. This particular medical paper was an inspiration to many pioneering physicians, such as Galen, and hence it has imparted its knowledge by being translated into several languages through the centuries.

The 2nd movement took place in Spain where many medical works of Arabic origin were translated into Latin in the 12th and 13th century. Clearly, the medical guidance offered in these documents was enlightening enough to establish the foundations of our medical science, including complementary and alternative medicine (CAM).
As far as the modern age is concerned, it seems that the demand for medical translation has remarkably increased. Granted, due to the worldwide political crisis and the refugee wave of World War I and II, professional translators and interpreters became an absolute necessity for the proper functioning of the healthcare industry.

In this day and age, the health industry has made great progress regarding national, and international health standards and policies. Certified language and translation professionals provide pharmaceutical companies, hospitals, medical device producers, biotech companies, and general healthcare facilities with prompt and solid medical translation services for a variety of documents.

The practice of involving medical translators with a medical background to undertake specialized translation of medical texts, has remained valid till today, for medical devices and technology as well as pharma products alike.

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