In the past two difficult years, the medical and translation industries have crossed ways under most peculiar circumstances. The Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the problem of language gaps in medical treatment worldwide. The necessity for home and virtual treatment made it even harder for the existing healthcare to succeed.
Medical interpreters and translators have been called upon for duty. Not only helping to pass the messages from doctors to patients, they were needed to spread the voices of researchers worldwide, to ensure the transmission of newest information unhindered. Information about the newest drugs, vaccines and treatment directions therefore has been available to the world population, enormously supportive to the joint global efforts in repressing the pandemic. As we are in a much better situation now than before, many thanks should be given to the work of medical interpreters and translators.
Now that we are moving towards the end of this pandemic, many achievements have been accomplished through the hard work made during the last two years. Applications of new online translation solution has been into use, the collaboration between medical and translation industries has become tighter, and even AI language technology has made huge progress. The order of the world before Covid-19 is going to be restored; however, with so many more choices and possibilities lying ahead, what will be of medical translation post-pandemic?
In order to partly answer the question, we might take a look at some important trends that could be the shaping factors for medical translation in the years to come.
- Anticipate and Innovate
The Covid-19 pandemic in the early period has, as we must admit, destroyed the healthcare preparations in most countries it’s been to. However, during the hard time, people have showed the innovative signs, putting into use new ideas such as remote treatment which is met by remote medical interpretation. This has turned out to be the new opportunity for language services providers (LSPs), especially the ones that had a lead in virtual technology or in medical.
As the pandemic eased, the world is now paying more and more attention towards healthcare. Medical researchers will still be needed for possible solutions in preventing such pandemics. The demand for medical interpreters and translators most likely will still be high in the near future. Most importantly, in the end, it was not experience and tradition that helped LSPs succeed during the Covid-19 period, but rather anticipation and innovation. Those are the qualities that LSPs need to adapt to changes in the industry, which will allow them to thrive in future circumstances.
- Language Diversity
In multicultural countries such as the US, language barriers have hindered the communications between doctors and patients, made it very difficult to deliver the accurate messages from one to another. The overload of hospital during the peak of pandemic didn’t help with this at all. Worse, remote treatment is almost impossible without the right language interpreters available. Normally, for less popular languages, LSPs could look for bilingual freelancers, or sought help from foreign LSPs, which takes time. However, emergencies like Covid-19 treatment have pointed out the trouble of not having language diversity in available interpreters and translators.
The whole situation raised the necessity for LSPs to be prepared to provide services in all languages at any times. Hiring excessive employees is impossible, however, having a pool of available freelancers or long-term collaboration with foreign LSPs might be some good choices.
- Facilitate the Use of Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence (AI) has surely played a role in accelerating the medical translation efforts, hence the shortage of able-men. The affordability factor also adds to the need for AI translation, which allows the services to be available to all classes of people.
The foremost problem to AI translation in the medical field is the requirement for 100% accuracy in communication, which asked for further research for this to be made thoroughly possible. If LSPs can put AI translation into use, that would result in less costs and more profits. With secured finance and good budgeting, LSPs will be able to find better solutions and cultivate better services to meet their customers’ demands.
- Update Pricing Models
According to Slator 2021 Language Industry Market Report, new pricing models in the field of translation are emerging, which helps LSPs stay relevant in the market during the pandemic. The constant changes in the last two years have changed the reality of the industry; with more qualifications are being paid attentions to.
Medical interpreters and translators will surely have a niche in the seeable future. The ability to work at unexpected and unconventional time will also be featured. Most importantly, the translation market could become much more competitive with the constant growth of new technologies and ideas.