It seems The Stinging Nettle totally honored its name. I was amazed at the number of aggressive, sometimes even insulting comments and e-mails we’ve been receiving since the beginning of this action – it’s just fascinating how many people felt personally attacked. Anyway – here’s the promised result ;)
Whoever works in the medical translation field should be aware of the numerous existing standards (DIN/EN/ISO…) in this industry. Often, these standards even state the exact wording of entire segments. We’ve been so far expecting from translators to be able to identify whether a piece of text is subject to a certain standard (or could be) and accordingly conduct a search or contact us and simply ask. In this specific case, the relevant standards to use were DIN EN 980:2008-08 “Symbols for use in the labeling of medical devices; German version” and the draft standard DIN 6877-1:2007-12 “Magnetic resonance equipment for human use – Part 1: Instructions for labeling items within the controlled area”.
“Keller”, though not specialized in medical device texts, submitted a translation that was the closest in line with the rules of these standards and therefore earns the 50€. “S.W” (who’s no medical translator either) and “AL” did realize that those were texts that were probably set in standards but unfortunately did not submit any proposal. I found “Michael’s” proposal very interesting as well – he is not a translator but his translation was qualitatively not different from many proposals.
What did we learn?
None of the translators who participated knew the standards. Some found them as they were researching and translated correctly but most would probably have made a “wrong” translation of the segments. It occurred to us that during our time as freelancers, no agency ever said to us that a given part of the text was subject to a given standard nor ever provided us with these standard existing translations available (though this does not completely apply for pharmaceutical texts as some agencies take the time and provide their translators with all standards). We came therefore to the decision that, in the future, we will be informing our translators when we give them a new project where standards apply and make those standards available to them.
I would like to thank all translators who participated. It was an interesting experience and we did learn something. We hope that translators in the future will also pay more attention to regulatory requirements in the medical technology field, and keep themselves up-to-date with these as well.
The next “translation survey” is already in the oven and we’d be delighted if you decide to participate again, or participate for the first time!