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Medical Translator/Writer, not Interpreter

Two weeks ago, I attended the 63rd edition of the Americal Translators Association annual conference (ATA63). It was the first time I went in person to that conference.

I had a wonderful time because I met many members of my network that I had never seen in person before, including two of my teachers. I also made new connections and attended a few engaging educational sessions about medical translation, such as:

  • There’s a Vax for That — Exploring Different Types of Vaccines

  • Ensuring Accuracy — A Workshop on Medical Back Translation

  • Institutional Websites — Tera-Resources for Translators

  • A 2022 Medical Terminology Update

  • Language and COVID — An Overview of Pandemic-Related Medical Translation

  • From A1c to ZN — Medical Acronyms for Translators and Interpreters

One of the things people often mentioned in conversations was, “I thought you were also an interpreter, Toni.”

I have been asked about that before, and it makes sense because it is true — I used to be an interpreter. However, I quit interpreting when the pandemic began in early 2020.

In the past, I provided interpreting services in-house and independently, mainly to law firms (depositions) and hospitals (medical appointments). Most cases were about work accidents and clinical malpractice.

I also completed the 40-hour medical interpreting program offered by MITS (Medical Interpreting Training School) because I considered resuming my interpreting services in 2021.

Yet, I ultimately decided to put a stop to interpreting because:

1. It was too demanding for me.

Although I enjoyed interpreting and my clients were happy with my performance, I chose to do it only occasionally because I prefer working with texts from home.

2. The pandemic changed everything.

The COVID-19 restrictions put a stop to in-person assignments for a while. And I was not interested in remote interpreting because I knew I would not enjoy it.

3. I discovered medical writing.

Being able to work from home writing and translating about medicine is what I enjoy the most, so I have been 100% committed to it for the last two years.

Therefore, the answer to the question above is, “No, I am not a medical interpreter anymore.”

At ATA63, some people asked me what exactly medical writing is, and I am happy to conclude this post by writing a brief explanation based on information from the American Medical Writers Association (AMWA) website:

Medical writing involves developing and producing materials that deal specifically with medicine or health care. Medical writers gather, organize, interpret, and present information appropriately for the target audience.

The truth is that medical writing is a broad term incorporating many different types of careers, but I will talk about that in a future post.

Did you know that medical translation is one of many types of medical writing roles?

And when I am not translating medical texts, I generally work on health/patient communication or regulatory medical writing projects.

Feel free to reach out if you have any questions!


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