Medical research covers many fields, from toxicology to pharmacology, chemistry and biology. The main goals of medical research are the improvement of current applications and developing new medical procedures and medicines. It encompasses preclinical research as well as clinical research (clinical trials).
The development of new drugs, the new ways of medical treatments and new means or preventing diseases are the results of many medical research studies. It is vital to the health and well-being of people, as medical researchers try to delve deeper into how human bodies function, why people get sick and what treatments should be given.
They can provide information of new and current diseases and health issues. They are vital to medical practitioners, healthcare providers, drug and medical device manufacturers and patients all over the world.
Types of medical research
The type of medical research to be used depends on what the researchers want to learn, such as the causes of diseases, ways to prevent getting sick or how diseases should be treated.
- Observational studies
This type or research may involve several months or years. As the name implies, a group of people are observed over time to see what occurs to them health wise. One very good example is the Framingham Heart Study that started in 1948. The third generation of participants from the original group is currently involved in the study.
The Framingham Heart Study follows 5,209 men and women from Framingham, Massachusetts. Their ages range between 30 and 62. It is the first medical research study that proved that having high blood pressure and high level of cholesterol, as well as smoking put people at risk of developing heart disease.
- Epidemiological studies
In this type of study, researchers try to find the patterns of certain diseases from large groups of patients or people that contract the disease. Doctors conduct epidemiologic studies annually to find out the types of flu outbreaks that happened around the world. The data they gather are helpful in deciding what to include in the succeeding vaccine for influenza.
- Intervention studies
When researchers conduct intervention studies, they are searching for ways to change people’s behaviors that affect their health, such as how regular exercise can affect people with heart disease, diabetes or those with weight problems.
- Prevention studies
This type of medical research study aims to find ways so people can avoid getting sick. The research is normally focused on a groups with a specific disease, such as people with high blood cholesterol or heavy smokers who are susceptible to heart attacks.
- Clinical trials
Clinical trials are more extensive, as the studies involve how to prevent diseases and how to treat diseases. It can include the testing of a new medical device, vaccine or drug before they are made available to the public. In the U.S. for example, companies have to prove to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) that the new treatments are effective and safe before they are made available to pharmacies.
Clinical trials are conducted in several phases.
- Phase I can last for one year.
- It will take another one or two years for the Phase II of the trial to be concluded.
- Phase III may last from two to four years.
- The last stage, Phase IV is conducted after the results of the firth three phases have been submitted to the FDA. The last phase can take up another two to ten years before the drug or medical device receives the final approval from the FDA. Hundreds or thousands of patients are involved in clinical trials.
Now you understand how important medical research is to the industry, the medical practitioners and patients. The amount of time and money spent on medical research is tremendous.
There are still several issues plaguing medical research. One is the specific language used by researchers. Another is the availability of the studies in other languages. Moreover, the complexity of the medical terminology used in the studies makes it very difficult for even the most experienced of translators to take on a medical research translation.
The language of the international scientific community
One thing that is becoming a problem in the scientific community is the fact that English is its lingua franca. Several factors, including economic, political and historical, have something to do why English became the favored language for scientific communication. It should be noted that not all medical research studies are done by English-speakers. Several of the important medical research are done by other researchers and published in their own language.
In some of the earlier studies tracking the trends in the publication of medical research materials, researchers, especially those from Western Europe prefer to publish their research in English, because the language is clearly favored for scholarly communication. Moreover, they are more likely to use English if their research is about hard, theoretical and natural sciences. When they are studying humanities, applied sciences and social sciences, they use other languages.
Records of medical research findings and their translations have been kept for several centuries. From the second century, Latin was the language for medicine while Greek is used for medical instruction up to the third century. By the 19th century, the use of Greek and Latin in the study of medicine was replaced by other languages.
Today, with English as the language used by the international scientific community, several important researches fail to attract the attention of scientists because they are not available in English.
For example, H5N1, which is a deadly strain of bird flu, heavily affected the bird populations in Asia. It was a health risk as humans can be affected by it and the mortality rate of those affected was very high.
Chinese scientists made a report in 2004 that the avian flu had affected the pigs in China. The scientists even added in their report that it needs urgent attention so that people can be prepared for a possible spread of the virus not only to livestock but also to humans.
But since it was written in Chinese and published in a small veterinary medicine journal in China, it gained very little attention. It took months before the United Nations and the World Health Organization learned of the results of the study. The two organizations immediately had the study translated so they could understand the full implication of the virus spread to humans and what actions they should take.
Importance of translation in medical research studies
That one scenario alone gives you a general idea of how important it is to have medical research studies translated into other languages. The avian flu virus may be an extreme example but it showed the scientists that many important information could not be accessed because they were not written in English.
Another example is the study done by Tatsuya Amano. He is a University of Cambridge zoology researcher. He is Japanese but he published a research paper in English to move his career forward. But he saw the need for translation of other research findings while doing his study on conservation and biodiversity. He found that many vital data are often overlooked because they were written in other languages.
He and his team looked for available research materials on biodiversity and conservation and using different keywords in various languages, they found that more than 75,000 scientific articles have already been written on the subject. They were surprised that more than 36% of the papers were available in various languages with Chinese, Portuguese and Spanish as the top languages used.
Now, for the question of whether medical research can be translated, the answer is ”yes.” However, a professional translator with specific background on the subject should handle the translation. Only a person who is fluent in both the source and target languages and has knowledge of the subject and its terminology can render an accurate translation of the medical research.
One of the most challenging things for a translator is the terminology. Many of the terms would be in Latin or Greek and their modern derivatives. Most of these may not have the right equivalent in another language. So the experience of the translator will help in deciding whether to look for equivalent terms or retain the original terms and add explanatory footnotes to the translation.
Ensure comprehensive and accurate medical research translation
Each translation project is complex and the level of complexity depends on the subject of the translation. Medical research translation is highly complex. It requires the translator who is an expert in the subject, someone who had the proper experience in the specific field who has a deep understanding of the subject, and the unique terminology to be used in the translation.
Some scientific terms do not have equivalent meanings in other languages. Thus when you need medical research translation, you need to work with a professional translation agency that has experience in the field. As a trusted translation company, we at Day Translations, Inc. work only with native-speaking subject matter experts to ensure the accuracy of all translation projects we handle.
We are HIPAA compliant so we guarantee the quality of the medical translation work we do and ensure the protection and privacy of information. Get in touch with us by calling 1-800-969-6853 or sending us an email at Contact us. We do not want you to wait, so we are open 24 hours a day, every day of the year to assist you in all your translation needs.
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