Kazuyuki Abe

16 June 2004

Doing Pharmaceutical/medical Translation without formal education in the field

Who I am and what I do:

Ex-teacher and ex-a few other things
Translator (medical, pharmaceutical, public health, etc.)
Novice medical English instructor (1st and 3rd year med students)
Not an M.D. at all
An English language major (B.A.)
Some knowledge of phonetics
A keen interest in etymology, etc.

Why medical translation:

Process of elimination
No good in IT/computers, finance/economics, or
law/patents  → Natural science
Advent of Windows 95

How I have been studying and working:

Collection of info, hints and tips


  • SWET (Society of Writers, Editors and Translators)
  • → JAT (Japan Association of Translators)
  • (→ IJET [International Japanese/English Translation Conference])
  • → MITA (Medical Interpreters and Translators Association)

 Mailing lists:

  • SWET-L, HONYAKU-L, JAT-L, Medical English ML, MITA-L


  • MEDLINE/PubMED, Medscape, on-line dictionaries/glossaries, etc.

Translation school

  • Correspondence (10 months)
  • Commute (“Professional” course, 5 months)


  • ステッドマン医学大辞典(メジカルビュー) (CD-ROM → HDD)
  • 最新医学大辞典(医歯薬出版) (EB → HDD)
  • 25万語医学用語大辞典(日外アソシエーツ) (EB → HDD)
  • 研究社リーダース+プラス (EB → HDD)
  • 研究社英和・和英中辞典・広辞苑 etc. (EB → HDD)

+ DDwin (freeware)


  • Secondhand textbooks…解剖学、生化学、薬理学 《神田神保町古書店街》
  • 臨床英文の正しい書き方 (羽白 清 金芳堂)
  • 医学論文英訳のテクニック (横井川 康弘 金芳堂)
  • Dr. ロビンスの上手な英語医学論文の書き方 (Mary L. Robbins 医学書院)
  • 医学英訳活用辞典 (横井川 康弘 金芳堂)
  • 日本医薬品副作用用語集 (じほう)
  • 日本医薬品集DB(CD-ROM) (じほう)
  • 欧和・和欧対訳 医薬業界用語集 (日本製薬工業協会)
  • 医学英語コミュニケーション (B.ハリスン、ほか 朝倉書店)
  • 医薬の英語 (森口理恵 NOVA)
  • The Chicago Manual of Style
  • AMA Manual of Style

(1) 語学の苦手な人は辞書の使い方を知らない。

In “Common Errors in Case Presentations” (MITA, 20 Sep. 2000) Mr. Raoul Breugelmans pointed out:

× He was detected liver fibrosis.
→ ○ Liver fibrosis was detected.


de・tect 動・他[+目(+in+(代)名)]〔…に〕〈…を〉見つける,看破する; 発見する; 検出する. 例)detect a lie [spy] うそ[スパイ]を見破る. I detected a change in her attitude. 彼女の態度に変化が出てきたのに気づいた.

× She was admitted this hospital.
× She admitted to this hospital.
× She was hospitalized to this hospital.
→ ○ She was admitted to this hospital.


ad・mit 動・他1. a(省略) b [+目+前+(代)名]〈人・ものが〉〈人・ものを〉〔…に〕入れる 〔to,into〕例)admit a person to [into] a club 人をクラブに入会させる. be admitted to (the) hospital 入院する.

(2) ネット検索(Google)をうまく活用していない人が多い。

a. その分野の情報を集めるとき

→ 複数のキーワードを組み合わせる

e.g. 「MITA」だけ入力して検索すると・・・
→ Kyocera Mita, Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (sg), Maine Island Trail Association, 慶應義塾大学三田キャンパス, Microsatellite Italiano a Tecnologia Avanzata, Metroplex Interpreter and Translator Association, etc. , etc. . . .

「MITA medical Japanese」と入力して検索すると・・・
→ 我らがMITA web siteがトップに

b. 言葉をさがすとき→ 様々な「小道具」を使う

  • “. . . ” と * は必需品。(*は日本語では無効)
  • define:hematuria
    → Definitions of Hematuria on the Web:
  • site:us (no space) → U.S. sites only
    site:jp (not Japan) → Japanese sites only
    ただし、com, netなどをドメイン名に使用したサイトは引っかからない。

-jp (-kr -cn -tw -fr -de -it -br -sg. . .)   +edu fda cdcなど

(3) 調べてもわからないときは、遠慮せずにメーリングリストに聞くべし。


Dear Members,
I am trying to translate a case report entitled "Microsporum canis による播種状異型白癬の母娘例." I have tentatively translated it as "Disseminated atypical tinea caused by Microsporum canis in a Mother and Daughter," but am not sure this sounds okay to native speakers of (medical) English. Could someone kindly help me?
ABE, Kazuyuki
Dear Abe-sensei,
It sounds fine to me, except I recommend that you do not capitalize "mother" and "daughter".
Thanks a lot!
<SNIP>>>>> I mean it's the title. It should be "Disseminated Atypical Tinea Caused by Microsporum Canis in a Mother and Daughter."
ABE, Kazuyuki
Dear Members,
_Microsporum canis_, I believe, should be italicized. I think we all know that. Then, in the title of a case report, should _canis_ be capitalized? Yes, I do have the AMA Manual of Style but don't know where to look.
ABE, Kazuyuki
I scanned the three pages on titles in the Manual of Style, and found a title in which _Haemophilus influenzae_ occurred (in italics, you're right) -- and the authors had capped everything except "influenzae", so I'd go with lower case for "canis". (It's on page 10, if you have the same version I do.)
Thanks a million for being my scanner! Yes, it's right there. This is wonderful! I think I owe you a drink.
ABE, Kazuyuki
You are welcome. I'll trade you scanning English for scanning Japanese ANY day!

(4) チャレンジ精神は必要だが、限界をわきまえるべし。

  Don’t bite off more than you can chew!

  → 新しい種類の仕事を気安く引き受けない。

  • 臨床と前臨床は大違い。(前臨床 = 動物実験 →
  • 事前に原稿を見せてもらってから引き受けるか否かを決める。
  • 自分の守備範囲を逸脱した依頼は、責任ある態度で断る。
  • 自分の専門領域・ニッチを確立する。
  • 辞書もWebも使い方次第。
  • メーリングリストを活用する。
  • 無理な依頼にははっきりNoと言う。

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