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Medical Translation


Admission requirements

Admission requirements and any restrictions.


Medical translation is one of the most demanded specialisations in the linguistic industry. The need for specialised translators in this field has dramatically increased in the last years due to the rapid scientific and technological breakthroughs and the surge of publications in the healthcare and medical sector.
Translated content undoubtedly plays a decisive role in developing medical and biomedical knowledge and its communication. And this specialised knowledge is applied and disseminated in various intercultural settings. Medical and biomedical content is found in expert-to-expert communication (e.g., clinical study reports, clinical trial protocols, and journal articles) and expert-to-layperson communication, or vice-versa (e.g., patient information leaflets, informed consents, newspaper articles, press conferences, advertisements).
This Medical Translation course aims to provide you with the starting competences needed to edit, translate, and revise medical and biomedical text types in English. English is the main source language in this field and a major target language. Most biomedical research is first written in English, and a significant number of health-related content is translated and adapted from other languages and cultures to English to ensure international dissemination.
Students will be introduced to medical and biomedical translation and its specificities in interactive lectures in this MA course. After the introductory lectures, they will solve problems common to medical translation and intercultural communication in healthcare settings through hands-on practice with diversified texts. To that end, students will work in language-specific groups to edit, translate and revise medical and biomedical content with different levels of specialisation and complexity aimed at different audiences, thus gaining an extensive theoretical and practical introduction to the field.

Course objectives

The course aims to familiarise students with

  • medical terminology and phraseology

  • medical genres, their communicative purpose, and their archetypal structure and form

  • medical translators’, revisers’ and readers’ expectations

By the end of the course, students will be able to

  • recognise a range of document types from a variety of professional contexts, and their function, structure and form

  • apply research-based knowledge to explain potential medical and intercultural translation problems in source texts

  • draw appropriate conclusions from linguistic resources specific to medical translation

  • solve problems common to medical translation and intercultural communication in healthcare settings

  • explain the translation and adaptation options applicable to medical and biomedical texts with different levels of specialisation and complexity aimed at different audiences

  • critically assess research literature

  • construct research questions pertinent to medical translation


The timetables are available through My Timetable.

Mode of instruction

  • Seminar

  • Individual work in the Translation Lab

Assessment method


  • 2 Annotated Translations (each 40% of final course grade)

  • Written examination with closed questions (20%)


There will be a resit opportunity for each of the course components. All components have to be at least 6.0. Students can only resit a course component if the mark for the component is a fail.

Inspection and feedback

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.

Reading list

  • Montalt, Vicent & González, Maria. 2007. Medical Translation Step by Step. Learning by Drafting. Manchester, UK/Kinderhook (NY), USA: St. Jerome.

  • Friedbichler, Michael & Ingrid Friedbichler. 2009. Pinkhof Medisch Engels. Bohn Stafleu van Loghum.

  • Additional bibliography and the reader will be provided at the beginning of the course reflecting the specific language combinations of the students, Brightspace


Enrolment through My Studymap (Login | Universiteit Leiden) is mandatory.

Registration Studeren à la carte en Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


For substantive questions, contact the lecturer listed in the right information bar

For questions related to the content of the course, please contact the lecturer, you can find their contact information by clicking on their name in the sidebar.

For questions regarding enrollment please contact the Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats E-mail address Education Administration Office Reuvensplaats:

For questions regarding your studyprogress contact the Coordinator of Studies