Recommendations on the various steps of the translation process can be found in the document Guidelines for Management of Translation of SNOMED CT (see reference in Section 1.1). This section summarises the main steps.

6.1 Translation

There should always be at least two persons involved in the initial translation – a translator and a proof-reader (to verify the initial translation). It is crucial that translators have high level linguistic skills as well as a good insight in health care. The role of the translators is to:

  • translate source language concept into the target language
  • proof-read the translated concept description in the target language before passing it on for further review
  • raise questions so that principle decisions are made by the Editorial Board (or similar group), concept description in the target language whenever they deem necessary.

6.2 Review

Apart from proof-reading, proper review should be carried out by health and social care professionals. They act as quality assessors and their tasks are to:

  • confirm that the translated description reflect the underlying concept (the description’s linguistic quality, which should comply with the linguistic guidelines and general rules of the target language, should be checked by professional translators or linguists)
  • approve the description that meets the requirements of good translation as in this document and national guidelines
  • return unacceptable translations to the translator for correction
  • if necessary, address questions on fundamental decisions to the Editorial Board
  • consult with the Editorial Board with "questions of doubt"

6.3 Editing

The Editorial Board should consist of an interdisciplinary team made up of professionals with pedagogical and empirical backgrounds in medicine and nursing, linguistics and terminology, information science or technology, paramedical disciplines with sound knowledge and understanding of the English language.

The tasks of the Editorial Board are to:

  • define and maintain the guidelines to which all participants involved in the translation process must adhere
  • determine the validity of textbooks and references provided to translators and reviewers
  • act as an advisory body for translators and reviewers
  • make and develop the key decisions that are inevitably required during the translation process
  • ensure that all participants are continuously updated on new decisions
  • deal with particularly complicated translations and questions from translators, reviewers and others
  • approve the terms that meet the requirements after revision of the “terms/cases of doubt”
  • collect and register errors and related issues regarding SNOMED CT content in the International Release to be submitted through CRS by the NRC.

6.4 Progress monitoring and follow-up

A project manager and/or coordinator should be appointed to carry out a continuous assessment of the progress of the translation, general project administration and surveillance. The monitoring and follow-up roles are described in the document Guidelines for Management of Translation of SNOMED CT (see reference in Section 1.1).

6.5 Post-translation issues

The clinical validation of the translated descriptions plays an important role in the translation of the SNOMED CT terminology into the target language. Some descriptions reflect very complicated or rarely used concepts, and there is a risk that both translator and reviewer, despite all efforts, may have misunderstood the concept in the source terminology. There is also a risk that a particular description, however correct it may be, may be psychologically unacceptable to clinicians if they are used to employing a particular description or phrase for a particular concept. Validation should therefore be carried out by health and social care providers to ensure that the translation is useful in clinical, cultural and social settings.

In addition to the validation of the translated descriptions, a policy for the maintenance of the target language terminology and feedback to SNOMED international is required. If a concept added in a national extension is to be included in the SNOMED CT International Release it must have a FSN in English.

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