English medical abbreviations for translators

As a medical translator and editor, I often need to look up medical abbreviations and acronyms. My favourite medical abbreviations dictionary is by mediLexicon, which has over 200,000 medical, biotech, pharma and healthcare acronyms and abbreviations in English.

You can search the dictionary by abbreviation or definition. For example, a search for the term “ACL” brought up 14 definitions, with “Anterior Cruciate Ligament” being identified as the most likely match, followed by “Achievement Check List”. Other very similar acronyms are also listed, which can be especially helpful when deciphering handwritten notes or scanned documents.

When searching for definitions that contain a certain term, similar terms are not included in the results. For example, a search of the definitions for the term “cruciate” returned only the 12 acronyms/abbreviations with definitions that include the term.

As well as being an excellent resource for medical translators, the dictionary is useful for anyone reading medical articles and reports in English. I also find that English acronyms may be used in medical texts and reports written in German – which can occasionally cause confusion, as the reader may be unsure which language is being used. An English abbreviations dictionary can be helpful when translating these documents, to check whether an acronym needs to be translated from German or is actually already in English.

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By Jayne Fox BSc MITI, German-English medical translator.

Please note that I do not have a commercial relationship with any of the organisations mentioned above.

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