I frequently translate medical documents, like hospital discharge summaries, and I have lost track of the number of times they have included some type of radiological procedure. X-rays, ultrasounds and CT scans are par for the course in many diagnoses, so it is important to be able to understand these procedures, what they are used to diagnose, and what the common signs are in order to be able to translate them accurately. Even if you don’t translate radiology reports themselves, you are still likely to come across references to the procedures and findings. X-rays are probably what most of us are familiar with, and you will almost certainly have heard of MRIs and CT scans even if you aren’t sure what they look like or how they work. You may come across somewhat more exotic medical imaging yet, such as transoesophageal echocardiogram (or transesophageal echocardiogram if you’re writing in US English!) and MR angiography.

Throughout the last few years, I’ve compiled a collection of bookmarks on radiology. The links below are sites I’ve found particularly helpful, and they are some of the first websites I turn to when researching medical terminology in radiology reports. These resources are all free to use, and a few take the form of a wiki (read my earlier article if you want to read about how much I love wikis)! If you work either from or into English as a medical translator, you owe it to yourself to check out these sites.

1. Radiopaedia

Radiopaedia is, without a doubt, my absolute favourite when it comes to radiology research. The website could be a bit easier to use, but the breadth of its content more than makes up for it. The website describes itself as a “rapidly growing open-edit educational radiology resource” (try saying that ten times in a row). The majority of its contributors are radiologists, and unlike many wikis, it has an editorial committee of experts in radiology who have the final say on what gets published (many from my local hospital here in Melbourne). It is only available in English, but it contains over 26,000+ cases and 10,000+ articles. If you translate from or into English, you need to bookmark this.

2. Echopedia

Echopedia focusses primarily on echocardiography (not to be confused with electrocardiography, which is something else altogether), so its usefulness is somewhat more limited than Radiopaedia, which covers just about everything. Nevertheless, if you do come across an echocardiography report, this website is one of the first places you will want to turn. Their reference card is also useful for getting an overview of some important aspects of an echocardiography examination.

3. MRI Glossary

This MRI glossary covers some of the more technical terms associated with this modality of diagnostic imaging. MRI can be used in so many different ways that it is worth having a reference like this with some of the more obscure technical vocabulary. MRI and related techniques, like MR angiography, will eventually come up if you translate medical documents frequently.

4. Inside Radiology

Inside Radiology, from the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Radiologists, contains a wide variety of radiology techniques and procedures. It has the advantage of having information for both consumers and health professionals, and it is easy to switch between the two, so you can refer to both texts for any given technique. If you ever have to translate medical documents intended for consumers, this is a good way to get a sense of the type of language you’d want to use.

5. Ultrasoundpaedia

Ultrasoundpaedia, as the name would suggest, covers ultrasonography exclusively. Want to learn how to describe a normal spleen on an ultrasound? Here’s your answer. This site covers a range of procedures. Curiously, there does not seem to be much logic to the organisation of the procedures, as some as categorised are based on the location (“Upper Abdomen”) and others by medical specialty (“Gynaecology” and “Obstetric”). There is also my personal favourite, “Small Parts”, which covers eyes and such. In any case, there is a search function if you can’t figure out where to find what you need.

6. Learning Radiology

This website is, in fact, an “online textbook” of sorts intended for medical students and those learning about radiology, but it provides a lot of good material for medical translators, too. The layout of the website is not the best, in my opinion, but it contains in-depth lectures and concise notes on various signs and pathologies, making it very useful despite the difficulty I have in navigating it. Then again, that’s what Google’s “site:” search operator is for.

7. Rad Report

RadReport is an interesting site in comparison to the rest on this list: this site only has templates for radiology reports. I only recently came across this website, but I quickly realised how useful this will be when it comes to translating reports. At first glance, you might not realise what’s on here, but choose the template of your choice, and you will see a form at the bottom of the page that is partially filled in. In a lot of cases, the results are normal or unremarkable, giving you a very good idea of how a doctor would write it. Somewhat understandably, it’s easier to find information on pathological presentations as those cases are more likely to be relayed in medical journals or as case studies on Radiopaedia, for example. The majority of the reports I translate are for insurance purposes and due to an accident or illness of some sort, so I generally have more remarkable findings than unremarkable ones, but the unremarkable findings often give me the most trouble.

Conclusion

These websites should help you find what you’re looking for when it comes to translating anything related to medical imaging of some kind. Do you translate medical documents like this? If so, are there any other websites or resources you use? What about paid resources? Feel free to share in the comments section below.

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