10 excellent podcasts for the Medical Translator and Writer

Research is crucial for the medical writer and translator. It is a proven fact that the right preparation for a project will yield the best quality. Besides, a translator proficient in a particular subject is more likely to poach new assignments from his or her competitors.

So whenever you commit to a new assignment, you need not only devise a schedule to meet the deadline but also research the topic in question. You want to get familiar with the glossary and dive into the material that will tickle your brain cells over the next few days or weeks.
To achieve this, you are probably going to bookmark some salient websites, print out important research papers or study some legacy content relating to this particular job.

In a nutshell, your preparation will involve a fair amount of READING.

But wait…
there are other ways to prep yourself that don’t involve reading – PODCASTS.

Why not give your eyes a rest and make use of your ears instead? Learning through non-visual channels works just as well, even for the eye-minded person.

Regarding auditive learning, some people suggest: It Sticks Better

Just imagine, you can delve into a new topic during the evening run or while ironing your shirts. Learn about a subject or an industry by merely listening.

Listening with headphones
Podcasts are an auditive way to embrace new information and what’s best – they are free.

Over the last month, I have been going through medical broadcasts to compile a list of useful podcasts for us medical translators and writers.
To be perfectly honest, there is a lot of crap out there; with terrible audio quality, shrill voices, poor enunciation and utterly useless drivel created for SEO purposes.

Make Podcasts part of you life

How to search for a relevant podcast?
You can easily use any search engine by typing in the word “podcast” followed by the topic you wish to explore. Alternatively, you can go straight to podcast directories like Apple or Spotify and do the search there.

How do you recognise a good quality podcast?
Before you subscribe to a podcast, listen to a few randomly chosen sections. Make sure you are happy with the audio quality and the broadcasting style. Use programs in a conversational manner. Try to avoid shows that are spoken in a monotonous speech read from a script or a book as you will not focus for long and waste your time with it.
And most importantly, make sure that the information is discussed, and an evidence-based approach is applied.

How do you organise your podcasts?
If you listen directly from the website, bookmark the relevant webpages. If you use a podcast app, which is the easiest way to keep all the different sources in one place, subscribe to the podcast there and organise them into folders. By subscribing to the podcast, you show the producers that you like their work and you are informed whenever a new episode is being published.

Microphone

Here are some of the best Medical Podcasts

MJA Podcast

This is a fantastic collection of short podcasts on various topics in Medicine from the Medical Journal of Australia. The concept consists of interviews with specialists who provide information that is evidence-based and very well researched.
Some of the information is obviously focusing on Australia, but the overall content is relevant to Medicine globally.

Zerotofinals

This is Tom’s podcast, a UK podcast which is aimed at medical students but is also an excellent way for medical translators and writers to gain some solid background knowledge about diseases and to familiarise with the glossary.
The podcasts are non-conversational. Each episode is dedicated to a particular disease using the typical textbook approach. The length of the podcasts varies from 3 to 20 minutes. Tom has a calm and relaxing deep voice and speaks with a British accent.

Medgeeks

Similarly to Tom’s method, medgeeks focuses on students and each episode is talking about a particular pathology following a structured methodology. There is an impressive archive of topics available — excellent audio quality, spoken in a professionally enunciated American accent.

The Curbsiders

There is an excellent choice of topics available from the curbsiders. These are sponsored podcasts from a US Radiolab which are discussing different issues in a professional yet easy to follow manner. The pathologies are well explained with moderate use of medical jargon. Simply a great method to prep yourself for a subject and to internalise a particular glossary.

Foamcast

FOAMcast provides professional journalism. The discussion of various topics from the field of Medicine is held with a pinch of entertainment. The presenters have an infectious enthusiasm which will keep you wanting more. Also, there is a massive database of topics to choose from – a useful podcast to integrate into one’s lifelong learning routine.

Apcardiology

Apcardiology is an example of a speciality-addressing podcast, hence some solid background knowledge of terminologies in cardiology is necessary. The episodes focus on discoveries and new treatments in Cardiology. It is a fabulous auditive source to keep up to date with recent developments in this medical speciality.

Bedside-Rounds

If you like the history of Medicine, then you should subscribe to this show.
The host, Dr Adam Rodman, has the fabulous gift of bringing clinical Medicine in a historical context and giving insight. A podcast for both medical expert and layman.

TED talks Health

Obviously, TED talks work best in its visual format, but most of them work just as well as a podcast too, give it a try. TED talks are famous for spreading innovative ideas and are a great source of inspiration – it might just give you that extra motivation to complete a job.

Rosalindfranklin

This is another example of a speciality podcast. In these episodes, topics from the world of clinical pharmacy are being discussed. The guys from the Rosalind Franklin University are doing a great job not only with their choice of topics but they also impress with their professional radio journalism.

Greenlight Guru

Yes – a podcast dedicated to medical devices – you have read correctly. The background is obviously of commercial purpose, but the topics are discussed in an objective and well-researched manner with Safety, Quality and Regulatory Issues at the heart of these podcasts.
Given the abundance of medical device translations, these podcasts are a great way to get to know the viewpoint from the developer and manufacturer. It helps to understand the larger picture surrounding medical devices.

To conclude


This is just a small selection of podcasts in the realm of Medicine. By compiling this list, I simply try to highlight the wide variety of medical podcasts out there.
There exists a podcast for most subjects out there; the question is: how to find it?
Subscribing to your favourite podcasts and integrating them in your lifelong learning routine gives the eye-minded predominance a break and makes learning more varied.
After all: Variety is the Spice of Life.

If you produce a medical podcast that might be useful for medical writers and would like to be included in this list, give me a shout.

4 thoughts on “10 excellent podcasts for the Medical Translator and Writer

  1. Avatar
    Kate Munday Reply

    I am just starting out as a medical writer and stumbled over your post. Listening to podcasts is definitely a great method to gain new knowledge. Thanks for the tip.

  2. Avatar
    Nick Tippmann Reply

    Thanks for the shout out, Oliver! And for recognizing while yes we’re a business, we look to take an objective stance on the Safety, Quality and Regulatory Issues discussed on the podcast. – Cheers, Nick Tippmann, VP of Marketing Greenlight Guru

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