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  • Writer's pictureSebastian Cron - Quality Manager

The Value Human Linguists Bring to Life Science Translations

Translations for the medical, healthcare, and life sciences industries are complex and intricate. With the level of detail required for these content types combined with global regulatory concerns, translation accuracy is extremely important. It’s crucial to invest in the right resources in order to achieve the highest-quality translation output, as the result of these life science translations have the potential for life-or-death outcomes.

While machine translation has made a lot of improvements in recent years, there is no substitute for human linguists when it comes to providing accurate medical document translation services. Humans are needed to correctly extract meaning and localize the content for global consumers, whether that is a patient, a doctor, or both.

Let’s delve into more detail about the value human linguists bring when translating content for the life sciences industry.

Subject Matter Expertise

At Language Intelligence, we only utilize linguists with particular experience in the medical and healthcare fields. There are many different content types used in this industry - from Instructions for Use (IFUs), clinical trial content, and product labels to marketing materials, contracts, and Material Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) - and each requires specific technical knowledge that only comes with having medical expertise.

Many of our linguists have worked directly as healthcare professionals, were educated in the medical field, and/or have years of experience providing medical document translation services. This level of specialized skill results in a deep knowledge that will produce only the highest quality, accurate translations for your readers around the globe.

Regulatory and Legal Knowledge

Every region of the world has its own regulatory and legal requirements for life science industries. It is crucial to understand and comply with these local and cultural requirements during the initial translation and localization phase. If not, you risk a delayed product launch or even being denied by the governing bodies in the area you’re targeting. Each one of our linguists is familiar with their local legal and regulatory requirements and will take these factors into consideration when reviewing and localizing your content.

As an added layer of quality assurance, we offer an In-Country Review process. This is where a native-speaking member of your internal team will take a look at the translated content and offer any suggestions in regard to company-specific messaging, tone of voice, and/or branding. Because they are also familiar with their region’s regulatory compliance, this process step adds extra reassurance that your product will be ready for global distribution.

Readability and the Proper Localization of Medical Terms

It’s important for all medical translations to convey the exact meaning from their source. Readability is a vital factor in conveying meaning - especially because different languages use different words and phrases to express the same concept.

This is especially true with terms about human anatomies - such as the English term “Adam’s apple,” which doesn’t necessarily translate perfectly into another language as it is an idiom.

This is where the importance of localization comes in - where the linguist will understand these terms and adapt them to be culturally relevant and accurate in the source language. As a concept, localization adapts the meaning of content from one language to another, while taking the unique cultural considerations of a specific locale into account. Once this is complete, the linguist will ensure the content reads naturally and is easily comprehensible.

Correct Formatting

When it comes to life science translations, the formatting of the content is almost as important as the words on the page. Certain content types, such as packaging and labeling, medical device inserts, and instructions for use documents require specific formatting, which can be skewed when translating from one language to another.

Depending on the language, there are some formatting concerns to keep in mind. Languages that read from right to left will need to have their content reversed, longer languages like German may cause you to make the document longer, and character-based language may need cropping. Our multilingual DTP team will ensure the content is formatted in a way that properly educates and informs users.

Human linguists bring value to life science translations that cannot be compared to automatic machine translation. Our team at Language Intelligence has over 30 years of experience providing regulated communication for the life science industry, and we can help you communicate with your global stakeholders. Get in touch today.


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