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août 20, 2020 |

5 Life Science Translation Tips You Should Know About

Life science translation is very similar to medical translation. It has the same purpose: facilitating access to personalized healthcare services and improving the quality of life of people in all languages. However, the main difference is the target audience. 

While medical translations tend to be more patient-focused, working in the life science sector requires a methodology-oriented approach, similar to technical translation. The target audience includes medical experts and developers–mostly people with academic backgrounds who appreciate clarity in communication. 

Therefore, life science translation requires the same high level of accuracy as medical translation. Incorrect interpretations or omissions can cause misunderstandings and errors that can lead to significant loss of resources, cause health problems, and even put people’s lives at risk. 

So, if you’re looking for life science translation services, you’ll need to work with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and linguists who have a proven record of working in this niche to ensure successful outcomes. Here are five tips you should know about when looking to translate content in the life science industry.  

1. Quality Life Science Translation Starts with Accurate Source Documentation

Life science translations mostly focus on data, lab results, in-depth methodology descriptions, and various technical documentation for industry-specific products, such as medical devices, apps, or software. Linguists operate with strict concepts and have to follow rigid guidelines to comply with industry standards. 

Translating inaccurate documents will only add difficulties to a job that is already intricate. Errors that a translator uses from the source documents will require extra working hours to fix. 

It’s in your best interest to provide your language service provider with accurate source documentation to speed up the translation process and receive accurate translations. Errors can occur when documentation needs updating or modifying to comply with laws and regulations in the target market. So make sure you double-check any last-minute changes before sending documents for translation to save time and expense.  

2. Standardized Processes Ensure Compliance

The life science segment is forced to follow rigid standards and templates. Most of the time, you work with documents that follow specific formats to comply with laws that leave no room for interpretation. Everything in this industry has strict requirements, so it’s necessary to work with standardized translation processes to guarantee top-quality services. 

This is a translation field in which creativity must take a backseat to make room for precision, attention to detail, and clarity. You should work with a language service provider that is aware of the limitations of this type of translation and has the right workflows to respect industry standards. 

3. Translation Memory Is An Effective Tool

The approval processes for medical technology and devices are highly regulated in almost all countries. The hassle you went through to have your product accepted in your domestic market is often just a prologue of what you’ll face once you target international markets. You’ll have to rewrite parts of the original documentation and translate tons of documents following complicated guidelines. 

Your linguists must work with effective CAT tools to ensure consistency in translations and compliance with regulations. Since you’re operating in a sector driven by innovation, your language professionals must work with relevant and updated tools that keep up with your industry. 

You’ll need to build a translation memory that includes industry-specific terminology, updated medical encyclopedias and dictionaries, and relevant reference materials you’ve used in your activity. This way, your translated document will include correct data, expressed in the required terms for approval. 

A translation memory also permits linguists to use the exact terms in the right contexts. This way, your final documentation provides all the information required by local authorities to approve your product or service.  

4. Native Translators Write Clearer Methodology

As a rule of thumb, life science translation requires linguists fluent in the source and target language and have a high-level degree relevant to your activity. Ideally, the translators live in the target country and are familiar with the local methodology, bureaucracy, and academic language. 

As with any other translation niche, the ability to speak as the target audience speaks is crucial to ensure clarity. You need linguists that can explain to the most intricate instructions in biotechnology or biomedicine to increase communication efficiency.     

Someone who simply speaks the language like a native, but hasn’t had any contact with the locals might find it difficult to deliver exactly what the officials expect to see in the target documentation when you work with local authorities. 

5. Long-Term Collaboration Can Reduce Translation Costs

You might have been told several times by now; life science translation doesn’t come cheap. Linguists have to stick to conventions and standardized processes, which often means using expensive tools, going through extensive documentation, and working extra hours. 

Moreover, language service providers in this field are required to achieve multiple certifications and licenses. They also invest significant resources in implementing industry standards to comply with cybersecurity, as well as with industry-specific international and local laws. 

If you want to keep life science translation costs down, you should consider a long-term collaboration with a translation company for multiple languages. When a language service provider is familiar with your processes and already knows your product, starting new projects requires minimal administrative work which reduces costs significantly. 

Final Thoughts

Life science translation is a growing niche in the language industry. As the life science segment expands and adds diversity, more companies will require translation services to expand globally and secure international collaborations. 

It will become vital for the companies in this industry to have a trustworthy partner for translating documentation to facilitate knowledge transfer and make expansion to new markets possible.