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June 9, 2021 | News

Top Trends That Will Shape Medical Translation Post-Pandemic

Both 2020 and 2021 have been challenging years for the translation industry and a milestone for medical translation. The pandemic has highlighted the importance of language services in the medical field—during a global healthcare crisis and in general. 

During the pandemic, medical interpreters and translators have found themselves in a unique position. They had to handle the challenging task of helping pass on the latest information to researchers worldwide. It’s safe to say that much of the medical progress we’ve seen is, in part, a result of their work and dedication. 

As we head to a post-pandemic era, we can expect more collaborations between organizations that operate in the medical industry, many of them international. In this context, we’re likely to see consistent growth in the medical translation niche. 

Let’s take a look at some of the trends that will shape medical translation post-pandemic—and how you can anticipate them to ensure consistent growth. 

1. Anticipate and Innovate 

According to Slator 2021 Language Industry Market Report, the post-pandemic landscape in the language industry will be a hybrid, bringing together old and new trends. Between remote working and accelerated technology adoption, language professionals will have to learn to anticipate shifts and find innovative ways to keep up with more industry standards than ever before. 

Medical translators and interpreters follow rigid protocols and observe rules and laws as part of their daily routines. However, as more companies in this industry need to meet new market requirements in a post-pandemic world, language professionals will have to be more vigilant and learn everything they can about new procedures and terms on the fly. 

The industry is moving faster than ever and global industry leaders have learned from the rapid response to the pandemic. They’ll start implementing new standards and protocols to optimize workflows and increase efficiency in their international operations. 

As much as 73% of executives in the pharma and medical supplies industry expect the COVID-19 crisis to turn into a growth opportunity. They’re ready to innovate and feel prepared to address the changes as quickly as they arrive. In this context, language professionals will play a significant role in implementing and maintaining these new standards globally. 

2. Add New Languages 

The pandemic has revealed how unprepared most countries were to handle medical emergencies. Before 2020, around half of the world’s population didn’t have access to essential healthcare. The pandemic has made the situation worse in most countries, and global organizations will have to step in and make healthcare more accessible to people from all cultures. 

In this case, too, medical translation post-pandemic will play an essential role in giving people access to information and healthcare services in all languages. 

The World Health Organization (WHO) plans to introduce UHC (Universal Health Coverage) so that, “all individuals and communities receive the health services they need without suffering financial hardship.” 

This project needs not only an influx of capital and healthcare workers but also the support of language service providers. Medical translators and interpreters can facilitate communication between nations and accelerate projects in countries where language and cultural barriers make it difficult for parties to communicate appropriately. 

Depending on the countries and regions included in healthcare projects, the medical translator niche may require an increase in the number of experts who can provide services in specific language pairs. Therefore, it’s essential for language service providers operating in this niche to be prepared to deliver top-quality services in all languages. 

3. Use AI to Accelerate Turnarounds  

Human translation is essential in the healthcare industry. From rigid terminology to the need for empathy in managing doctor-patient communication, most medical translations require 100% accuracy. 

That doesn’t mean that machine translation and automation don’t play a vital role in delivering quality and quantity within the set budget and deadlines, however. Language service providers will have to accelerate technology adoption and find the best ways to integrate human translation with computer-assisted translation and machine translation to increase efficiency and deliver better results faster and affordable.   

Medical translation services are always in demand, and professionals will have to find new and more reliable ways to deliver the same top-quality services every time to meet their clients’ expectations. Translation agencies that want to remain competitive in this field will have to stay on top of new trends to increase productivity. While there’s still resistance in some areas, overall, more and more companies will embrace change to thrive in the post-pandemic ecosystem. 

Controlling costs will continue to be one of the top challenges for language service providers post-pandemic. Relying on technology will be a cost-effective way to secure profits and scale businesses that provide medical translation post-pandemic. 

Language experts will continue to play an essential role in the process, and they must master new skills fast to get the most out of the latest tools available in the industry. 

4. Update Pricing Models  

As more language service providers implement modern tools in daily operations, the old per-word pricing model will no longer reflect the reality of the translation industry. According to the same Slator 2021 study, new pricing models are emerging, making it easier for service providers to stay relevant in the market. 

The number of pricing factors will continue to grow. Besides demand and supply, customers will pay more attention to elements like a translator’s experience in a specific field, their ability to deliver consistent work, turnarounds, and integration with the company’s existing process, among other things. 

Medical Translation Trends – What’s Next? 

Both the healthcare industry and scientific research will continue to require consistent support from medical translators and interpreters in the coming years. The optimistic predictions in the medical sector will positively impact the medical translation niche, securing jobs and consistent revenue growth. Companies will continue to look for accuracy, reliability, and empathy when choosing their language partners in this new era of medical discoveries and technological advancement in healthcare. Consequently, companies that want to remain relevant should invest in continuing education, accept change, and innovate their processes to keep up with their clients and their specific needs.