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octobre 22, 2020 |

7 Things We’ve Learned About Life Science Translations 

The life science sector has been changing to incorporate new technologies, and companies in the industry are looking for new ways to add value for their customers. Life science translations must keep pace with the sector and contribute to creating and delivering value as well. 

Technology has changed the way language service providers deliver life science translation services. At the same time, the core values that drive translators must remain unchanged. Companies in this industry still need reliable partners to deliver translation services,  guidance on global strategies, and compliance assistance for local markets. 

As we implement innovative tools and automate workflows, we continue to build our business around our customers’ specific needs. We’ve learned many things about life science translations, and we’ll continue to follow best practices to make sure every translation or localization project is a success story.  

1. Workflows Make Translation Partnerships Last

When working with a translation company, make sure you analyze how translators and collaborators work and how they communicate with clients. Establishing a workflow right from the start increases efficiency and strengthens collaboration. 

Ideally, the workflow that you build together with your language service provider should cover the four phases of a life science translation project:

Project Assessment 

In this stage, you want to know how your language service provider will analyze source materials. Also, make sure the workflow is set to enable you to deliver additional files and background information your collaborators need to complete the project successfully.

Terms and Conditions

In this second phase of a life science translation project, you must agree on the scope, cost, and other agreement details.


Terminology is an essential component in life science translations. Ensure that the language service provider has experience in terminology management to get top-quality translations in all languages and secure translation consistency.

Addressing Problems 

The workflow should cover compliance with standards and regulations. Also, it should specify how both parties can address problems that occur during the project.  

If your language service provider isn’t transparent about workflow, it could be a red flag. It’s hard to build long-term partnerships in this industry if life science companies don’t know what happens with their content during translation projects. 

2. Subject Matter Expertise Is Essential

Even the most experienced general translators aren’t likely to deliver accurate life science translations. In this niche, linguists handle multiple documents, from medical documentation to legal and financial texts. 

When experts in their respective fields sign your original content, you can’t expect an outsider to provide 100 percent accuracy in translation. A linguist with no previous experience in this niche will have difficulty understanding what’s in your documents in the first place. Therefore, it’s best to work with native language speakers with expertise in legal translations and different therapeutic areas, depending on your products and services.  

3. No One Can Do It All

Life science translations involve working with multiple Subject Matter Experts (SMEs), so you need a translation company that collaborates with a vast network of professionals.  

That’s because you’ll need to quickly incorporate all the linguists within a single life science translation or localization project. Working with multiple companies to handle legal, medical, and technical documentation will only increase the odds of things going wrong and slowing down the project. 

4. Regulations Are Always Changing

It’s no secret that regulations are one of the most challenging parts of the life science industry worldwide. Since your clients’ safety is at stake, you need to pay attention to all changes in every market you sell to. 

In this industry, translators know how to keep up with regulatory changes to ensure compliance. They’re familiar with the job’s particular challenges and deliver accordingly so that you don’t have to miss deadlines or lose business opportunities. 

5. Technology Alone Can’t Follow Best Practices

Technology enables language service providers to deliver accurate translations and guarantee high-quality of their services. However, relying exclusively on machines to handle translations should be off-limits. 

Software alone doesn’t know how intricate things can be in your industry. It has no idea about legal requirements, approval processes, or customer safety. Computers don’t understand how people speak and can’t know the different requirements when translating a clinical study from a user manual. 

Technology can’t follow best practices, so you need to rely on human translators to refine texts in multiple languages and secure the same clarity in your documentation across numerous regional markets. 

6. Automating Reporting Saves Time and Energy

While technology can’t replace human translators, it has a significant advantage that it can automate reporting. Language service providers that integrate automation into their processes can track progress in real-time and generate reports to share with their clients. 

It’s a quick way to improve transparency and keep everyone in the loop about analysis reports. This way, you get regular updates on the project at minimum costs.  

7. Collaboration Is a Game-Changer

Collaboration between life science companies and language service providers is vital for completing projects successfully. Most often, delays and missed milestones occur when the two parties don’t communicate and fail to collaborate on multiple levels. 

Encourage your employees to keep a proactive attitude and help translators when needed. Postponing tasks related to translation projects can affect the workflow and slow everyone down. 

Make sure that everyone in your team understands the implications of the translation project. Also, give your translation team access to background information and encourage them to communicate when they encounter any problems along the way to streamline information flows. Context is important for translators, and your in-house team of experts should be the go-to source for linguists when they need additional information. 

A trusted translation partner, effective communication, and transparency are the pillars of any successful life science translation or localization project.