Translating & localizing a medical book on complex and niche fields for NPO Corporation

Translation of a 100,000+ words book on training for physicians including obstetrics and gynaecology into Japanese for NPO Corporation.

Despite the challenging subject area & content, Ulatus successfully managed to complete 114,192 words with 36% faster delivery and highest translation quality.

Project Summary

Medical Book Localization
  • Service name: Book Translation
  • Language Pair: English to Japanese
  • Industry: Gynaecology, Medicine, Perinatology
  • Volume: 114,192 words in scope

Background & Project Requirement

NPO corporation is a nonprofit organization in Japan that deals with nonprofit activities, such as promoting social education, tourism, town development, improving health, medical care or welfare, promoting science, culture & arts, conducting disaster relief and local safety activities, and much more.

As an NPO, one of the sub-domain being Perinatal Medical Support, this corporation aims to compensate for the shortage of medical staff and medical departments in the medical fields such as obstetrics and gynaecology, paediatrics, and emergency medical care, and to eliminate the uneven distribution of these physicians by sector and region. In other words, the corporation provides training for medical staff and medical students such as doctors and nurses who work in the medical field of pregnancy, childbirth, newborn infants, and those who aim to become healthcare workers and engage in Women's healthcare. The purpose of this program is to ensure the provision of medical insurance, medical care and social welfare and the sound growth of children.

Our client was looking for a Book Translation pertaining to the Perinatal Medical Support and they were looking for a language partner who would easily adapt to the complex and niche fields of studies such as obstetrics, gynaecology, paediatrics, emergency medicine and at the same time make it understandable and appealing to the local residents. This organization provides special care & support to the prenatal risk assessment, genital bleeding during early pregnancy, patient-physician relationships, parental support in childbirth crisis, and reduced risk of malpractice. 

Medical translation requires a thorough understanding of cultural differences; it should be considerate of cultures. A translation can be accurate and correct, but lacking the cultural appropriateness; it can jeopardize the whole project. Being a very specialized field, medical translations demand not only linguistic accuracy but also terminology precision, and hence, the client wanted linguists to have impeccable knowledge about the medical terminologies, especially for the sub-domain Gynecology/Obstetrics. With our extensive network of linguists and stringent recruitment process, Ulatus was able to ensure that the client’s needs were met.

Challenges faced by Ulatus for the project

114,192 words delivered in 67 days, with 4 people review process

The client was in a hurry and wanted the translation of the book to be done as early as possible, and get it published. The project demanded delivering approx. 114,192 words within 67 days, including 3 stakeholder process (Translation + Translation Check + Japanese Editing) and Ulatus helped deliver this with top-notch quality.

Finding a native Japanese translator who specialized in Perinatology

Usually, for a project this important, we provide our clients with a Trial translation at the initial stage wherein they decide the team they want to proceed with. For this particular book translation, no trials were done due to rush delivery date.

Maintaining medical register and colloquial register for the same medical terms

What sets medical translation apart from other technical translations in terms of difficulty is its multiple registers. In the field, many body parts and diseases have one name in a more elevated (medical) register and another in a lower (colloquial) register. Examples include "thorax" versus "chest," and "pertussis" versus "whooping cough."

When we got to understand the integrities of the whole project, we recognized the complexities involved. Since the end deliverable of this project was a book going to be published. We had to work closely with the entire translation team in order to monitor the consistency of the translated text.  

Not just plain translation but achieving culturally and linguistically accurate technical terminology in Japanese

A key answer to every challenge in the medical translation process is subject matter expertise. It plays a crucial role in ensuring a professional, accurate medical translation (linguistically, culturally, and in terms of terminology).

Maintaining and mapping of input and output image in the translation process

It was informed by the client that the book had many images, including text boxes with some text portions inside the images were hidden due to space issues.

Solution provided by Ulatus to client

Using a Perinatology Translator specializing in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, with 15+ years of experience

Medical Translation is demanding, and only the most experienced people can work on it. With subject matter experts and rigorous quality procedures, translation project can be close to perfection.

At Ulatus, we believe in the paramount role of subject matter expertise in medical translation specifically. Our medical translation team includes native-speaking translators and linguists with a great deal of subject matter expertise and understanding of target culture and audience, who can work to come up with a culturally-adapted accurate translation.

With Ulatus’ 360 Degree coverage of handling medical translations, we could easily understand the subject matter expertise required of this particular project and basis the historical experience, from inception, we could directly focus into the important aspects which majorly include translation of Drug names and their adaptability for the target audience.
Since this book required specific subject expertise under "Obstetrics and Gynecology", we carefully selected the translation team who were experts under this subject and had vast experience and specialization in this field.

Proprietary algorithm to choose the most fitted linguistic team for this book

Ulatus has a proprietary tool that automatically selects an ideal list of linguists required for the project. The selection is based on a proprietary algorithm in-built in our project management workflow system selecting the best and most highly skilled linguistic team.

Employing multiple "maker-checker" checkpoints

Along with subject matter expertise, linguistic background and a strong command of the target and source language can be a great asset to this project. Since they understand how important is it to keep up with the updates of the medical terminology, it further boosts the quality of the translation.

As the margin of error was zero and the deadline was tight, multiple experienced linguists were selected for this project under little to no time to spare with their experience ranging from Doctor of Medicine (MD ) to PhD in "Obstetrics and Gynecology" over the course of 15+ years. This greatly helped in the fluency and correct usage of medical terms while adapting to the style of book translation.

Linguists had a full grasp of the matter in hand, efficiently utilized the terminology and jargon of the field, recognized the variations of these terms and how to appropriately employ them depending on the target audience, as well as decently handling any irregularities and exceptional cases.

The “maker and checker” concept was initiated for this project to be absolutely sure that nothing was missed due to the stringent deadlines and complex technical nature of the project. Along with it, regular quality and language editing checks were performed by our in-house quality team to ensure that fluency is constant.

At Ulatus, with the help of a dedicated Project Manager who was overlooking the entire project along with managing tight deadlines, we were able to manage all of this seamlessly.

Using Terminology Directory and Translation Glossaries prepared by the Lead Linguist

Being a very specialized field, medical translation demands not only linguistic accuracy but also terminology precision. Medical translation has its specific unique terminology, related to illness, procedures, medications, etc., and a translator should be extremely familiar and knowledgeable of these medical concepts and terminology.

Together with the help of Ulatus’ qualified linguists and the use of state of the art translation tools and terminology directory like MedDRA, where there was no technical term list provided by the client, we internally prepared the glossary which was adhered by the entire translation team and especially by the translation checker who was responsible for maintaining consistency of terms throughout the document. Translation glossaries were used to overcome the challenges of medical terminology. These approaches ranged from coining new terms, adapting terms to the target culture, or just keeping the terms.

Collaborative Translation Customised workflow

Considering the Importance of this project, Ulatus followed out of the box approach customized only for this project wherein Project management Team delivered this project in truncations, after the end of every chapter, files were delivered to the clients for their review. Further, with strong After-sales service support, Ulatus could make the changes suggested by the reviewers and tone and quality of the document were adjusted as per the client’s expectations. To achieve this, we had to work very closely with the client since before the final delivery, there were multiple batch deliveries involved. The client was very co-operative and open to suggestions and recommendations at the same time to the queries we had.

Translating multiple images within the space available

The document consisted of many images that required special attention of the translation team while translating the chapters since the text was supposed to be adjusted according to the image size, along with ensuring there were no omissions of text. This was carefully and well taken care of by the translation team and was checked by the project manager after receiving the files from the translation team, ensuring no issues faced by the client.

36% earlier delivery than the deadline

Delivering the project faster and within the client specified timeline was one of our biggest challenges. Also, considering the technical aspect of this project, it is very difficult to achieve faster TAT. With the rigorous and multiple quality checks in place and the file revisions for the reviewer’s feedback, Ulatus delivered High-quality translation of the book in a very short time span of 11 weeks versus 17 weeks, which are actually required for such a High-Quality Book Translation project of this volume.

Solution Summary

  • Involved Translators specializing in Perinatology with more than 15 Years of experience
  • 36% earlier delivery than the deadline
  • Prepared Master Terminology Checklist to Achieve Consistency and Implemented Quality Assurance Process
  • Sent Interim Files to the Authors for Approval of Translation Accuracy

Let's Work Together