Everything You Need to Know about Life Science Translation

Everything You Need to Know about Life Science Translation

When it comes to healthcare, the need for excellent medical treatments and reliable information transcends borders. From ensuring that research is shared worldwide to making certain that people can receive medical care in their native languages, life science translation plays a vital role in providing lifesaving services.

To get a complete picture of life science translation, take a look at this essential guide.

A Brief Overview of the Life Science Industry

To understand the importance of life science translation, it is helpful to first go through a quick overview of the industry. Some of the most significant developments in life sciences occurred in the latter part of the 1900s when improvements were made in the areas of nutrition, vaccinations, healthcare practices, and sanitation procedures. During this time, the number of healthcare facilities being constructed increased, along with the number of trained medical practitioners. In addition, advancements were made in the development of new medications and healthcare treatments.

In present times, the life science industry has grown exponentially, with businesses and organizations making tremendous progress in several areas, such as pharmaceuticals, biotechnology, medical technology, clinical research, and healthcare remedies.

What Is Life Science Translation?

The need for life science translation became especially clear as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded, particularly since information and research had to be shared quickly and urgently across borders. Because of the essential services that life science translation provides, precise translations are a necessity. Even a single mistranslated word can result in dire consequences. As such, partner with a reputable life sciences translation services company to ensure that people everywhere can benefit from your work, regardless of where they are located.

Life science translation encompasses a variety of critical topics, such as:

  • Healthcare services for patients: When someone needs medical attention, they should be able to receive it without being limited by the language they speak. Patients need to be able to accurately explain their symptoms, as well as thoroughly understand their medical records, lab test results, aftercare instructions, and consent forms.
  • Pharmaceutical information: Understanding prescription information is vital to a patient’s recovery and overall health. Knowing the correct dosage, how often to take medication, and possible drug interactions are all essential aspects of the patient’s care. Without expert translation services, the person may take the wrong dosage or use the medicine incorrectly, which could gravely affect their health.
  • Medical device instructions and labeling: For medical devices to be effective, patients need to thoroughly comprehend how to properly use them. Therefore, precisely translated documentation is vital for ensuring patient compliance. These documents include labels, manuals, safety information, and instructions for use.
  • Clinical trial information: Every aspect of clinical trial documentation has to be translated so that potential participants are completely aware of whether they should join the trial. These documents include patient questionnaires that help to decide whether a person meets the requirements for the trial, along with adverse event information that ensures that participants are aware of potential side effects. Additional documents include informed consent forms to ensure that participants know valuable information to consider as they decide whether to participate.
  • Regulatory submissions documentation: One of the most intensely regulated industries is the pharmaceutical industry. If a translation is not reliable, then regulators will push back approval deadlines or even reject applications. Regulatory compliance is essential when acquiring product licenses. To ensure that your product’s regulatory terms are written correctly, contract with a translation company to address documentation, including instructions for use, quality review documents, and patient prescribing documentation.

The Benefits of Life Science Translation

Life science translation has many vital benefits for patients and businesses. These advantages include:

  • Saving lives: Whether it assists someone as they use their medical device or allows a patient to seek lifesaving treatment, life science translation ensures the safety and saves lives. To achieve the quality translations that are necessary for this industry, partner with a life science translation company with expertise in your specific field.
  • Ensuring that medical research information is accurate: With the technical details that comprise a medical research project, expertise is required to make sure that the research information is translated in both an accurate and concise way. As such, work with translators who are well-versed in the specific research field and ensure that they can provide context to the translated material.
  • Fostering communication between physicians and patients. Strong communication is critical in the medical field, and language barriers should not prevent medical teams from effectively communicating with patients and their families. Through life science translation, medical professionals can more easily gather information about symptoms and medical histories that will facilitate their diagnoses and plans for treating the patient.
  • Make certain that medical terminology is accurate: Medical terminology is one of the most detailed and intricate aspects of life science translation, particularly since even a minor change in wording can tremendously affect the medical treatment. Because medical jargon is generally related to the source language, some terms will probably not have a direct translation into the target language. As a result, context around the words and phrases is necessary to ensure the target audience will understand their usage. Additionally, since medical terms tend to be written and spoken using abbreviations and acronyms, the translations can become even more difficult.
  • Making sure that all medical documents are correctly translated: Most medical documentation is highly technical, and translating it requires a professional linguist who is a subject matter expert in the field. While you might be interested in trying to translate a basic medical document using an online tool, chances are that some wordings will not be translated properly. If that happens, the entire meaning of the document could be changed.
  • Helping life science companies expand into new markets: For the healthcare industry to evolve, it must remain innovative and stay at the forefront of significant research. New treatments, medical equipment, and updated medications are developed each day, benefiting people from different corners of the world. With the help of translation services, companies in the industry can meet the needs of clients and adjust to local regulations, allowing them to grow, evolve, and disseminate necessary information worldwide.

Best Practices for Life Science Translation

To achieve top-notch life science translations, follow these best practices:

  • Partner with a life sciences localization company: Start by seeking a translation company that hires professional, qualified translators who are subject matter experts. Additionally, the language services provider should pair you with a translator who is a native speaker of your target language, as well as someone who has experience with life science translations. Remember, mistranslations and omissions can severely alter the impact of the treatment and device. Working with a highly qualified translation team can ensure that such grave mistakes do not occur.
  • Develop clear style guidelines: To ensure consistency across translated materials, implement a clear framework for all details of the project, including formats, color schemes, and other content elements. Knowing these guidelines and expectations in advance will ensure that the translation project is on the right track from the beginning.
  • Make certain that all source documentation is accurate: If mistakes are made in the original documents, these errors will carry over in the translated work. For instance, if the wrong dosage is included in the source language’s medicine instructions, the critical error will end up in the target language’s information. To avoid these mistakes, make certain that the source documentation goes through a rigorous editing process before the translation work begins.
  • Standardize documentation: Whenever possible, making documents consistent and standardized will ensure that the translation process runs more smoothly. Additionally, standardization will make certain that the translations are accurate. Examples of such documents are consent forms, applications, letters, and all correspondence that uses templates.
  • Implement a translation memory system: The life science industry is constantly changing, therefore it can be difficult to maintain updated information. A translation memory system maintains specific and up-to-date dictionaries, terminologies, and encyclopedias of medicine, as well as any other relevant information. As a result, phrasing and terminology become far more accessible to translators, leading to a reliable and consistent outcome.
  • Make certain that all life science documentation is translated with cultural sensitivity: While cultural sensitivity is crucial in any field of translation, it is a more pivotal issue in the medical field. This becomes even more necessary when considering that any word can have multiple meanings within a language, especially as cultures differ. This is where localizing elements for a target audience is important; doing so can help solve issues like how to address medicinal dosages, such as the difference between ounces, grams, and milliliters.
  • Ensure that a quality assurance review is conducted: To make certain that the final translation is error-free, will resonate with the target audience, and is culturally sensitive, ensure that a quality assurance check is implemented. This should include reviewing the final document to make sure it meets all the project requirements and that it reads as though it was written in the source language. The translation company you select should offer a rigorous quality assurance process for the project.
  • Focus on data security: Whether your company works with pharmaceuticals, develops clinical trials, or provides direct patient care, confidentiality is crucial. As such, partner with a translation company that can guarantee that the data will be completely secure throughout the project. If the company cannot provide a clear process for ensuring data security, look for another life science translation company to conduct the work.

Cost of Life Science Translations

While you might be concerned about the cost of the translation, the return on your investment will far outweigh the cost. Several aspects should be taken into consideration involving life science translation costs, such as:

  • The target audience: Defining the target audience for a life science translation requires careful consideration to make certain you are reaching the necessary group of people. Because some projects will involve a more specialized audience, the work may be more extensive, ultimately affecting the cost.
  • The type of document being translated: While some medical translations are straightforward, others are much more detailed and include highly technical and specialized information. Complex documents will cost more than other types of life science translations. A company that specializes in life science translations will be able to give you a clear pricing structure, as well as offer a customized solution that meets your requirements and budget.
  • The expected turnaround time: The faster the final product is needed, the higher the price will be. This is because a quick turnaround time requires the help of a larger translation team to complete the work by the deadline.
  • The number of languages that are required: When determining the cost, the number of languages required, as well as the language pairings, have to be taken into consideration. Because the complexity of the languages leads to more time spent on the work, it raises the price. For instance, a rare language pairing will have a higher cost than a more common pairing, since skilled translators might be difficult to find.

One effective way to combat higher costs is with collaboration. If you work long-term with a company, the familiarity helps speed up the process. To start a project necessitates far less work, and because of this, the price will go down.

As the life science industry continues to cross borders and exchange information worldwide, more healthcare businesses will seek translation services to ensure that they can collaborate internationally. As such, it will be essential for companies to have a trustworthy, dependable life sciences translation solutions provider to work with them as they seek to expand into new markets and take their research and products abroad.


From medical devices to clinical trials, life science companies are realizing the need to collaborate across the globe. Take a look at our guide to life science translation, including information about why it is necessary, best practices for achieving it, and the cost of embarking on it.


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