Clinical ResearchCOA/eCOATranslation/LanguageLocalization/Adaptation

Localizing Platforms for Digital Health: The Importance of Post-Localization Context Review

Localizing Platforms for Digital Health: The Importance of Post-Localization Context Review

In a landscape defined by continuous technological advancement, many organizations in the life sciences industry strive to increase audience engagement through digital modalities, such as mobile and web applications or web portals.

Building a robust technological infrastructure with integrated platforms can be a profoundly complex undertaking. When it comes to expanding into new markets, it becomes imperative to answer the question of how to appropriately localize digital content. 

However, localizing digital content does not end with translation. Rather, the additional steps to ensure said translation is displayed accurately and adequately for the end user are instrumental in its success. To this end, industry best practices recommend including post-translation and in-context reviews—in other words, a review of the translations directly on the platform to certify the text was rendered correctly and no issues arose from uploading content in a different language.

These instrumental steps help mitigate the risk of user-facing errors usually caused by elements such as:

Language context and formatting: Translations for digital end-use should be done through technical file formats, such as xliff, JSON, Excel, XML, etc., which are easy to import/export to/from the platform. However, these formats also show the text in a list of strings with little or no context, commonly leading to translation inaccuracies. For example:

  • What should a linguist do when confronted with a single Excel string showing the text “back,” but they are unsure as to whether it’s a button or a component within the body of the text?
  • Consider a case where the text “back” appears within multiple strings with no context. There is a heightened risk of misinterpretation, and only by looking at the final output will linguists be able to confirm the correct translation based on the context.

Technical aspects: Whether text cutoff, corruption, symbols, or characters not displaying correctly, unidentified technical issues can alter the meaning of the content or render it unintelligible. 

  • Evaluating the translation in context allows for it to be easily proofread and reviewed for overall quality, with additional space to make necessary improvements before going live.

In-context review can be performed across different processes, with platform-specific features determining which process is best to conduct this review.

Screenshot Review:

  • Specialized linguists will look at source and target screenshots aligned side by side to detect any errors caused by the content upload and confirm the translation quality and accuracy are retained in its final setting. 

  • Any required edits are marked up in the screen report. If linguistic and not functional, these are updated directly in the translation file to be re-uploaded.

New rounds of review (regression) are performed until all issues are resolved. 

  • This is a necessity when screenshots are required for submission to ethics committees.
  • It is strongly recommended for other applications, web apps, or static websites when there is a screenshot generation capability. 
    • If screenshots are regularly needed, but the system has no screenshot generation capability, consult with your translation vendor about their ability to provide script-building services and support in establishing your screenshot automation plug-in.

On-Device Post-Localization Testing:

  • The platform’s functionalities are tested in a live environment to ensure everything works correctly and eliminate any bugs that may affect the user experience, such as text expansion/truncation, character corruption, mistranslation due to lack of context, problematic line breaks, etc.

  • Provide the vendor with access to a staging environment to familiarize themselves with the live setting and test its functionalities.

  • Bugs are reported through a ticketing system on the client’s chosen platform.

  • Staging is performed on specific devices to replicate the same experience as the final user. 
    • This is particularly pertinent in cases of dynamic web portals or when localization best practices were not considered when building the platform, resulting in functionality concerns.

Post-localization testing on an emulator

  • This is a highly recommended option in circumstances where there is no capability to test on real devices/browsers. 

  • It aims to replicate a specific device’s view; however, the emulator is not guaranteed to completely match the real device, which could result in potential issues not being flagged or resolved.
    • To minimize the risk of rendering issues, the emulator needs to resemble the original device as much as possible.
    • Emulators should also have multiple rendering options—the ability to select the device and screen size to test the same content within multiple scenarios.

Whether you are a digital provider or seeking digital provider support, it is important to be proactive and select a localization vendor that can support you throughout the process to ensure a successful launch in any country or market you expand to.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Use internationalization (i18n) consulting. Select a digital vendor that has completed rounds of i18n consulting in advance of platform finalization.  This process includes a team of engineers who can advise on building a platform’s code to ensure its ability to host different alphabets (right-to-left, character alphabets, specific symbols, accent marks, etc.).

  • Only use native language resources—both linguists and testing teams—who are subject matter experts in the content being translated.

  • Have a conversation about processes and suggested workflows customized to your platform. A language service provider’s technical team should discuss all elements regarding file import/export functionality, post-localization review process, bug reporting modalities, project plan, etc. 

  • Ensure the language service provider has the technical knowledge to advise on the best workflows for each platform and to troubleshoot accordingly. A vendor with a robust technical capability will be able to simplify the process by handling technical file formats and providing additional consulting and services such as screenshot generation, script writing, and screenshot automation set-up.

Interested in localizing an app or any other platform and would like to know all the available options based on your requirements? TransPerfect Life Sciences’ digital health subject matter experts will consult with your team and advise on the best process, as well as support you in building a personalized workflow for translation and in-context review to localize your platform from beginning to end. Reach out to us today to get started. 


more resources

Digital Health’s Role in Improving Patient Engagement

​ In recent years, the patient journey has become more virtual, with patients seeking online information prior to engaging with healthcare providers (HCPs). Even as we transition back into traditional, in-person patient care, digital health is proving to be much more than just a...

Digital Health Tools and Patient Support in China

Digital health has been a trending topic in the life sciences space, and has gained particular momentum due to the COVID-19 outbreak. In 2020, the global digital health market was valued at over $141.8 billion. This is expected to increase in value at a compound annual...

Your Treatment Plan for Curing the App Localization Headache

If translation had a prefrontal cortex, in-country review would create quite the headache.  This is particularly true for app localization. App localization is the process of adapting apps and their content to another language in a conceptually equivalent and culturally...