What Is Life Sciences Translation?

Let’s first define the term “translation” within a life sciences context. Life sciences translation is the adaptation of clinical documentation and MedTech materials across different languages. While the concept may seem relatively simple, it can be (and often is) a much more complex endeavor.

Due to the high risk involved, life sciences translations must be completed by subject matter experts. Translations must also go through numerous quality control processes to ensure the content is conceptually equivalent, culturally appropriate, and accurate. There are even specialized translation methodologies specific to life sciences.

In some cases, the most minor of errors in the translation process could cause a number of issues in R&D, including increased product-to-market timelines, higher affiliated costs, and endangered patient safety.

Let’s now talk about the role of language service providers (LSPs) in all of this.

Top 5 Benefits of Partnering with a Specialized Language Service Provider

LSPs can help life sciences companies prioritize KPIs and deliverables depending on your organization’s goals and target market. We’ve outlined a few benefits for life sciences companies when partnering with an LSP:

1.) Regulatory Compliance

For life sciences companies conducting research or marketing overseas, it’s important to understand the target market’s regulations. This is to ensure compliance, stay on project deadlines, and protect patient safety.

LSPs can help navigate the regulatory requirements that notified bodies put in place. For example, in the European Union (EU), medical device documentation entering the market must be translated into all 24 official languages, regardless of the country that the drug is being marketed to. Life sciences companies seeking market share in the EU can partner with LSPs to assist with these translations and comply with local regulations.

2.) Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DE&I)

Translation is a straightforward and effective way to amplify the patient voice and embrace patient diversity throughout the medical product development process, helping them make informed decisions regarding their health and treatment options by providing information in their own language. This is particularly true for global clinical trials, as translation is often a necessary tool in the patient recruitment process. Sponsors and CROs must ensure that they have authenticated data that is reflective of the patient experience.

Improving patient recruitment and patient engagement holds benefits beyond regulatory compliance. It also leads to more inclusive research through real-world evidence of the medical product’s functionality across different populations. This allows adjustments to be made or further research conducted.

3.) Technology & Data Security

Another benefit of partnering with an LSP is data security. Data privacy laws around the world (i.e., HIPAA or GDPR) require patient data to be protected, and adhering to these laws is essential in gaining market access. Experienced LSPs should have the technology and systems in place to not only protect sensitive data, but also improve translation workflows and costs over time.

One way this is accomplished is through translation memory (TM). When a life sciences company partners with an LSP, past projects are stored in a TM database, and can then be leveraged for future projects. Over time, TM enables higher savings, faster turnaround times, and consistent high-quality translations across life sciences translation projects.

4.) Subject Matter Expertise

Life sciences translation must be accurate and consistent, regardless of the language it is delivered in, to ensure stakeholders across different geographies, cultures, etc., have access to the same information. That is why clinical or medical translations must be conducted by subject matter experts who have local cultural knowledge and technical expertise. Qualified LSPs should have extensive databases of subject matter expert linguists who have undergone rigorous testing. This makes matching the right linguist to the right project easier and increases trust in the translation quality.

5.) Experience

For life sciences organizations expanding into new markets, it’s important to partner with experts in globalization. Well-established global LSPs can not only offer all the above-mentioned benefits, but also show a record of historical success.

For medical products to benefit the global population, including reaching those of diverse backgrounds, translation is a critical component. Partnering with an LSP can help life sciences businesses beyond just translation. They can become an important and trusted partner throughout the globalization process.

Interested in learning more about translation and its integral role for global life sciences companies? Contact us for more information.