Localization in the life sciences industry
When we talk about the life sciences in the context of language industry, it is, for the most part, about the translation and localization of medical and pharmaceutical content.
Life sciences comprise an extremely wide field of scientific disciplines whose focus is on the study of living organisms and whose main purpose is understanding and improving the quality of life. When we talk about the life sciences in the context of language industry, it is, for the most part, about the translation and localization of medical and pharmaceutical content. Challenging as it is, this is also one of the fastest growing fields of translation industry and possibly the one whose impact on society in general extends much further than of any other.
Every translation task has one ultimate goal – communicating the meaning of the source material in an accurate and stylistically appropriate manner to the target language. In other words, if translators cannot understand the meaning of the source information the accurate translation is impossible, and it goes without saying that the consequences of a bad or imprecise translation in life sciences may be very serious.
In addition to the mandatory mastery of both source and target language, every translation task also requires a certain level of additional background knowledge and this is where the main challenge of translating the life science content lies – proficient translators with background in medicine, pharmacy or any other life science are rare.
When translating and localizing to comparatively smaller languages, we may encounter terms that simply do not exist in the target language.
When translating and localizing to comparatively smaller languages, we may encounter terms that simply do not exist in the target language. In some cases, the appropriate linguistic literature, such as medical dictionaries, is not available and the terms need to be adopted or transcreated, which can only be done with the linguistic and life science knowledge and experience being combined.
Translating of life science content encompasses a wide range of materials ranging from instructions for use of medical devices and in vitro diagnostic devices (IFU), manuals for MDs and patients, patient information leaflets (PIL), summary of product characteristics (SPC), study protocols, questionnaires, informed consent forms, instructions, packagings, labels, marketing materials and more.
To answer these challenges and to provide linguistic services to the ever-expanding life sciences industry, LSPs form teams of translators specialized in translating the life sciences content that usually include professional consultants such as MDs, pharmaceutics and other professionals.