Companies in the life sciences industry invest huge amounts into keeping their businesses growing, especially when moving into a new market. Behind the scenes lots of work goes into keeping these companies afloat, and it couldn’t be done without localization.
Life sciences…translation…how does it all fit together?
Life sciences and translation/localization are a bit of an odd couple, but deep down inside they are a match made in heaven. Almost all companies in the life sciences industry have to do business abroad, which means they need to speak the local lingo. Very few companies have the resources to translate everything in-house, which is where LSPs (language services providers) like us come in. Given the life-or-death nature of the majority of texts, understanding the translation process has never been more important. More importantly, using a professional agency who can deal with the complexity of this industry is an absolute must.
What life sciences regulations do I need to know about?
The life sciences industry is one of the most heavily regulated industries in the world, and this makes our lives as translators that little bit more complicated. Not only does your translation agency have to be capable of handling medical terminology, they have to know the rules and regulations too. Acts like HIPAA are in place to protect patient confidentiality and protected health information, and translation agencies are legally required to follow it. Reputable LSPs should also work in accordance with ISO 9001, ISO 27001 or ISO 17100 regulations, which cover translation quality standards and information security. There are also European and national regulatory bodies that have specific translation terminology that needs to be kept to.
Is there anything else I need to keep in mind when ordering a life science translation?
Another thing to keep in mind when tackling life science localization is the fact that traditional TEP (translation-editing-proofreading) is simply not enough anymore. One example is that PIL (patient information leaflets) actually require readability testing, and it’s recommended for other of documentation too. You should also consider the marketing and sales potential of your new markets, so that you’re not missing out on that all important ROI.
How can I make sure that my LSP is a life science professional?
The market is full of translation companies, but knowing which one is right for your translations is better than ever. So, to round things up, here’s a checklist of things to keep in mind when choosing a new partner:
- Different documents need different styles, so feel free to discuss this with your LSP. They’ll be able to recommend which style is best for you.
- Make sure they know about approved terminology. They will be able to give you a list, and most companies like ourselves even perform in-house quality reviews to make sure this set terminology is kept too.
- Ask for blind CVs of the linguists doing your translations. Most translation agencies keep their translators’ CVs on record, so by having a look at their CV, you can make sure that their linguists really are life sciences experts.
- Check how they work. Some LSPs like us have set teams for documentation and another one for marketing, even if they are for the same products.
- Ask about rules and regulations to make sure that they are always followed.