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The Price of Translation

What is involved in the translation process? To do it right, a lot more than you may think—from working with subject matter experts to ensuring messages resonate in local markets.

The team at Welocalize Life Sciences offers these tips for understanding the true cost of translation and why creative, technical and highly regulated industries may require additional steps and expertise in the translation process.

Subject matter experts. Quality, skilled translators cost more. Translating content for highly regulated industries involves a team of linguists who understand the subject matter and the local market. Specifically, translators must have knowledge of what will resonate with the intended audience, as well as what could offend or even result in an unfavorable outcome. For example, in some Latin American cultures the word simpatía represents an important cultural value. Translated as “congeniality” or “affection,” the level of simpatía that patients perceive in clinical settings influences how satisfied they feel with their care. Contact us to find out about our rigorous linguist selection criteria and subject matter expertise.

Transcreation. To resonate with a local market, sometimes translation needs to be taken a step further, which is where transcreation fits in. Transcreation is about taking a concept in one language and completely recreating it in another language – it is normally applied to the marketing of an idea, product or service to international audiences. The aim is to get the same reaction in each language, something that translation alone is rarely able to achieve. Transcreation projects require working with specialized teams which might include bilingual creative writers, linguists and marketing specialists. The transcreation process can include copywriting, image selection, font changes and other elements that tailor your message to the local market.

Project team. Translation projects require a proactive project team that works in alignment with the client, catering to their preferences and maintaining the client’s glossaries and style guidelines. The project team consists of multiple skilled members, including a dedicated project manager. The ultimate benefit of qualified professional translation management is that projects run smoothly, are more likely to be delivered on time and within budget and meet the expectation of the client.

Processes and procedures. A professional translation firm will have quality assurance processes in place—and follow them, as opposed to cutting corners to save money. These processes may include back translations, linguistic validation, structured client review and multiple translation revisions. In addition, language service providers working with companies in highly regulated industries should hold third-party quality certifications, such as ISO certifications which validate that quality management standards are met. Welocalize Life Sciences is certified in ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485 and ISO 17100.

Working with life sciences industry experts is also a key element of a successful translation process. If your materials, products or trials are crossing borders, contact Welocalize Life Sciences for more information about our professional translation and transcreation services for highly regulated industries.

The Art and Science of Translating Regulated Content

To comply with laws and ensure that patients get the right treatment for their ailments, pharmaceutical, biotechnology and healthcare organizations must manage high volumes of content. They must keep all published information correct, current, and consistent across publications, packaging, websites and marketing materials. This is difficult enough to manage in just one language, but gets measurably more complicated as the companies add another step – translation into other languages. For each piece of content published in English, they now have to guarantee the accuracy, currency and consistency of the information they publish in French, German, Japanese, Russian, Thai and perhaps dozens of other languages.

Here are some tips from Welocalize Life Sciences for managing the art and science of translating regulated content.

  • Develop a clear global management strategy. Prepare the company and the products to compete in diverse international environments by aligning business goals with language, culture and communications characteristics. Appoint a qualified localization manager to oversee localization efforts.
  • Engage with partners who can help. Create and maintain processes for engaging and managing language and localization suppliers. Identify expert partners and technology platforms to help you efficiently translate and localize documents. Partner with industry providers like Welocalize Life Sciences who have specialist experience in regulated sectors and utilize only subject matter experts.
  • Consider language and culture. Regulated content may contain a variety of complicated medical terms that may not directly translate into another language. In addition, patients, whether inside or outside the home market, may have cultural values different from those of the researcher. Translation of clinical documents should take the specific culture into account. In many cultures, it is important that researchers and healthcare providers talk about the trial with – and possibly obtain permission from – the subject’s family. In some cases, organizations may need to gain permission from the local community before attempting to obtain consent from individuals for participation in a clinical trial.
  • Formalize your processes. Clearly document all processes connected with localization and use these processes to develop a system for efficient and effective localization. Centralizing translation and cultural adaptation processes often achieves consistency, correctness and legal compliance in global markets. This creates significant time and cost savings for your organization.
  • Leverage technology. If you manage content across multiple locations and translation providers, centralizing content management systems (CMS) and translation memory (TM) tools will streamline processes. Partnering with a language service provider who is willing and able to work across various technology platforms and provide guidance on how to optimize localization using technology is a critical part of a globalization strategy.
  • Conduct fluency checks. When medical and clinical materials are translated, it is not just accuracy but also fluency of the overall content that is required to ensure materials are culturally adapted for the target audience. Welocalize Life Sciences carries out a “fluency check,” after editing and proofreading, to ensure the flow of the compliance content is culturally appropriate and accurate. This ensures that consistency of terminology is maintained with no errors.

Cultural considerations, working with industry experts, and leveraging technology solutions are all key components of the translation process. Contact Welocalize Life Sciences for information on how we can help your global organization publish compliance materials and other regulated communications that are accurate and speak directly to your local, target audiences.

Language Barriers in End-of-Life Care

The population in the United States is growing older and more ethnically diverse over time, according to United States Census Bureau statistics. This means more medical resources will be devoted to end-of-life care (EoLC). Language barriers can often create additional costs and cause inefficiencies in EoLC. Studies show some patients from different ethnic groups are more likely to undergo intense, often non-urgent, treatments in their final years but are less likely to go into hospice care. end-of-life costs.

That’s a problem that better communication could ease, argues a team of researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine and the Veterans Administration’s Palo Alto, California hospital. However, until recently, no one really knew what stood in the way of doctors talking with their patients about planning for their final days, especially when those patients were from different ethnic backgrounds.

A team of researchers, led by Stanford clinical professor and Veterans Health Administration Doctor Vyjeyanthi Periyakoil, has data from a study aimed at uncovering the stumbling blocks. Of the more than 1,200 doctors surveyed, about five in six reported having had significant difficulties talking about death and dying with patients from different ethnicities and as a group they cited language barriers as the top reason. (Read the full study: PLOS ONE.)

“Medical jargon is often difficult to translate into other languages [as equivalent words may not exist] and approximate translations do not convey the true meaning and may lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication,” Periyakoil and her team write. Doctors also cited families’ religious and cultural beliefs as barriers.

For any language team working on medical and healthcare translation and interpretation, they must be fluent, native linguists and hold a high level of subject matter expertise. It is important to keep the translated content aligned with the source content. There is no room for error. However, it remains important to adapt the content to resonate with local audiences, both culturally and linguistically. Putting translators, linguists, and reviewers into the shoes of the patient creates a deeper understanding of overall objectives which can be delivered into all locales.

Contact Welocalize Life Sciences for more information on our medical and healthcare translation services.

Drug Information Association Meeting

Welocalize Life Sciences will exhibit at the annual Drug Information Association (DIA) Meeting in Chicago, IL, June 18-22, 2017. Key stakeholders will come together to discuss the most important challenges in healthcare product development in one place and platform: the DIA 2017 Annual Meeting.

Welocalize Life Sciences is dedicated to the highly regulated industries of clinical research, biotech/pharma, healthcare and medical devices. As an exhibitor, the firm’s life sciences translation experts will share best practices on the important role that language solutions and translation plays in clinical trials, patient recruitment and regulatory affairs material and documentation.

Contact us to schedule a meeting at DIA 2017.

Why Racial Diversity in Clinical Trials Matters

Clinical trials provide a critical base of evidence for evaluating whether a medical product is effective before the product is approved for marketing. One challenge that remains is ensuring that research participants are representative of the patients who will use the medical product.In 2014, the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) released a report that called for, among other things, “identifying barriers to subgroup enrollment in clinical trials and employing strategies to encourage greater participation,” that was specifically aimed at underrepresented ethnic populations and women. Historically, the elderly, women (in some therapeutic areas), and racial/ethnic minorities have been underrepresented in trials. In response to these concerns, Congress included Section 907 in the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act (FDASIA) of 2012, giving FDA direction to evaluate this issue and take action.An infographic published by Continuum Clinical shows examples of the massive health disparities among common disease states across different races and genders.
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According to the FDA, African Americans comprise 14% of the U.S. population, but only 5% of clinical trial participants. As the infographic above illustrates, African Americans account for a disproportionately high number of cases of cardiovascular disease and hypertension. Similarly, Hispanic/Latinos comprise 17% of the U.S. population, but less than 1% of clinical trial participants. Yet diseases such as obesity and Type 2 diabetes disproportionately affect Hispanic populations.Racial diversity in clinical studies matters because patients may respond differently to therapies based on their ethnicity or gender.For example, studies for a recently approved schizophrenia drug found that two important classes of blood pressure drugs were found to work less well in black/African American patients. The FDA has also reported labeling changes due to differences in dosing requirements between men and women, such as the recent labeling change with a sleep medication. As the  FDA’s Commissioner of Food and Drugs, Robert Cliff, stated in early 2016 when the FDA declared 2016 as the year of diversity in clinical trials, “These few examples show the importance of improving diversity in clinical trials, so medical products are safe and effective for everyone.”Welocalize Life Sciences specializes in linguistically and culturally accurate translation services for life sciences companies. Contact us for more information about our services for highly regulated industries.