Tips + Tools: Japanese Translation and Localization Quality

Life sciences’ translations contain extremely complex technical content, and translating them requires a cross-section of high-level competencies including linguistic, scientific and therapy- or device-specific terminological expertise.  In addition to the subject matter competencies, Japanese linguists should be native language speakers to ensure translations are accurate and culturally appropriate.

Jim Freville, Business Development Director at Welocalize Life Sciences, points out that when adapting content for new locales to remember the images, charts and graphics. “I have been involved in many projects where the requestor wants the text translated, but opts to not localize or translate the images or graphics. For example, translating a U.S. English marketing piece for China or Japan, but deciding to keep all the pictures comprised of people of a non-Asian demographic.”

Measures to Limit Subjectivity

As we discussed last issue, there is always an element of subjectivity where translation quality is concerned. But you can take measures to limit subjectively. Here are just a few:

Start at the source. Tightening up source content reduces the risk of translation quality issues.

Incorporate glossaries and style guides. Company style guides and glossaries are important tools that help guide linguists. Style guides and glossaries help to educate linguists and reduce subjectivity.

Train in-country reviewers. Train your in-country approvers on what they should look for when reviewing content.  There are many ways of expressing the same concept differently.

Steps for Ensuring Linguistic Quality

Japanese may have a reputation for being a “difficult” language, but there is no reason to not succeed in the life sciences space in Japan. In a January 2018 blog post, market research firm Common Sense Advisory outlines six steps for ensuring Japanese linguistic quality, including giving your translation agency leeway to rewrite your content using the source as inspiration.

Local Resources

According to Nicole Sheehan, VP Customer Success, Regulated Industries at Welocalize, “We have recently seen companies struggle to find Japanese translators that are able to meet desired quality standards. Welocalize has production offices in Tokyo, Japan with hundreds of individuals solely dedicated to recruiting, translating, proofreading and auditing the quality of our Japanese translations.”

Working with a professional language service provider is important. Contact us for more information on our quality Japanese language services for highly regulated industries.