Translation in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry faces a globalization trend that requires it to seek translation, interpretation, localization and terminology services in order to respond to the needs of companies and public institutions.

As it is closely regulated and because of the authority that is conferred upon it, the pharmaceutical industry demands specialized translators and additional care when completing translation projects.

What kinds of texts are translated in the pharmaceutical field and what are the challenges facing translators and translation companies as a result of the demands of such projects?


The need for translation in the pharmaceutical industry

The pharmaceutical industry is, alongside the medical profession, responsible for caring for the sick, alleviating pain, preventing illness and, ultimately, saving lives. It is therefore very important to understand the products and regulations that apply to them.

As with all industries that are not limited to the distribution of products in the domestic market, the pharmaceutical industry requires a large number of translations in order for it to be able to enter new markets and reach more people.

Translation plays a key role when dealing with products with unique characteristics in the market and with very specific functions, the prescription and dosage of which must be clearly understood.

Translation in the pharmaceutical industry includes pamphlets, pharmacopoeias, product information, patent records, documents about clinical trials, scientific reviews and articles published in specialist journals.

Translations are provided for institutions such as the European Union, in work connected to its activities in this area, and for the pharmaceutical industry, to assist it with the registration and distribution of products.

The growing internationalization of the products produced by large pharmaceutical industries has led to an increase in the demand for translation and localization services, and in ever greater concern for the quality of translations.


The challenges and demands of translating for the pharmaceutical industry

It is a highly-regulated industry, for example in its obligation to register patents and their respective translation, and the demand for quality is naturally very great.

Nothing is more important than accuracy in delivering translations that will have a direct impact on the consumer. Since its use is associated with health, all information must be both clear and correctly translated.

The greatest challenges translating for such a technical and specific industry is obtaining personal knowledge of medical and pharmaceutical terminology, as well as the correct way to translate into specific languages.

In addition to accuracy, the information must also be clear and accessible to all possible audiences. That is to say, the translator’s job is also to create a translation that can be understood by people with different levels of education and from different social backgrounds. 

It is also important that the translator has an in-depth knowledge of the industry, the various products and terms to be used, and a high degree of specialization in order to be able to guarantee the quality of the translations.

Knowledge of the legislation in this field, of the medical terminology used to describe possible side-effects and the chemical terminology used to describe the composition of each product are equally important.

As a rule, these translations are very demanding and challenging, with the translators normally seeking recourse to translation memories, glossaries and dictionaries in order to complete these projects.

Paying attention to the evolution of the language used by the industry and to industry resources and articles available online is also of great value to translators who wish to keep up to date.

Despite the challenge of translating in this area, it is important to ensure the final translation that the consumer reads is the best it can be.

Sources: Outsourcing-Pharma and Lexology

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