Pharmaceutical translation must be done meticulously to ensure complete accuracy. Why? The common goal in medical translation services is simply health – that is, improving health, preventing and curing diseases to reduce mortality and improve the quality of life. The pharmaceutical industry plays a very important role in achieving this goal.
It is important to point out how important the role is of a pharmaceutical translator. Whether the translations are for a multi- million dollar international company or a small, start up company, the diligence put into pharmaceutical translation is the same. It is a highly specialized field that must only be done by highly qualified, trained and experienced translators. (More on the ideal qualities of an efficient translator).
The field of medicine has seen many cases of mistranslations or inaccurate translations that caused more than just small trouble. Pharmaceutical translation deals with anything from translating the initial screening reports and clinical studies to the detailed development of a drug, and eventually, advertisements and product labels. A single mistranslated word can lead to injury, death or years or costly law suits. (Read examples of medical translation mistakes here and here.)
Pharmaceutical translation services includes the following:
- Clinical trials
- PROs, protocols, patient information, pharmacy manuals, ICFs, CRFs
- all packaging and labeling materials
- Regulatory affairs
- CTDs and eCTDS, protocols, labeling and product inserts
- datasheets, SOPs, validation documentation, batch manufacturing records
- Legal documentation
- website translation, press releases and newsletters, brochures (learn more about marketing translation)
It is important to remember that pharmaceutical translation requires more than just linguistic expertise. Indeed, the translator must be a native speaker. Proficiency in both the target and source languages is important. However, this is not the only criteria for a qualified translator. Expertise in the medical and pharmaceutical fields is also a requirement. Knowledge in this field of study will arm a translator with knowledge of industry terminology, jargon and abbreviations. If they have experience working on translating pharmaceutical materials in the past, they would have come across certain issues or situations that will arm them with know- how in handling them.