Choosing a localization company for medical information can be a tricky process. How can you determine that a company who claims to have the resources, experience, and production structure to manage complex medical translation projects actually can deliver a quality product with quality service?
The CPSL team has many years of medical science localization under its belt. Here are our top 5 tips to help you evaluate, select, and work with a localization company:
Read our 5 Top Tips about Medical Science Localization
1. References, references, references.
As with most other fields of business, you want to know your provider can do what they say. Since the final product may not be in a language you personally understand, there is even more reason for caution. Take a good look at whom they work with, the type of projects they’ve carried out (are they relevant to your needs?) and whether they are still working with these clients. Get direct testimonials if you can (not just those furnished by the provider).
2. Quality certifications
For medical project work the provider must have at least the three core ISO certifications. If not, you risk substandard quality that could prove disastrous, particularly where pharmaceutical translation is concerned. Check for all of these:
Also check that the ISO’s are all current and verify the date of the most recent audit.
3. What are their workflow procedures and management systems?
Does the potential provider have a quality assurance manual that undergoes regular improvements and audit? Are they willing to let you have a copy? it’s important to understand how they measure and ensure quality. How do they manage large volumes, version control and tight deadlines?
You need to ask detailed production questions, and get detailed answers. Speaking from this side of the table (i.e., experts in medical localization), it is always a pleasure to work with clients who are organized and know how they want to manage their projects, incorporating the translation vendor as a “back office” support that integrates into a seamless workflow.
4. It should go without saying that the localization company uses Translation Memory technology.
Even more, they must explain how they will use it to benefit you, the client. If they don’t use such tools, you’ll miss out on cost savings and suffer from quality issues when approved terminology is not managed at optimum level for present and future use – a real problem with medical science translation projects that we sadly hear all too frequently. This technology is also essential to maintain the consistency required by regulatory authorities.
5. Regulatory Affairs: how much should a translation company know about regulations in other industries such as medical devices and pharmacy? Translation agencies are not required to know the ins and outs in detail, but a proven understanding of the essentials, and personalized assistance on a client’s own project workflow are extremely important when sensitive data or standard formulations are concerned.
For instance, an experienced agency will establish “translation tool kits” of information, references, web links, reference material, style guides, templates, term glossaries and instructions along with the prepared files for each translator, proof reader and editor on a project. This approach is essential for dealing with the extremely exacting requirements of regulatory agencies regarding, for example, pharmaceutical labeling, or device safety labels and warnings. Regulators often require specific language that is different for each country, and translators need to be aware of these (again, maintaining them in Translation Memory will prevent costly errors).
Does your translation agency offer that level of preparation?
Summary: optimizing medical science localization
To select a partner for your life sciences translation work, focus on the experience they have, proof of quality processes and whom they work with. If they are good enough for a competitor of yours who leads in their field, that could be reason enough to take them on board for your own translation journey. For process management and the steps to a successful workflow, feel free to contact CPSL at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re one of the longest serving and most experienced specialists in life sciences and medical services localization in the world and we’d be happy to provide a free, no obligation quote.
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