GTE Localize

Your Ultimate Guide for Medical Localization Services

Posted by Chloe G. on December 12, 2022.

Medical localization services make medical content understandable to the target audience and compliant with the regulations of the target country.

The medical localization task involves more than just translating word for word. In this article, we will go through the key challenges when localizing medical information and the standard process of an effective medical localization campaign.

#1. Key Medical Localization Challenges


Medical translation and localization are challenging tasks as translators have to find equivalents of scientific and health-related terms, technical matters, and sometimes concepts for diseases or treatments that do not exist in the target culture or language. Listed below are some primary challenges you should beware of before performing medical localization:

  • Subject-matter expertise

The medical industry is involved in the lives and well-being of people, so all information regarding the patient’s record, drug’s ingredients and instructions, doctor’s diagnosis, medical software, etc. need to be translated and localized accurately. Translating medical terminology and jargon becomes even more complicated due to the emergence of new diseases and therapies. To ensure accuracy in your documents, you should get medical localization done by high-quality medical localization services providers or in-house translators with industry expertise. Otherwise, you are risking improper terminology usage. 

  • Confidentiality

The documents that are subjected to medical translation and localization are sensitive. Whether it is the patient’s record or your company’s medical software, it needs to be kept confidential. It is the legal obligation of the medical care provider and its partners to protect the privacy of relevant information. Therefore, it is not recommended to use Machine Translation for medical localization, which can make your information revealed. Instead, you should partner with a language service provider that has confidentiality procedures in place. You should ask your translation partner to sign an NDA before translating.

  • Precise terminology management

It is crucial to maintain terminology consistency throughout your documents. However, even experienced medical translators or technical writers can use terminology inconsistently. This may make it hard for the audience to follow up on your document and in the case of medical software translation and localization, make the toolless usable. Consistency in translation and localization can be achieved by using a glossary and a translation memory, which are in the procedure of many medical localization service providers at present. 

#2. The importance of Medical Localization Services


Machine Translation can be very helpful in daily conversation. In some cases, translation software even helps translation teams to handle duplicated strings. However, these automated tools are not smart enough to fully understand the context and create error-free translations. When it comes to medical localization services, it is way more necessary to rely on professional medical localization service providers.

  • Medical Localization Services: Get Rid of Errors

Technical accuracy is necessary for medical translation and localization services. No information should be added or deleted. For both doctors and patients, using incorrect information may cause unexpected complications. It is risky to omit information as well. All details regarding the patient’s medical condition need to be available. If something is not in their records, they can get a completely incorrect diagnosis, which leads to an improper treatment plan. By using reliable medical localization services, you can reduce this risk to a minimum.

  • Enhance Communication Efficiency

Besides industry expertise, medical localization specialists will have the ability to accurately convey the original content to the target language and target audience. It is not wrong to pick an equivalent in the target language for a medical term in the original document, but that is when the role of localization comes into play. By considering the audience who will read the translated text, including their country of living, behaviors in using words, cultural differences, etc., localization specialists help ensure communication efficiency by selecting appropriate terms and phrases.

Let’s take the case when a translator uses the nomenclature or terminology for certain viruses while translating medical documents for a lay audience. “Varicella” is the English medical term for chickenpox, but it is likely that a patient would not be familiar with this term. Therefore, when translating and localizing documents into English, a translator should use the term “Varicella” for medical professionals, and use “chickenpox” in a document intended for patients. Many other terms can be localized similarly according to the recipient of the document: 

  • Epistaxis or Nosebleed
  • Lachrymation or Excessive flow of tears
  • Choledocholithiasis or the Presence of gallstones in the common bile duct
  • Xerosis or Dry skin
  • Aphthous stomatitis or Non-contagious mouth sores
  • Xeroderma pigmentosum or High sensitivity to sunlight

Another example shows how cultural context affects the translation result. In American English, the word “surgery” means a procedure that a doctor will perform on a patient. Nevertheless, “surgery” in British English actually refers to the office hours of a doctor. Due to this difference, medical translators have to consider cultural context; otherwise, the meaning of the words they are translating can be misconstrued.

  • Medical Localization Services: Improve Patient Care

Besides increasing efficiency and saving money, medical localization services also help improve patient care. 

Documenting medical records guarantees a patient’s medical history. Medical translation/localization helps patients communicate their requirements to their doctors more effectively, meanwhile, translation and localization documents enable doctors to see accurate information on their patients and grasp their medical condition for further diagnosis and treatment plans. 

Based on all details specified, doctors can also ask better questions that their patients easy-to-understand and respond to accordingly. This helps smooth the communication process, so patients get cared for and are likely to receive proper treatment. 

  • Avoid Legal Risks

When you are expanding to sell your medical products/services to another country, you have to follow the laws of that country. Let’s take the pharmaceutical industry as an example. Before anything is launched to the market, the brand and its partnered medical localization services have to ensure the labels on each bottle and inside every package follow the local country’s standards. They need to check and recheck every label, whether it has sufficient information or not, including storage instructions, side effects/adverse reactions, and so forth. Experienced medical localization services providers will be aware of the differences in medical regulations, which vary among nations, and can easily help you out.

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#3. The Medical Localization Process 

A standard medical localization services procedure includes the following 8 steps:

3.1- Consultation

  • You tell your language service provider your requirements.
  • The language service provider will analyze and offer a tailored Medical translation solution based on your needed language pairs, volume, budget, etc.

3.2- Project Confirmation

  • Once you approve the Medical translation package, both sides confirm and complete the admin steps such as Non-Disclosure Agreement, contract, & deposit.

3.3- Project Kick-off

At this stage, the language service provider will:

  • Prepare linguistic materials (Glossary, Style guide, Termbase, etc.).
  • Choose the most suitable CAT tools or localization platform.
  • Allocate native translators.
  • Schedule a timeline for the project.

3.4- Translation + Editing + Proofreading (TEP)

  • A native translator will translate your Medical documents.
  • Other native linguists will edit and proofread the translated Medical documents.

3.5- Quality Assurance (QA)

  • Possible errors are detected by QA tools.
  • The linguists will vet the QA report one more time. Errors will be fixed if they’re true positive. This step repeats until the QA report contains only false-positive errors.

3.6- Formatting

  • The localization engineers use photo-imaging software to put text and graphics together in the right place.

3.7- In-context Testing

  • Testers of the language service provider will play the role of an actual audience to check laid-out files to make sure possible errors are eliminated.

3.8- Feedback implementation & Final delivery

  • The language service provider delivers the Medical translation and makes suitable changes if you have any feedback.
  • After that, they will submit the final Medical translation version to you.

#4. Choose GTE Localize for your Medical Localization Services

Medical localization is a very challenging task, which takes the target audience, culture, laws, usability, etc., into consideration, but it is well worth implementing. 

It is vital to have a trustworthy medical localization services provider to go with you in this process. If you are looking for that one, GTE Localize is a highly recommended option. 

We are committed to giving our clients high-quality content at a reasonable price. Below are our core values offered to clients:

  • 100% Native Translators

To produce high-quality services, we have more than 1200 native translators with high qualifications and experience in medical domains:

  • Bachelor’s Degree in translation and qualified for an MBA, MSc, PhD. in medicine, pharmaceuticals, etc.
  • 5+ years of experience in translating medical documents for many companies.
  • Lifetime Warranty Policy

With the help of qualified translators and the latest technology in the translation and localization industry, GTE Localize gives clients a lifetime warranty for our medical translation services. This guarantee applies to every content translated and localized by us, regardless of service, deadline, or price. 

  • Cost-effective Medical Translations

Applying technology in our procedure (Translation Memory, CAT tools, etc.) not only smooths out our workflow but also cuts down costs for our clients. Every dollar you spend with us is put to good use. 

Drop us a line to kick off your medical localization services today! We will get back right away to know more about your project and give you a free consultancy and a 300-word-long test.


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