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Important factors to consider for medical device translation

Medical device translation services are rapidly growing, and the demand is surged due to increased processes of globalization and more than ever sales of medical devices. 

The United States is one major exporter of medical devices, and they ship devices and medical equipment to different countries where they have different languages in practice. 

So, medical device translation services are required for all those countries where English is not spoken as any second or third language. People need manuals in their languages to understand the functioning of devices and equipment. 

This is when the life science industry requires translation. There are a number of laws and regulations that the life science industry has to take care of while making translations. Proper and quality translation services can save the lives of millions.

Important factors that require scrutiny 

Whenever medical devices companies require translation services, they have three options to chose from. 

They can either hire freelance translators or use in-house resources of translators or get the translation done from employees who speak the target language and last but not least go for a professional translation solution.

However, whatever they intend to go for, there are several factors that they should consider prior to translation services and this can also help them to choose the right option as well.

Starting translation process early

It is always best to plan beforehand and accomplish the tasks timely. Hence, it’s a better idea to hire a translation team quite early in the process of medical device translation. As waiting for things to happen and shape up till the end could be disastrous and cause much chaos.

 Having a translation team on board before time can help with many things. The translators can get familiar with the products and have a better idea about their work and translational requirements. 

They can see the initial stages of the development happening. This gives them a better understanding. It makes translating documents quite easier and quick as well.

Accomplishing tasks within time is also helpful for the company as well as the language service provider. The company can go through the translation and its quality. 

They can resend the content for further checks and improvements if needed. Moreover, it makes them avoid last-minute chaos and hiccups.

A huge number of documents that requires translation for every device

Medical device translation services involve translating a big range of documents, manuals, handouts, and instructions. These further include software, firmware, installation, instruction manuals permit, and hardware things. However, these are not limited to it.

Manuals and descriptions

This category includes

  • Usage instructions
  • Manuals for operating equipment
  • Installation manuals

Regulatory compliance and patents documents

Regulatory compliance translation services are also in demand. There are language service providers who are delivering these services. However, these require professional translators with relevant expertise. These include

  • Medical devices patents
  • Surgical devices patents
  • Medical Graphical user interface
  • Compliance documents for US, European Union, and Asian countries
  • Process descriptions
  • Packaging labels and inserts

Translation and localization services

This contains

  • Content of website
  • Advertisement and marketing content
  • Educational and training material
  • Multimedia material

Translation of this huge number of documents is one strong reason that medical device companies should seek professional solutions rather than hiring freelancers or taking the services of in-house employees.


Medical jargon and nuances

Medial terms and terminology are quite different than routine life nuances. Medicines are often called by two or more different names. There is a brand name and then there is a generic name.

A common example is “Tylenol and “Acetaminophen”. Translators should know when there is a context of using the generic names and which class requires having a brand name. The content has different variations and situations, and using the relevant names is really important during the translation process.

The same rule is applied to the name of diseases and other things. There are diseases that have scientific names and then a colloquially common name, such as ‘varicella’ and ‘chickenpox’.

Varied and changed regulations

Laws and regulations for medical devices are different in different countries. These vary with the regions. That’s why translators have to be well aware of the laws and regulations of the target country. They can only excel in regulatory compliance translation if they are well versed with the laws. 

Another interesting factor that is notable here is that laws and regulations are changed, revised, and updated quite more often on regular basis within countries, so translators have to be updated with the changes and new implementations as well.

Translation influence on marketing

Translation has a great influence on marketing and marketing strategies. Medical devices not only require an accurate translation with proper and relevant use of terminology, it rather has to be translated in a language that makes consumers buy the product with comfort and convenience. 

The translator should be familiar with the right and appropriate marketing terminologies and language that they can use during the translation of medical products to allure more customers.


Translation has an international body and certifications that are important to ensure quality and up-to-the-mark translation from the language service providers. Every kind of translation requires a particular certification type.

 When it comes to medical devices and related subjects for translation, the companies should ensure that they hire a translation vendor who has the latest ISO certification and delivers quality work. 

This is what makes it a smart move to hire a professional translation agency as compared to an individual freelancer. The decision of choosing a cheaper translation agency rather than going for a professional vendor often leaves the company spending rather more with problems and complications.

Cultural appropriateness and localization

The translation should not be assume as a textual word-to-word conversion from one language to another. Translation needs to be conduct with the relevance of particular terms, terminology, and nuances of the target market as well as taking into consideration cultural aspects and appropriateness. 

The local culture of the target audience is extremely important in the process of translation and localization. Translators need to be well aware of the cultural effects and religious beliefs of the audience they are going to cater to.

 Because this influences the translation in the long run. These are the reasons that it is always advise to hire native speakers and translators who speak the same target language.

Finding right translators

The translation industry is diverse and huge. It encompasses a variety of fields now. Consequently, there are specialize translators for every field and subject. A translator who is an expert in one subject can not excel in the other just because he has a good grip on the linguistic features. 

Similarly, a translator who has expertise in the medical field and its terminology can not necessarily excel in legal translation. Therefore, the selection of the right translator with relevant expertise is equally imperative.

As for the medical device, translation companies can hire a team of translators with medical backgrounds. Besides that, in an ideal situation, they can train and educate them about their devices, equipment and products, their usage, and functioning. 

This will help translators to be more proficient in the subject matter. They can also be brief a bit about the laws and regulatory compliance information so that they know the details before diving into medical device translation.

Wrapping up

Every process has its pros and cons. Translation services are assume to be simple and easy by companies. However, these have their technicalities as well. Medical device translation is even more complex and extensive. Ordinary translators can not conduct these.

 Hence, it is important to do proper research work before starting the translation operations. Above-mention factors should be consider before a joint venture with a translation agency. 

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