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The Significance Of Human Factor In Medical Document Translation


Accurate translation is mandatory for all types of industries and fields. These are super significant for life science and medical translation as the results may affect life and death outcomes. Machine translation and translation tools though have improved a lot and artificial intelligence is all over there. However, for certified medical document translation services, human touch and involvement are inevitable and there is no substitute for it.

There is a wide range of medical fields and subdomains now with a lot of genres. Also, machine-powered translation tools can help with larger volumes of information quite quickly to know the general meaning of a single piece of content.

However, when it comes to the medical text and life science translation, the information and content related to this have to be translated correctly and consistently. Any negligence or mistake can be risky and harmful to the patients. It also puts the reputation of the medical companies at stake. All the data and content need to be scrutinized by medical translators who are experienced and have subject matter expertise. This data may include consent forms, instruction manuals, drug labels, clinical trial documentation, pharma application, and hospital documents.

Here are the most important reasons which make the human factor important in medical translation.

Linguist Subject Matter Expertise

Subject matter expertise is of foremost importance in the medical text and for translating the medical content. The industry-relevant knowledge and familiarity help with the great contribution to the translation services. Medical translators with proven medical translation backgrounds can excel in this field. An experienced level of specialized medical skillset is important to carry the diverse medical texts move forward. People who have deep knowledge, and know the context and language nuances of the project are the ideal ones for medical translation services.

Moreover, a few linguists who have experience in particular therapeutic areas are also important for certified medical document translation. Translators who have experience related to a particular disease or medicine such as cardiology, diabetes, or Alzheimer’s play a vital role in the accuracy of medical translation which is related to these conditions. However, on the other hand, machine translation tools cannot get good at incorporating the relevant text with the translation on their own.

The control over translation accuracy is integral for not only medical documents but for medical localization services too. Also, the industry certifications such as ISO 17100 certification have to ensure the quality standards for the medical translation company, where the code ISO 13485:2016 gets applied to quality management systems for medical devices and equipment. These certifications are also awarded by humans and hence, require human personnel to take care of the translations and to ensure that certifications are authentic. The certifications ensure that comprehensive quality protocols are maintained to support human linguists.

Regulatory Expertise

Regulatory expertise is also beyond the control of the machines and there are technical rules and regulations which the translators have to be mindful of during the process of translation. These are also fundamental for medical device localization and require to be super accurate.  The linguists and experts should be well aware of the specialized regulatory knowledge and industry certifications.

The ministry of health in every country usually takes care of the language requirements for the packaging, instructions for use, inserts, and more. However, in-country linguists who know the language and are also familiar with the regulatory practices can be of additional benefit. People involved without sound proficiency in language and technical knowledge of language inaccuracies could further result in censure and may require re-printing.

It is quite popular these days for medical document projects which include an in-country review cycle (ICR) where internal teams can review content and can scan the points which might go against the company’s style and branding. Also, it needs to be according to regulatory compliance. Though artificial intelligence can be fed these rules, it might take a long to realize the need, get context, and the right time of integrating as per the requirements and situation, and hence human involvement is inevitable.

Peer review and formatting

The complex requirements of the medical industry document translation and medical dictionary localization require at least two experienced linguists for a single project. The translation companies also require to provide one translator and one editor for all medical translation projects. For critical content such as clinical trial documents, medical documents, and device labeling, implementing the additional steps for the quality purpose like linguistic review, in context format and layout is crucial. The formatting of documents such as labeling, packaging, and medical devices needs to be checked multiple times to scan for errors and to rectify these. Peer review for all these documents with the right formatting is inevitable in order to get them approved and present to foreign bodies in a professional manner.

It also includes a review of language and layout, making sure that no information is cropped out and out of the format. Additionally, it is important to have content that is not ambiguous, accurate, and precise which is a human specialty and not possible otherwise.


Advanced technology translation tools and machine translation have improved a lot. Though machine translation can be helpful with general text, however medical text can not afford to be translated through machine translation and require a human touch and the involvement of human translators for obvious reasons.

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