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Quality Guidelines for Content Localization in Life Sciences II

April 03, 2018


It’s no secret that medical content needs to be understood without error by users and patients across the globe; lives can literally depend upon the reader’s ability to understand critical information. In the following post, we provide helpful guidelines on how to successfully realize Content Localization in Life Sciences:

Consistent Terminology

Implementing a glossary management system improves your localization project’s quality, processes, costs, and turnaround time. Glossaries are lists of words in the source language in which technical and product-specific terms are defined. Developed by your product development team, a glossary can be specific to both the product and the greater corporate message. It is not uncommon to have both a generic and product specific glossary entries. Linguists use glossaries to ensure correct and consistent word usage in the target language.

Glossary Creation

Content developers identify key terms for their product, company, and industry. Content development then proceeds using these terms as appropriate. When ready for localization and translation, both the glossary and the final content are carefully reviewed for items to be added to the glossary. The glossary terms are translated into each target language before the rest of the content is translated. During this step, linguistic rules are developed (such as the effective translation of acronyms, what terms are left in the source language, and the linguistic treatment of trademarked terms, product names, and corporate references).

Templates Accommodating Target Languages

Your Language Service Provider should provide proactive advice for the management of documentation templates to adapt for language expansion and other linguistic issues. Text page depth should be calculated to account for 20-30% text expansion in target languages and rules for leaving enough white space (above/below paragraphs) should be established. Font choices, including style and size changes, are controlled.

Simplifying Graphics

Another standard that makes document localization and translation more efficient is the use of “keyed” or numbered callouts instead of text callouts in embedded graphics. This typically involves circled numbers with arrows pointing out key graphic features. A table below the graphic contains matching callout numbers and explanatory text. This enables linguists to access the text swiftly, without requiring original artwork to be edited.

Effective Use of Style Guides

Style guides provide a consistent structure to documents that can be followed during the localization and translation steps. You may provide the guidelines, or work with your Language Services Provider to develop them. Style guides address a variety of documentation issues, ranging from the overall linguistic tone to spelling and grammar preferences, to document layout preferences. Examples include the preferences for representing numeric data (such as “1,000” as “1 000”) or the methodology for representing acronyms (for example, the acronym may remain in English with the translation followed in parentheses).

Leveraging Translation Memories

Translation memory databases (TMs) are collections of multilingual entries used to leverage repetitive text within a product line, text from one product to another, or one product release to another. Translation memories are used to retrieve existing translated text by searching for matches at the source level. TMs increase consistency of terminology in all translations and reduce time-to-market and associated costs.

Quality Compliance

To ensure the highest levels of quality compliance, make sure that your Language Service Provider uses well documented processes that ensure final product quality. The easiest way to ensure this is to work with an ISO 9001:2015 certified vendor. This certification ensures that processes are in place and consistently followed so that quality deliverables are generated and provides appropriate assurances to ultimately shorten approval cycles and facilitate simultaneous entry into multiple target markets while reducing the impact on internal resources. Recognizing the importance of regulatory compliance to customers in these industries, Argos Multilingual obtained ISO 9001:2015. Furthermore, Argos is one of few translation companies possessing the EN ISO 13485:2012 certification, which relates to the implementation of a quality management system specific to the medical device industry.

In summary, there are many things that can be done to optimize the source content even before it is submitted to a Language Service Provider. By clarifying content, ensuring that templates are flexible enough for target languages as well as English, and ensuring that the language partner adheres to strict quality control standards, you can do a great deal to ensure your project’s success and reduce costly mistakes. For more information, also read our first article on Content Localization in Life Sciences

How can Argos help you with your next localization project? Have a look at our Life Sciences & Medical Translation Services or Contact Us to discuss your specific requirements!

Nadège Young
Senior VP Global Language Solutions

Noel Finnegan
Enterprise Sales Director


+353 (1) 503 0978
+353 87 255 5603