Quality Translations and The Medical Device Industry

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The increasingly globalised society that we live in has led to a boom in the need for translation across all industries, including the medical device industry. New developments in pharmaceuticals and medical devices are constantly being launched on an international scale, while more people are travelling and living in new countries. Against this globalised backdrop, translation allows health professionals to continue delivering the highest quality of patient care.

But these highly technical documents cannot be translated by just anyone. The great weight they carry combined with complex terminology means you need a specialist translation agency to ensure the quality of your translations. Read on to find out all you need to know about translation agencies and securing high-quality medical device translations.

What is the medical device industry?

Essentially, a medical device is anything used for human medical purposes. This can be an instrument, apparatus, equipment, material, implant or product, including accessories and software. These items can be used alone or in combination, and exclude any products of human origin. The item must also be unable to achieve its primary intended action either in or on the human body through pharmacological, immunological or metabolic means.

Made up of large multinational companies and small SMEs, the medical device market is part of a sector that is constantly innovating. As such, this diverse industry now covers more than 20,000 different types of products used within the medical field. These range from single-use consumables like dressings and equipment such as medical beds, to reagents, medical biology automatons and implants like breast prostheses and pacemakers.

Why translate your medical device documents?

Medical translations cover several areas within the wider medical sector, including the translation of medical device information. Translating these documents plays a vital role in helping healthcare providers provide the necessary treatment to patients in their care in the two following ways.

With the medical device industry being one of the most innovative, medical translation has become essential in allowing healthcare professionals access to the latest developments. This allows them to understand and offer the most cutting-edge treatments available, helping them deliver effective care to their patients.

As well as giving them access to new developments, translation also helps them communicate effectively with patients from various backgrounds. Where physicians and patients speak different languages, readily available translations provide patients with clear instructions and information about risks or side effects.

What are the consequences of a low-quality translation in the medical device industry? 

A medical device translation must be accurate in both meaning and terminology, as a single translation error can have truly disastrous consequences. Even the slightest inaccuracy can lead to a doctor using the device incorrectly or administering the wrong dosage of a drug. This could lead to more serious, possibly even fatal, health complications.

The same is also true for any medical devices used by the patient themselves. If the device labelling contains any errors in its instructions, warnings, precautions or storage information, then this could put the individual at risk.

As such, manufacturers have a responsibility to choose a professional translator who specialises in medical device translations. Keep reading to find out what you should look out for in a translator.

Why should you work with a professional translation agency?

When translating medical documents, the use of precise terminology is essential. As such, medical translation is far from a simple reproduction of the original document and is considered a highly technical and scientific task.

The easiest way to find a professional translator and avoid the consequences of a flawed translation is to work with a translation agency. Whether you need a written translation, transcription, simultaneous interpretation or text revision, these agencies have vetted teams of professional translators specialising in the medical field.

Aside from working with experts, a translation agency will also have access to cutting-edge translation technologies which can help speed up translations while improving accuracy. Computer-assisted translation (CAT) tools are an excellent way to ensure the quality of your translations while also reducing costs.

CAT tools work by creating translation memories and glossaries from previous projects. Then when a new project begins, the software automatically identifies any segment of text that is similar to a previous translation. This keeps terminology consistent throughout all your documents while helping the translator and speeding up the whole process.

Before starting a project, we will run your document through the CAT tool to identify which segments are similar. This allows us to work out how much of your document is new content, meaning you only pay for any newly translated sections.

What kind of content should you translate?

In the medical device industry, the variety of content that should be translated is vast. From instructions for devices and equipment to medical reports, scientific brochures and research results, practically any document you create should be translated. This allows everyone from stakeholders and the general public to medical professionals and approval bodies to understand your content and make confident decisions moving forward.

If you want to increase sales of your medical devices, then you might also want to consider translating your website. Paired with localisation, this will enhance the user experience and make your content – and therefore products – accessible to a wider audience.

ISO 13485 standard for medical devices

ISO 13485 is a quality management system for medical devices. This requires anyone providing medical devices and related services to take into account the regulatory requirements specific to each country. This international standard applies to all countries, regardless of whether or not they are in the European Union.

This is one of the most popular standards in the sector and can be applied to suppliers as well as manufacturers. As such, you can also find ISO 13485 certified translation companies, like ourselves here at Intertranslations.

Working closely with medical device manufacturers, we aim to deliver quality medical device translations. By adhering to this international standard and following a strict quality management system, we deliver medical device translations that meet customer and regulatory requirements.

The bottom line

Translation in the medical device industry has increased significantly in recent years due to globalisation. More people are engaging in international exchanges, whether for personal or work reasons, and translation is the critical link that connects these people. In the medical sector, this allows health professionals access to the latest developments while giving them the tools needed to communicate clearly with all patients.

Given the importance of medical device translation and the potential consequences of a poor translation, we strongly recommend using a reputable translation agency like Intertranslations. With teams of vetted specialists in medical device translations, we focus on providing our corporate clients with high-quality medical device translation services. Combined with our industry-leading quality management standards and customer-focused attitude, we are trusted by many of the world’s top technology and biomedical firms.

Ready to translate your medical device documents? Reach out to our team to discuss your needs and get tailored advice on your next steps.

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