Written on 5 January, 2022
Companies working within the international healthcare industry will know that the sector is constantly growing. With the development of innovative products and treatments in the medical sector, and fuelled by globalisation, international collaboration, advances in technology and widespread digitalisation, the industry has seen year on year growth which shows no signs of slowing down. According to the report “Healthcare Global Market Opportunities And Strategies To 2022”, the value of the global healthcare market is expected to reach nearly 11,908.9 billion USD by 2022. One area in particular is booming – the global digital health market. It was worth an estimated 175 billion USD in 2019, with a projected growth rate of almost 25% over the next five years, meaning the value of the digital health market is expected to reach nearly 660 billion USD by 2025 (Statista, 2021).

This growth in the global healthcare market brings exciting new opportunities for expansion across national and cultural borders. Yet these opportunities also pose challenges, especially when it comes to effective communication. This is precisely why professional translation is so vital in the field of medicine. There are so many aspects of communication and understanding in the sector:

Clear communication of health issues

One of the many issues made evident by the global Coronavirus pandemic is the importance of timely communication. Particularly in matters of public health, it is crucial that clear and concise information and instructions are distributed quickly both nationally and internationally. This means communicating a consistent message to different groups of people in their own language, so that everyone is fully aware of the importance of their role in the collective health effort. From simple guidance like ‘wear a mask’ to more critical information about what to do when someone is infected with COVID-19, to slow the spread of the virus.

Facilitating understanding between medical professionals and patients

In order to give an accurate diagnosis and prepare the proper course of treatment, medical professionals and their patients need to be able to communicate. Translation aids in ensuring that patients receive safe and high-quality healthcare and that both medical staff and the patients are satisfied with the final outcome.

Most medical procedures – particularly surgical procedures – carry some element of risk for the patient. This is why doctors are required to get informed consent from their patients, allowing them to only go ahead with treatment when the patient fully understands the potential outcomes.

There are numerous examples from recent years of medical malpractices due to language barriers (lack of Spanish leads to wrong kidney being removed, NBC, 2010), or inaccurate, unchecked translations in supporting documentation (non-modular cemented vs non-cemented knee replacement in Germany, The Journal of Specialised Translation, 2014). Ensuring all of your materials have been professionally translated by the time they reach physicians can mitigate a great deal of expense, misunderstanding, bad publicity and, most importantly of all, negative outcomes for patients.

The nature of these situations is often time sensitive, so preparing documentation on pharmaceuticals, devices and procedures in a range of languages in advance can be absolutely crucial in breaking down communication barriers between doctor and patient and ensuring that the correct information is on hand at all times.

Aiding collaboration in medical research and product development

In today’s globalised world, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, healthcare providers, medical researchers and even national governments are sharing their knowledge and working together to push forward innovations that will boost growth in the healthcare sector. The global Coronavirus vaccine effort is one notable recent example. Translation helps eliminate language (and sometimes legal and cultural) challenges in such communications, so that life-saving progress is not impeded.

Fulfilling legal requirements

In many countries, it is required by law to get certain text translated, whether it is related to medical product packaging, Information for Users (IFUs), patents, results of clinical trials or agreements.

For instance, for packaging of medicines and pharmaceutical products, according to Article 32 of the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR, 2017/745), “Manufacturers shall ensure that the  (medical) device is accompanied by the information set out in Section 23 of Annex I in an official Union language(s) determined by the Member State in which the device is made available to the user or patient. The particulars on the label shall be indelible, easily legible and clearly comprehensible to the intended user or patient.”

Some of the medical documents that are most frequently translated include:

  • • Patient information, case history and lab reports
  • • Patient consent forms
  • • Product registration documents
  • • Pharmaceutical and medical product packaging
  • • Instructions for Use (IFUs)
  • • Results of clinical trials and surveys
  • • Declarations of Conformity
  • • Patents
  • • Presentations and training documents

How can Surrey Translation Bureau help?

So, translation is clearly an important factor in the healthcare industry. But how can you be sure that you are working with a reliable translation partner?

Surrey Translation Bureau (STB) offers specialist medical translation services to several pharmaceutical and healthcare organisations in the UK and overseas. STB is independently certified to the general business quality standard BS EN ISO 9001:2015, and to the translation industry standard BS EN ISO 17100:2015. The accreditation requirements ensure we always offer high quality of services to our clients. We have several awards and customer testimonials to back that up.

As one of our clients, Primerdesign will testify, “We’ve been reliant upon STB for translation of all our technical and customer-facing documents… 21 languages so far, and counting! Since last year’s introduction of our range of COVID-19 laboratory test, our need for translations has increased exponentially, yet STB have met the challenge admirably with friendly and efficient customer service.”

When you work with STB, you can rest assured that your medical translation is in the best hands. Here are some of the reasons why you should work with us:

Specialist translators

We use native translators with experience in the healthcare sector to ensure the translated content is accurate and appropriate for the audience it’s intended for. Our project managers will only select medical specialist translators to work on your content, ensuring that they are well versed in the science, application and terminology at the heart of your products and services. Our medical linguists are committed to regular Continuing Professional Development (CPD) to stay abreast of industry developments including terminology and regulatory changes, as well as honing their research skills. Our linguists use up-to-date reference resources including the European Medicines Agency’s (EMA) QRD templates for Product Information and the EDQM Standard Terms.


When it comes to medical text, accuracy is vital. We run rigorous quality checks on every translation and also ensure that there is consistency with any previous translations and any client-approved terminology. As a result, our translations are professional, accurate and consistent with the client’s tone and style.

Delivery guaranteed

We have a large pool of qualified translators who specialise in a variety of medical fields, including pharmaceutical and medical device documentation, clinical trials and general healthcare content. Our project management team is also adept in handling medical projects with different volumes and deadlines. They are on hand to put in place an efficient workflow to handle your medical translation project, no matter the size or scope.

Additionally, using the latest translation software, we build a ‘translation memory’ that stores translations recurring phrases and a ‘termbase’ or glossary of specialist terminology for our regular clients. This helps us offer the best possible turnaround times, without compromising on quality and customer service.

Let our award-winning team take care of your healthcare documents.

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