For companies looking to introduce their medical devices to foreign markets, medical device translation is of utmost importance. With so many options available for your document translation, it can be difficult to determine the best translation services vendor to meet your needs.

Unfortunately, many medical device companies end up partnering with low-quality translation companies that may not have the technical translation experience required to accurately convey their message, as intended, to their target market.

Those companies also may not have translators who are subject matter experts in the medical device industry or who are native speakers in the languages needed.

Before you select your translation vendor, it’s important to first ensure they can meet three key criteria.

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Key No. 1 for Medical Device Translation: Relevant Credentials

Just because your translation vendor agrees to translate your medical device documentation doesn’t mean the results will be accurate and error-free. The medical industry is a highly specialized field, and accurate translation requires translators with vast experience in the medical field, who clearly understand medical terminology, abbreviations, and nomenclature.

It is vital that your translation vendor has demonstrated expertise translating the types of files you require, whether they are clinical trial related, product labeling, interfaces, manuals, or IFUs. Their experience providing translations for companies with products similar to yours helps ensure their ability to readily grasp and replicate your intended message in the languages required.

Another factor to consider when choosing a translation company for your medical device translation is ensuring the company is ISO 9001:2015-certified. This certification means your vendor maintains an effective quality assurance process that has been reviewed and is routinely audited by an independent third party.

Choosing a translation company that isn’t ISO-certified may result in poor quality translations, which can lead to time and money spent in retranslation efforts down the line.

Key No. 2 for Medical Device Translation: Subject Matter Expertise

You wouldn’t go to a plumber for advice about your electrical needs, so why hand off your medical device translation project to a non-expert?

Because the medical field uses industry-specific language, it only makes sense that a translator with subject matter expertise handle your technical translation project.

Medical device translation goes beyond basic word-for-word translation, because medical language is highly specialized, even in English.

A translation vendor that doesn’t utilize subject matter experts can easily mistranslate specialized medical terms, resulting in inaccurate translation that can confuse or worse—result in serious injury to the end user and possible litigation for your company. Not to mention damage to your brand’s image and reputation.

Key No. 3 for Medical Device Translation: Native Speakers

Just because a translator can translate into Spanish doesn’t mean he or she can clearly convey your message to your specific Spanish-speaking target market. Only a native speaker understands the regional language nuances and cultural sensitivities of your audience, and can ensure your message is clearly understood the first time around. A Spanish word in Colombia can have an entirely different meaning in Mexico.

Too often, companies hire translators who aren’t native speakers, resulting in medical device translations that are confusing, comical, or offensive.

When choosing your next translation services company, make sure they employ translators who speak and understand your target market’s language. This ensures your medical device instructions and information are clear and easily understood by the reader.

At ILS, we’ve spent more than 35 years building relationships with highly qualified translators who are native speakers and have specialized experience translating content in the medical and life science disciplines. If you’re in need of medical device translation, we have the expertise you need.


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