The life science sector is continually evolving and becoming ever more globalized. What used to work as a business model is progressively challenged by cost pressures, operating performance challenges as more mergers and acquisitions take place, and global trends in patient-centric-care models. Physicians are no longer the sole point of care for patients; the drive for people to become more involved, educated, and a partner in health care decisions has brought the evolution of health information technology to the forefront with things like digital health and telehealth. Data is becoming an important tool to gauge efficacy by not only patients but also insurance companies and governments. This new access to information brings about its own issues on the use and protection of an increasingly large amount of data and a challenge to create the standards to manage it.
The growth of an aging population and a longer lifespan than seen in previous generations has led to a rise in chronic health conditions. We also see rising wealth and a drastic increase in money spent on healthcare both on an individual and governmental level. With this comes a demand for newer and competitive products and technologies, along with pressure from all levels for lower costs. Governments and political leaders continue to have health care at the forefront of public concern and that pressure is visible as life science companies must look at more cost effective methods of operations, research, and development while maintaining scientific integrity. Clinical trial sites are increasingly taking place in new markets. Whether that be pharmaceutical or medical device, or life science research and development, it means that translation and localization have become more important than ever.
To put that into perspective, Forbes Magazine reports that the cost of creating a new pharmaceutical drug can be upwards of $350 million dollars. To add to that, an estimated 95% of new experimental drugs fail to ever make it to market meaning it can cost upward of $5 billion for one new drug to reach consumers. This is one of the major challenges life science companies are facing, as these costs are not sustainable for the foreseeable future.
Life Science Challenges
There are numerous challenges that life science companies face along the entire life cycle of a product that require translation and localization services. In this global scientific community, from inception to design, to manufacturing and distribution, materials need to be linguistically accurate and relevant to all users. Increasingly, various stages of research and development are occurring all over the world. Furthermore, your information, facts, and materials for one project may be seen by people of varying languages and cultures before it ever reaches the end user. It is extremely important that your messaging and terminology in materials, whether it be for patient reported outcomes, educational and training materials for clinicians or clinical trial subjects, or recruitment information, be culturally specific.
Linguistic validation, the translation of Quality of Life (QoL) or Patient Reported Outcomes (PROs), is one of the most intricate processes in the translation industry. A detailed process, it ensures the information is equivalent across various languages and cultures, as required by regulatory bodies. Materials and documentation from various stages and sources will likely see multiple translations throughout its’ life. We have seen a drastic shift in recent years towards digitalized records, making the flow of information through countless stages much easier and effective however they too come with challenges.
As a result, that means terminology management in the life science sector is an ever-growing and essential tool in translation process. Simple spreadsheets have given way to interactive tools that can be accessed by multiple users worldwide. Terminology management allows for consistent terminology and translations that are traceable as changes are made along the way. It can help insure that translations of important terms and concepts are kept concise and accurately defined.
Life Science Globalization
In the end, from manufacturing to user manuals, information in this highly regulated industry need to be consistent, concise, and comprehendible for a variety of audiences. Whether it is safety and data sheets, instructions for use or applications by health care professionals, labelling, or dosing guidelines, translations can cost or save lives. The demands put on translating for life sciences are increasing year after year. It not only requires a fluent grasp of the target language but a detailed understanding of the subject matter at hand. While more companies and institutions take that global leap towards emerging markets the need for life science translations will continue to grow and evolve. CSOFT has a dedicated Life Sciences Unit to help with all your translation and globalization needs.