Learn more about the translation of package inserts

Learn about the importance of translating package inserts and other prescribing information and see how it directly affects people’s lives

With globalization, more and more pharmaceutical companies have started to manufacture and market their products in a larger number of countries. Language is usually one of the major obstacles in this case.

For example, while English is the primary language of communication in India, the primary language of communication in France is French. If a French company will market its drug products in India, package inserts and labels need to be translated from French into English.

Likewise, if an Indian company serves the French drug market, the translation of package inserts and labels should take place from English to French.

And that is exactly what we are going to address in today’s article. Check it out:

How is prescribing information translated?

Modern medicine goes hand in hand with technology and innovation. New therapies, medical equipment and drugs are developed every day for the benefit of people in all parts of the world.

To make all that available to patients speaking different languages around the world, the pharmaceutical industry needs translation services.

Every imported drug needs to be accompanied by translated documents to be approved by national authorities. A medicine used in Europe can be banned from Brazil in case an error is found in one of the reports and documents providing evidence of its characteristics.

A forgotten ingredient, poorly converted measurements or misspellings can make a perfectly valid drug unsuitable for human consumption.

Without proper medical translation services, companies cannot comply with local regulations. Translation plays an important role in enabling compliance with all documents companies must submit to introduce their drug products into the market.

Translators and language service providers work with a wide variety of documents, from clinical trials, patents and case reports to protocols and abstracts. They are also responsible for all information given to patients in the form of:

  • Storage instructions
  • Indications and dosage forms
  • Side effects
  • Warnings and precautions
  • Expiration date
  • Contraindications
  • Drug interactions
  • Frequency of use

When properly translated, the categories above allow doctors to treat their patients using the latest medical innovations. They also allow patients to understand their treatment and what is happening to them.

A small mistake can create a climate of mistrust between doctors and their patients. Poor translations can cause panic among patients, who may misunderstand their treatment, diagnosis or side effects caused by the drug they are taking.

The importance of a professional medical translation

The need for professional and quality medical translation services is inherent to the healthcare sector and the medical sector in general, especially nowadays when globalization and the internet play a central role in our lives – one has to bear that in mind.

Most of the medical translations performed involve new drugs, clinical trials, general medical information, medical devices, descriptive documents, among others.

Let’s take package inserts as an example. Package inserts are documents that provide end customers with information on how to use a specific medication. Many governments are required to provide an adequate description to comply with national and municipal law.

Therefore, ensuring the translation of package inserts is an important aspect that drug manufacturers must consider when operating abroad.

Medical documents have to be translated so that health professionals can provide the necessary care and treatment to patients and that the patients themselves become familiar with details about their medications.

These documents must be translated by highly-qualified professionals with medical expertise – e.g. technical translators – who will ensure a quality service.

The benefits of having a document translated by a specialized technical translator

As in any other document, a simple mistake can change the whole meaning of a text and, in some cases, it can even be dangerous.

In the pharmaceutical industry, professional medical translation is now more important than ever. With pharmaceutical products being exported by developed countries to developing ones and vice versa, a small mistake, such as drug dosage and allergy information, can lead to serious consequences.

For this reason, it is fundamental that pharmaceutical and medical companies have their documents translated by professional linguists who are experts in medical translation.

In many cases, a certified translation by a qualified professional may even be a non-negotiable requirement.

Translation in healthcare generally involves medical and technical terms that are unknown to the general public. Therefore, they have little background information when it comes to specific medical terminology.

Life-threatening mistakes can be avoided with the services of professional medical translators who master the medical terminology and the language pair in question.

The translation of package inserts and other medical documents offers a large number of benefits to healthcare professionals and the patients they treat. As a result, doctors and nurses will be better informed about their patients and make wiser prescribing decisions.

Patients also benefit from learning more about a certain medical procedure or therapy.

Why should you hire a professional to translate package inserts?

Package inserts and labels contain vital information about the drug product contained in the package in question. Therefore, translated package inserts and labels should faithfully convey the same information as the original documents.

When translated in an unprofessional way, these documents may convey different meanings in the target language.

For this reason, you should hire a qualified professional to translate package inserts and labels.

Remember that quality translation is a true art.

Also, as already mentioned earlier, poor translations can affect different areas of your life, whether personally or professionally.

Therefore, when you need to have documents translated, look for agencies that offer quality services and have proven experience.

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