Translation of Medical Research: an International Need

Progress is a collaborative effort. By tapping into an international network, researchers can learn, discover, and create at a faster rate than ever before. In order to collaborate across the globe, the translation of medical research becomes an unavoidable need.

Medical research is defined as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” under the  Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). This broad definition can include biomedical research, health services research, and epidemiological studies. It can also include studies of the behavioral, social, and economic factors that affect health.

Medical research provides a high value to society. This research can provide vital information regarding:

  • The outcomes of treatment or public health interventions
  • Functional abilities
  • Health care costs and use
  • Disease trends
  • Risk factors
  • Patterns of care

Clinical trials are one of the more familiar forms of health research. A clinical trial involves patients volunteering to participate in studies so that researchers can test the safety and effectiveness of new medical interventions.

The Need for Translation of Medical Research

Because an increasingly large portion of health research is information based, there is a great need for the translation of medical research. This research is heavily information based. It can include the analysis of data and biological samples required for the purposes of diagnostic, treatment, or billing.

As the field of science is changing rapidly and increasing in complexity, it is impossible for any single researcher or institution to have the required expertise to develop and validate the safety of a given medical innovation. The sharing of information between medical institutions is essential to the success and safety of medical advancements.

The Language Barrier

Until recently, English has been considered the lingua franca (aka a language that is adopted as a common language between speakers whose native languages are different) in medicine. As of 2012, roughly 80% of all scientific journals indexed in Scopus (a large abstract and citation database) were published in English. But as more and more scientific cultures are now developing in many countries around the world, there is an increasing amount of journals being published in the national languages.

Non-English language based medical communities are growing in strength. Germany is one such country expressing a strong interest in working with materials written in their native language. When polled, seven out of 10 German physicians reported that it was important or very important that the medical articles they read are in German.

In India, authorities are pushing to provide all research papers bilingually so there is less of a language barrier. K Vijay Raghavan, a principal scientific advisor to the Government of India, told the Education Times that, “The power to grasp complex scientific concepts and analyse problems comes best to researchers when they are pursuing science in their own language.” He noted that researchers also need to have a proficient understanding of English as it is still the international language of science. “Thus, our goal is to have all kinds of literature and reference material — from school to research — available bilingually so that researchers who work in native languages can benefit from them,” Raghavan said.

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Which Type of Language Service Provider Should I Choose?

The number of people employed in the translation and interpretation industry has doubled in the past seven years according to data from the U.S. Department of Labor. Many of those professionals work for companies known as Language Service Providers (LSPs). A LSP is a company that provides translation, interpretation, localization, and additional language services. This can include language translation, telephone interpretation, website translation, digital content creation, and multilingual narration. The structure, support, and expertise from these highly-skilled providers produce quality results. The language service industry has evolved into LSPs in order to provide a framework that saves companies from costly mistakes from poor translations.

There are several types of LSPs categorized primarily on structure and services offered.

Single-language Service Provider (SLSP)

A SLSP offers services with a specialty in one language. Many SLSPs staff native speakers of the target language who are well-versed on a particular language style, terminology, and usage. SLSPs are often smaller providers associated with a customer-centric approach to projects. Additionally, these companies typically have a large staff of in-house translators and reviewers. 

SLSPs are usually adept in a variety of dialects for their specialty language. They can accurately navigate the complex world of metaphors, idioms, jokes, and sarcasm from region to region in the target language. Terra Translations is an example of a SLSP with a heavy focus in Spanish. 

Multiple-language Service Provider (MLSP)

A MLSP can handle and execute projects in a variety of languages. In contrast to SLSPs, MLSPs hire experts in a variety of languages, offering translations that vary in size and need. For companies with plans to expand into several foreign markets, MLSPs are often selected. One firm streamlines the entire process of multi-language translation projects. Often times MLSPs will collaborate with SLSPs on specialized projects to leverage their language expertise. 

Massive Multiple-language Service Provider (MMLSP)

MMLSPs are the translation industry’s heavy hitters. They offer translation services that cover nearly every language that exists. These are often global firms that work on large-scale projects. Because MMLSPs need to sustain a large structure and program, these firms commonly have higher rates.

In order to select the best LSP for your company, it’s best to analyze your current and future translation needs.

Is my company growing into other foreign markets?
Does my content need to be 508 compliant?
Does my company have a need for a specific language or a large list of different languages?
Do I need written (translation) and/or oral (interpretation) language services?
Do I need additional services like DTP or voiceovers?

After evaluating and carefully reviewing target markets, opt for a provider that meets your language service requirements. The LSP can grow with your company and you will avoid unnecessary inconsistencies or inaccuracies down the road.

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Why you need to work with a women-owned business

Female entrepreneurship is on the rise. In fact, over the past 20 years, the number of women-owned firms has increased 114 percent according to the annual State of Women-Owned Businesses report. In the U.S., firms owned by women now employ 9.2 million people and generate $1.8 trillion in revenue according to a 2018 report commissioned by American Express. The same report explains the total employment by women-owned firms rose by 21 percent between 2007 and 2018, while it declined for all firms by 0.8 percent. Today, women-led businesses continue to be a driving force in the global economy. They impact industries that include technology, design, retail, healthcare, hospitality, and professional services.

Truth is, women drive diversity

The growth of women entrepreneurs has inspired a movement toward inclusion of traditionally marginalized communities. Customers are holding businesses accountable for hiring and working with diverse teams of different ethnicities, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds. A Barkley and Futurecast survey found that 60 percent of Gen Z-ers and 58 percent of millennials agreed that shifting ideas about gender are allowing more people to be themselves. These diverse teams foster confidence, creativity, and progress. 

From a business perspective, diversity increases the bottom line. According to a study by the Boston Consulting Group, companies that have more diverse management teams have 19 percent higher revenue due to innovation. Another report from Deloitte states that when organizations demonstrate a commitment to diversity, employees feel supported and their ability to innovate increases by 83 percent. 

What makes Terra Translations unique

Although the translation industry is dominated by female linguists, many Language Service Providers (LSP) are still owned and operated by males. Terra Translations is unique in that it is a female-owned LSP that supports the fight to close the gender gap and cultivate a diverse workforce. 

“At Terra, we value and support fellow women-led businesses,” Marina Ilari, CEO of Terra Translations. “Together, we can progress the traditionally male-dominated industries and achieve more than we ever thought we could.”

Terra is certified by the Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) as a women-owned business, the National Minority Supplier Development Council (NMSDC) as a minority-owned business, and by the Small Business Administration (SBA) as a women-owned small business. In order to officially certify, a women-owned business must submit relevant documents and have an on-site review by a Regional Partner Organization. Because Terra is certified, the team attends the WBENC conference every year to meet and foster new relationships with fellow women entrepreneurs. WBENC also provides regular training and workshops for their members to refine skills and boost proficiency.

The benefits of working with a certified women-owned business

There is a multitude of advantages for an organization to partner with a certified minority and women-owned businesses. The federal government provides tax breaks for businesses that use minority companies in procuring materials and supplies. An additional tax incentive reduces tax liabilities for companies using minorities that supply labor or services to a project funded with federal or state grants or loans. Government organizations and large corporations are often required to award contracts specifically to women-owned businesses. The goal of the federal government’s program is to award at least 5 percent of all federal contracting dollars to women-owned small businesses each year. 

By supporting women-owned businesses, organizations demonstrate a commitment to fostering diversity within the community. To align with a mission toward diversity, we all hold more companies accountable to ensuring a more inclusive workplace. The economic opportunity will cultivate gender and cultural balance for future generations to come.

CAT Tools: Benefits for Both Clients and Translators

Technology has its faults, but the progress it has made is undeniable. In a fast paced world, efficiency is key. For translators and their clients, CAT tools are one asset that makes translation work faster and more accurate. Sounds great, but you might be wondering, what exactly is a CAT tool?

CAT translates to “Computer Assisted Translation”. CAT is a broad term. It can be used to describe software translators use to improve their productivity. Many professional translators utilize CAT tools as it can help them increase productivity, catch mistakes, achieve consistency, and eliminate repetitive translations. CAT tools segment the text that requires translation and then present the segments in a way that is easier and faster to translate. 

There are many benefits to utilizing CAT tools for both clients and translators. CATs generally come with the following features that exemplify how useful these tools are.

Translation Memory

Essentially, CAT tools allow translators to save each translated sentence in a database called Translation Memory (TM). The CAT tool then uses this TM to analyze every sentence of text that needs translation and provide a match, if any. If there’s a 100% match, it will provide the exact translation previously stored. And if a sentence is slightly different, it will show the translation stored and point out what the differences are. Allowing these sentences to be translated faster and enabling the translator to use his time more efficiently. For larger projects, TM allows multiple people to work collaboratively.

The TM can save clients money, especially if they have recurring translation needs. For clients who have large and regular translation needs, the TM will become more valuable to them over time. As many words and phrases will be repeated and stored in the TM, the translator will be able to take advantage of this stored content for use on future projects. This value is especially helpful for clients with specialized vocabulary needs such as those found in the medical, engineering, or manufacturing industries. The TM can also help increase accuracy with less commonplace terminology. 

Termbase

Both translators and clients can create a terminology base where they add the translation for specific terms. This glossary is called the Termbase (TB). You can even include definitions or provide context in which to use each term. The Termbase is very useful for highly technical texts. Clients and translators can use the Termbase to ensure consistency in the use of terminology. This collaboration between the client and translator can also save valuable time and limit mistakes in translation. 

Desktop Publishing

CAT tools allow you to translate virtually any document format and export the final translation with little work on the design. This process works by extracting the text from the original file to work in the CAT tool interface. Once the translation is finished and exported, the final file will retain most of its original formatting. If adjustments are needed once exported, this is done in the original file format (Word, PowerPoint, etc.).

This feature is very useful in formats like Word, to assist with tables, font formats, WordArt, and other style elements. In more complex formats or layouts it’s frequently necessary to work with a (Desktop Publishing) DTP specialist

Machine Translation

Usually, the term “Computer Assisted Translation” makes people jump to the conclusion that machine translation is used. CAT tools are not synonymous with machine translation. Machine translation is an optional feature that can be used as a jumping off point for translators, as it can speed up the process. Some translators may utilize machine translation to translate a text and and then make edits after, ensuring the piece is still translated by a human. Other translators do not use the feature at all. 

What CAT Tools to Use

There are many different CAT tools, but memoQ, Trados, and Wordfast are some of the most widely used by both translators and companies. Each offers the same core features as previously outlined. It’s worth experimenting with different tools to see which you and your team personally prefer. The below survey, conducted by ProZ, highlights the usage rates of different CAT tools by translators. 

cat-tools-survey

Source: ProZ.

memoQfest

Our Biggest Learning Lessons from memoQfest International

As a part of Terra Translations’ commitment to continuous learning, Operations Manager  Santiago Lávaque recently attended memoQfest International in Budapest, Hungary. memoQ is a leading translation software company founded by three language technologists. The event took place over three days and covered a variety of topics relating to how to best utilize memoQ tools, as well as advice on best practices regarding translation workflows. Santiago walked away from this event with valuable knowledge that he has shared with our team. 

What is memoQfest International?

The memoQfest International is an event organized by the translation software company memoQ. The 11th edition of this international conference had more than 250 attendees from 41 countries. Santiago had the opportunity to attend memoQ master classes during the event. He attended four sessions in which he learned about topics relating to memoQ and translation workflow. Such as:

  • Map Workflow processes aimed at identifying an organization’s main clients and to establish automation processes with the help of memoQ.
  • Translation workflow automation in the corporate environment. Plus, the advantages of using memoQ’s templates.
  • File filter settings and the advanced use of importation for memoQ’s files.
  • Machine Translation workflow implementation in frequent translation processes.

There were many other lectures to choose from on a range of subjects. From artificial intelligence to memoQ functionality. And terminology management tools to social media marketing. There were also guest lectures in the evening that focused on all the new features memoQ is working on. If you’re curious about the content of each lecture, you can find more information here.

The Takeaways

The three day event was learning intensive and provided plenty of opportunity to walk away with important lessons. Santiago has always appreciated the power of this tool, but his appreciation has grown even further after attending memoQfest International“We should continue to utilize all the different features that the tool has to offer,” he noted. 

He believes we should continue to implement tools that will help us avoid human error, while speeding up our processes at the same time. Since memoQ allows us to update our terminology in every project we work on, and build our resources for each account, it leads us to get better results for our clients when working with an array of different specialties and requirements.

Overall, Santiago found a lot of value in the event. “A mine of information was shared during the meetings, and I was able to learn from each of the sessions I attended. I came back with many clues on the things we can do and learn,” Santiago said. The opportunity to connect with others in his field was also important to Santiago. “It was a very inspiring and useful event. I learned not only about memoQ and all its features, but also and even more importantly, I connected with people in the industry. To know their experiences and perspectives, share how our processes look alike, and how they differ. And other participants’ experiences gave me ideas to put in practice. So we can further improve the way we work,” Santiago reflected.

What’s Next

Santiago, as did many other guests, hoped there would be an official launch of the new memoQ 9.0 at the event. But unfortunately that was not the case. The new version launched a few days after the event and more info about it is available here. Our team is optimistic that their new project management, machine translation, document importing, and quality assurance features will help us improve our productivity and the quality of our work!