When it comes to life sciences, localisation and translation are absolutely vital for ensuring accurate communication across different languages and cultures.  


Thanks to rapid advancements in machine translation (MT) and artificial intelligence (AI), we're seeing some pretty exciting changes in how localisation is done.  

But let’s be clear: while these technologies offer new opportunities, they also bring some unique challenges. The risks must be considered.  


The Role of Machine Translation and AI 

 Imagine this: you’ve got heaps of research papers, clinical trial data and scientific documents to go through. This is where MT and AI step in.  

AI translation can churn out translations that are surprisingly accurate and contextually relevant, which is a massive help for life sciences where data volume is huge. 

However, it's always perfect, or suited to every scenario. While MT handles initial translations and data analysis, it can't capture the full nuance needed in life sciences. 


Limitations and Challenges 

Medical translation needs to dig deep into medical terminology, context and strict regulatory requirements. Mistakes here aren't just embarrassing – they can lead to serious issues like misdiagnoses, ineffective treatments and non-compliance with regulations. 

This is where human translators come in. They bring an irreplaceable touch, understanding cultural contexts, idiomatic expressions and the subtle nuances that machines simply can't grasp. They’re essential for ensuring compliance and meeting the high standards required in medical communications. 


The Essential Role of Human Translators 

Human translators, especially those specialised in medical fields, are crucial. Their job isn’t simply getting words right – it’s about ensuring the entire message is culturally and contextually appropriate and complies with all regulatory standards. This is critical in clinical trials, patient information leaflets, and medical device documentation, where clarity and precision are paramount. 

Human interpreters also play a key role in healthcare settings, bridging the gap between healthcare providers and patients who speak different languages. They ensure that patients fully understand their diagnosis, treatment options, and medical instructions. 


Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE) 

Machine Translation Post-Editing (MTPE), what we refer to as rapid translation, is a process that uses machine translation to do the heavy lifting of generating a preliminary translation. Then, a human translator steps in to review and refine it.  

MTPE is particularly handy for dealing with large volumes of text and multilingual data. Machines speed up the process, and human translators ensure the final product is spot on. 

Again, it’s worth noting that currently, this is suitable for all life science projects. End-to-end human translation is still highly recommended (and often essential).  

Why is human expertise still crucial in medical translations despite advancements in MT and AI? 

Despite significant advancements, human expertise remains vital in medical translations due to the complexity and specificity of medical terminology, context, and regulatory requirements.  

Human translators understand cultural nuances, idiomatic expressions, and language subtleties essential for accurate communication. Their role ensures compliance and precision in clinical trials, patient information leaflets, medical device documentation, and more.  


Advancing Life Science Innovation 

By integrating MT and AI into life sciences localisation, we can drive significant innovation. These technologies make it easier to translate and analyse multilingual data: facilitating global collaboration and speeding up research and development.  

Researchers can share findings with international colleagues, access a broader range of scientific literature, and conduct multinational clinical trials more efficiently. 

Translated datasets also provide valuable insights into global health trends, helping to identify emerging health threats and inform public health strategies. Fast, accurate translations are crucial for regulatory submissions, ensuring new drugs and medical devices get approved and brought to market faster. 


The Future of Life Sciences Localisation 

Looking ahead, the future of life sciences localisation will likely be a sophisticated combination of human and machine capabilities.  

AI and machine learning will continue to improve, making machine translation even more accurate and contextually aware. However, the irreplaceable expertise of human translators and interpreters will remain critical for ensuring the accuracy, compliance, and effectiveness of medical translations and communications. 


In a nutshell, while advancements in machine translation and AI are revolutionising life sciences localisation, human translators' expertise remains indispensable. The combination of machine capabilities and human oversight, particularly through MTPE, offers a promising approach to handling large volumes of multilingual data.  


This synergy enhances efficiency, drives innovation and facilitates global collaboration, pushing life science research and development forward. 


For those looking to navigate the complexities of life sciences localisation, partnering with a trusted provider like us at Wolfestone gives you access to the latest technologies and the highest standards of human expertise.  


Contact Wolfestone today to see how we can support your localisation needs and help you achieve your global communication goals.