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December 9, 2009 / ABC Translation Services

Translations for the Pharmaceutical Industry

Here is an excerpt from an article from Future Pharmaceuticals Magazine regarding the special role of professional translations within the pharmaceutical industry, some of the challenges in the process, and the importance of working with a professional translation agency with experience in this specific area. The article features an interview with Jodi Castro, President and CEO of ABC Translation Services, LLC.

“The world of clinical trials is expanding with many patient participants being engaged from sites around the globe. This calls for a clear translation — that is the translation of the study must be contextual and factual in whatever language it is being read. For pharmaceutical companies that do not have this specific expertise, the translation industry can be a link to clear communication.

Future Pharmaceuticals: What is the role of the translation industry and why is it so critical to the globalization of the pharmaceutical industry?

Jodi Castro: In clinical trials, the need to find patient participants outside of the U.S. has become increasingly important. With this need comes the requirement for clear and open communication of the study, however, this expertise is rarely a core competency in a pharmaceutical company or clinical research organization (CRO). This is where the translation industry fits into the equation — global communication is the core expertise of the translation industry with specialized communications critical to the successful clinical trial environment.

Additionally, translation services provide solutions to the issues the pharmaceutical industry faces in communicating with world populations. Clinical trial translations are filled with industry-specific terms and specializations which must be understood within the context of the end-user culture prior to the translation. The translation agency offers expertise and insight regarding cultural nuances among each ethnicity and specifically to key disciplines — including scientific, medical, and legal professionals within native-speaking communities. A translation partner navigates the issues related to properly communicating industry-specific language to native-speaking end-users and eliminates costly delays and errors.

FP: What are the most important aspects/characteristics of a translation service partner to the pharmaceutical industry?

JC: Choosing the proper language partner is critical to the successful outcome of a clinical trial. First and foremost, it is important that the language partner can provide translations into virtually any language, and has access to a global network of professional linguists. These linguists must be certified specialists in the target market having a complete knowledge and full understanding of the culture where the clinical trial is taking place. This will play a vital role when recruiting patients and developing proper communications; ensuring consistency, accuracy and reducing the risk for error. An effective language partner must also provide: dedicated project management and key personnel; administrative and standard operational procedures which meet regulatory requirements; and key product deliverables — from patient-enrollment outreach materials and diaries to medical product inserts and labels.

Beyond the ability to fulfill standard business requirements, a true translation partner shares client goals and assumes an ownership for the achievement of these goals throughout the lifecycle of the project. As with any partnership, effective communication from the beginning is crucial to a productive relationship. Having confidence in a translation agency that provides the best possible client service and strategic approach can prove to be an invaluable long-term resource.

ABC Translation Services ( provides the best of all worlds: it has the depth and resources to handle projects of any size, targeting any culture or language in the world, yet it is small enough to provide unparalleled customer service and support, as it has done for over 20 years. ABC has sustained long-term relationships, which inevitably provide work flow efficiencies and cost savings over time.”

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