3 May 2022

Translation for medical devices: professional qualifications

Categoria: Life Science

Translation for medical devices is part of one of the most heavily regulated sectors, Life Sciences, so it is essential to hire professionals who can meet specific requirements.

It is not enough to simply have an excellent command of the language when the documents requiring translation relate to such a specific field. Translation for medical devices requires expertise in two fields: professional translation and the healthcare industry.

In addition to these requirements, translators must be able to modulate the register of the text according to the target reader of the document.

Ability to use clear, understandable language

As stipulated by the MDR (Medical Device Regulation), devices must be accompanied by information that is comprehensible to the final recipient.

The new European regulations are designed to ensure that these devices are used in a safer manner, which is why they repeatedly emphasize the need to provide information that enables appropriate use of the equipment by both healthcare professionals and patients.

While technical jargon does not impede professionals’ understanding of the texts,  when it comes to patients, language needs to be simplified and adapted to a non-expert’s level of knowledge.

This principle also directly affects the translation. The MDR recommends both an obligation to translate information on medical devices into one of the official languages of the country where they are being marketed and a need to ensure that the text is also clear and comprehensible in the other language, preventing errors on the part of end users.

Complying with this recommendation is a delicate undertaking since it requires a perfect command of the working languages, a profound understanding of the cultural context and, last but not least, extensive knowledge of the Life Science sector.

Only translators who meet these three requirements can produce a clear, comprehensible translation, while remaining faithful to the original content.

Knowledge of technical language

The ability to adapt the language to the end user of the device requires in-depth knowledge of the relevant terminology and technical jargon.

Texts requiring translation in this area not only include those aimed at patients, but also technical documents intended for professionals. The complexity of the devices makes it necessary to consult an extensive set of manuals that clearly and comprehensively indicate the steps for installation, maintenance, operation and diagnostics.

Knowledge of technical terminology is essential to translating such specialized documents. This is why translators are required to have proven expertise in this type of translation, both in terms of training and practical experience.

Typically, professionals who provide this type of translation have a medical background and keep abreast of new developments in the field through continuous training initiatives. This academic knowledge, combined with field experience, allows translators to handle even the most demanding texts, opting for the most suitable translation for each specialized term on a case-by-case basis.

Valuable tools to support this profession include glossaries and terminology databases, which contain the official translation of the devices of a particular company or market niche.

Specialist nomenclature varies not only according to the specific sector to which the device belongs, but also depending on the technical jargon approved by the company that manufactures the device. This is why having access to glossaries and terminology sources enables professionals to translate faster, more accurately, and more consistently.

Managing text readability

The legibility and readability of a text are two other elements that must not be overlooked when producing an excellent translation for medical devices. The MDR stresses that any information concerning such equipment, including the CE marking, must be legible and readable to users. This is especially true for texts published on leaflets, packaging and advertising material.

However, ensuring that a text is legible is beyond the expertise of translators, who are responsible for transposing content from one language to another. This task is the responsibility of another professional in the translation world, the desktop publisher (DTP).

DTP operators handle all aspects related to the layout of the texts accompanying the product. Thanks to their graphic design skills and to the use of specific layout software, desktop publishers ensure that texts are legible by identifying the most suitable format for each type of document.

Translation for medical devices is a complex, delicate task that must not be underestimated. Any oversight in this area can cause incorrect use of equipment and endanger people’s health.

At Way2Global we have a team that specializes in translations for medical devices. Translators, proofreaders, project managers and desktop publishers are among the professionals who make up our team. Thanks to their expertise and to a certified work cycle, we can guarantee that our translations meet the highest quality standards.

Contact us for a free quote.


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