Translating Your Way to New Markets
Why Medical Device Manufacturers Need a Reliable Medical Translation Agency
24 January, 2021 by
John Widick
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Opportunities for growth are abundant in the medical device industry. Advancements in tech put forward pressure on any industry, and most especially one creating technology intended to treat disease. Every year devices are expected to be smarter and interface more smoothly with a whole network of technology. This race to develop and evolve medical devices along the axis of technical ability may seem like the most crucial avenue for a medical device company to survive and remain relevant, but it is not the only path toward growth in the immediate future. In fact, the air of urgency around it may prove a distraction from another opportunity: selling devices overseas.

Countries around the world are developing at a startling rate. GDP per capita is growing the world over. Healthcare expenditure generally lags behind this growth, but not for long. As residents of these countries live longer and seek new ways to improve their medical outcomes and quality of life, device manufacturers who ignore such emerging markets are simply gifting them to their competitors. The path into these markets is not simple, but having an experienced medical translation agency on your side is one of the most important ways to stack the deck in your favor.

Pre-Commercialization

Most emerging economies don’t have English as a widely-spoken language. Even countries like India, in which English is the official language of government, don’t have large populations that speak it fluently. Furthermore, simply converting text from one language to another is not the most challenging part of selling devices overseas. A new device must go through a country’s internal regulatory system, and in many cases a country’s law dictates that local translators be employed for that service. Sounds daunting, doesn’t it? Maybe even prohibitive… The good news is it doesn’t have to be. Medical translation services that know what they’re doing have a solution ready. They network with translators in many countries to have scientific and medical translators ready that meet the legal requirements in the country where you want to do business.

Furthermore, credible medical translation companies will only hire translators with medical or scientific knowledge and who are familiar with the material in question. This means the medical translation team you have on your side will work very smoothly with both your research and development team, as well as the legal experts working in-country.

Marketing

Once the legal waters have been successfully crossed, you can finally start making money. Making sales may seem likely comfortably familiar territory, but of course marketing in a new country isn’t necessarily any easier than getting approval. Navigating a foreign country’s culture is in many ways even less straightforward than navigating its regulatory system. Matters of health are often a very sensitive matter culturally, and in ways that aren’t obvious to foreigners. Certainly, marketing firms inside the country will be a great asset, but they may not be capable of translating important instructions for patients, or for the medical professionals using or implanting your devices. Medical translation is fraught with risk, and errors can indeed lead to life-threating outcomes. That is why those matters that require medical precision will require medical translators who won’t mistranslate medical terms. They must know the subject in both languages. Furthermore, medical translators should be intimately familiar with the culture for which they are translating. That way they will create a finished product that is culturally discerning, and therefore doesn’t challenge the reader’s sensibilities while they are dealing with their own medical concerns.

Post-Commercialization

Let’s assume you’ve passed the regulatory hurdles, sold more product than you expected, and made a profit. It might be appropriate to pop open the champagne and let out a sigh of relief, but that doesn’t mean this is any time to rest on your laurels. Not only do you have to keep your business senses on alert, but you must also continue to maintain and renew your devices’ legal status in your host country. Regulatory documents must be updated, a blind spot you would allow at your peril. Plus, each innovation your devices undergo may require an update. The paperwork will have to be translated, like before, but a reliable medical translation company will only charge you for the changes you have to make to the original documents, rather than creating whole new ones. The right agency will integrate your company’s brand, preferred terms, and keep an archive of previous documents, assuring they are all safe and consistent. They will have them ready to go so they only have to update the originals rather than rewrite them. Medical translation is a field that has matured considerably, and when you go into another country to contribute what your products have to offer, you’ll want experts to have your back. It more than pays for itself.

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