What Value Do Professional Chinese Medical Translators Bring To Business?

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The health care in China is one of the ‘unchartered waters’ according to the global research firm, McKinsey & Company. Forbes contributor, Jack Perkowski labeled the industry as “A Trillion Dollar Industry in the Making.” It’s not surprising that many foreign companies are taking advantage of this opportunity despite the uncertainties of long-term operations.

Regardless of the barriers of entry in the industry, the research firm is optimistic according to the report. It’s a cliché to write this fact: China is big, and so is the market. And it’s ageing population is consuming 4 trillion Yuan ($652 billion) worth of goods and services according to Bloomberg.

Whether you are in the healthcare, pharmaceutical, or medical products industry, you can tap the world’s largest market through online and offline strategies. “Long-term success is by no means assured” as McKinsey & Company puts it, but if you think there’s value in the products and services you are offering, you can leverage on the power of China Internet or create a distribution channel of physical goods (medicines, supplements, equipment, etc.).

As part of the marketing and distribution strategies, translation and localization are crucial in this industry. Working with a team of experts – professional Chinese medical translators and practitioners – for hands-on-deck approach on translation projects. They bring value to your business not just for short-term, but long-term goals. Here are the reasons:

Translator’s specialization is gold

The medical industry is divided into different areas such as Dentistry, Cardiology, Diagnostics, Endocrinology, and among others. Translations of texts require not just Chinese natives but Chinese professional translators – a team of experts, medical practitioners and language degree holders – who have specialization in each branch of medicine; they must know pharma regulations as well  to handle such discipline of translating the sources such as clinical trials, case studies, product licensing, user manuals into Simplified or Traditional Chinese

Ability to handle terminologies issues

Jiayi Huang, a trainee at TermCoord, said that a translator faces two challenges: medical knowledge and medical terminology. “Medical terminology presents problems which are different from other specialized domains,” Huang explained. A translator who has an in-depth understanding of medical lexicography will be able to determine the right terminologies that should be used in a document and spot the errors.

Translator’s expertise in translation and localization

Most people think that translation and localization are synonymous. Wrong. Translation is a subtask of localization, and these two are the cruces in producing quality and accurate translations and localized versions of products. Translation involves the process of changing the words of the source (English texts) to Simplified or Traditional Chinese whereas localization requires the medical translator to consider the culture, language, format, and designs suitable for the market. For example the importance of color combinations, format of numbers, and designs in Chinese culture and marketing collaterals. In pharmaceutical products, localization of packaging plus product descriptions and manuals.

Translator’s understanding of informational or promotional purposes

There are two categories in medical translation: informational and promotional. In his book, Problems of Medical Translation, Henry Fischbach said that these two do not imply that they are mutually exclusive, but a medical translator’s understanding of their differences affects the quality of the documents after that. The informational texts may not necessarily have that highly polished stylistic output if it’s used internally (within an organization).

On the other hand, promotional medical translations will require complex processes and specializations from the translator; expertise in the culture, Chinese copywriting, knowledge of the local market and often these things cannot be handled by one translator – a team comes to the scene to polish, edit, proofread and delivers competent service.

Tapping the medical industry may be an uphill battle for foreign companies, but we have also seen how big brands tread the competition in China – after all, as the saying goes, health is wealth. Consumers will always consider their health and wellness. And there’s also wealth in health if you have the right partners in China, well-planned translation and localization strategies, and expand at the right place and time.