Life Science Localization: Challenges and Trends

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To stay competitive in the marketplace, life sciences companies invest tremendous amounts of money to build out new geographic regions. With these large investments, organizations simply cannot afford to make costly missteps in today’s highly opportunistic global market.

If you are part of a life sciences enterprise and are determining whether translation and localization investments will increase your global impact, here are some considerations to bear in mind—along with some key trends fueling today’s global momentum.

Considerable challenges inspire fresh opportunities

To localize is to maximize. Localization includes more than just translating words—it is a complete ecosystem of technology and services that work together to adapt content for targeted regions. It provides quality (which is critical in Life Sciences), reliability, and savings—not only in terms of cost, but also for a positive impact on a customer’s dedicated resource requirements and innovation opportunity.

It’s an ecosystem that serves as the backbone for the solutions that life science organizations need to support a seamless operation. Localization enables content to convey deeper meaning, which leads to higher impact. Higher impact translates into stronger engagement that drives increased worldwide sales.

Take a holistic enterprise view. In an enterprise environment, localization poses many challenges, from keeping costs in check, to meeting and exceeding quality levels, to making sure local HIPPA and privacy regulations are adhered to around the globe. The first step is to set a well-conceived, enterprise-wide foundation in which all global stakeholders have agreed on translation technology, workflow, governance, and controls.

Then, carefully think through regional implementation while factoring in local requirements. This is equally critical, as without this second step, local-level use and value are likely jeopardized. By thinking holistically, you’ll resolve daunting operational challenges in a way that actually increases organizational control and local agility.

Consider centralizing. A centralized translation operating model helps life sciences companies gain impressive efficiencies. Re-using more existing translated content leads to lower costs, and a smarter centralized project workflow provides better use of internal resources.

Engaging various in-country stakeholders and convincing them to come on board with a centralization program is undoubtedly a challenging undertaking. But it can also be a highly valuable exercise, as it opens up conversation about the challenges each stakeholder faces in-country. This knowledge subsequently shapes a better-fit centralization solution that reflects your organization and brand.

Emerging trends in life sciences

As the marketplace expands, we will see more from technologies that deliver accessibility and relevance.

Mobile:  The market for electronic health records is predicted to be worth about $35.2 billion by 2019. This steady rise of data has increased the need for stronger software apps that reduce errors, increase ease of use, and make data more available. Data then needs to be displayed in many languages so it’s accessible globally. The resulting health records will be more easily used by both doctors and patients, without compromising privacy or regulations.

Globalization, localization, and personalization: The world’s makeup changes as urban populations, migrants, singles, and small-family households become a reality. Each demographic has specific needs that must be met.

Global tech usage and innovation are changing as well. Sites such as QZone and VKontacte (social networking sites), Sina Weibo (a microblogging site), and Twoo (a dating site) are virtually unknown in the United States, yet they have a huge impact globally on population knowledge and general health habits. Of course, with globalization, there also comes an expectation of localization and personalization.

Users today demand more accurate and detailed local search results as well as in-depth local knowledge. Health, nutrition, and general well-being depend very much on where someone lives, what food is available, and the traditional cuisine of that environment. Data-driven personalization and customization will get us there, but brands need to be adaptable. Every pharmaceutical brand requires carefully planned campaigns that are targeted, efficient, and effective depending on region, country, and population type.

Quick searches and quick, yet valid, answers in all languages:  As people increasingly look online for answers to their everyday health problems, there is a need for content providers to focus more on developing in-depth, valid content, in a clear and understandable format—in the language required by the users. In healthcare, this is particularly relevant. Patients need approachable, authoritative, in-depth information about their conditions; connections to useful peer networks; and proven care experts in their own language—with their local perspective.

About the authorAdriana Beaton

Drawing on 20 years of localization experience, Adriana Beaton crafts strategic localization solutions that help Lionbridge clients create and strengthen their global programs by maximizing growth and improving business performance.

She has presented at various conferences and has a strong interest in global digital marketing and international SEO. Adriana’s in-depth cultural knowledge and industry experience keep her at the forefront of localization technology trends.

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