Facts About Medical Localization

medical research localization

Facts About Medical Localization

Facts About Medical Localization

(Last Updated On: December 26, 2023)

Facts about Medical Localization

Do you think you are health literate? Do you know basic medical terms? If you think so that you do understand them, then you might major in some kind of medical field, right? Or if you don’t understand them that completely fine. The majority of the people within the United States and all over the world are health illiterate- they don’t understand the basic medical terms or health information. The best way to overcome health illiteracy is to provide people with the material in their native foreign languages!

Well, language is the basic barrier in any medical setting and a major risk factor that causes adverse results. Effective communication with healthcare providers and patients is the key to improved health results. Health results include preventive tests, treatment plans, and patient satisfaction. So in order to make the treatment accessible to everyone, don’t you think medical localization is important? Wait what is localization? Isn’t it a translation? NO! People often think that localization is the same as translation and mix things up. Well, Localization is much more than translation.

In this article, we will discuss what exactly is localization? And what’s the role it plays in the medical field? Why is it important? Moreover, we will have a look at some of the facts that you need to know about medical localization. So let’s just dig into it!


What is localization? How it is different from translation? Well, translation is just a part of the globalization process in which a translator translates the original language into the target language. On the other hand, localization is the adaption process that includes factors like cultural considerations, beliefs, values, habits to the target audience.

People have different perspectives and different ways to describe and perceive the same things, depending on their culture. So, localization requires a lot of time and hard work; moreover, it takes a proper team of professional linguists to manage a single project.

medical terminology localization
define medical localization


For companies in the medical industry, localization is the most important “checkbox” in a long “To Do” list to launch a product in the foreign market.

In order to be successful and gain profit in the foreign market, the first thing you need to understand is how the locals perceive things and then make your product accordingly. So, it is very important for medical documents, including instructions for medical devices as well, to be localized accurately reflecting the culture and the language of local and make them understandable for the consumer.

In addition, medical localization is also important for effective communication between a doctor and patient and makes favorable treatment outcomes possible.


Medical experts spend their time working hard to ensure that patients get the best healthcare information available. Not everyone understands medical terminologies, that’s why translation becomes a necessity. Medical translators holding years of experience help doctors to communicate effectively with patients. It’s not easy at all because everything needs to be done professionally, from diagnosis to prescriptions.

Here is why medical localization is important in various documents:

1. Website & Marketing Content

Localization service is required for translating medical and hospital facilities’ websites into a particular language. Medical websites and marketing materials are essential for the medical industry all over the globe.

2. Signage

It’s important for signage in different languages to be available in hospitals and medical centers. Choosing the most commonly used language for signage helps ensure that people understand them easily.

3. Medical History Records

The historic record shows the entire process of the patient‘s medical history. The remarks are utilized in your medical healthcare and clinical researches later on. Medical translators translate these records available for those researchers who speak a language other than the original language of records.

4. Consent Forms

The consent form includes all the medical procedures involved in the treatment; the patient signs the consent form before the treatment starts. So, the consent form must be in the patient’s language.

5. Clinical Trials

Trials are an essential part of medical research; they help to discover new treatments and cures. Participants must know all the possible risks involved. Therefore, the translation of such kinds of medical documents is important.

There are various other medical documents as well, which need an accurate translation from the experts. Professional translators work on every abbreviation, medical terminology and find the best convenient synonymous to make it understandable for the reader.


When it comes to medical translation, accuracy is something that matters the most. A single error can lead to major consequences. For instance, you are introducing an amazing product in a foreign market but if the translation is poor, it can badly affect the sale or damage the company’s reputation. More importantly, poor translation poses a liability risk because misunderstandings could result in inappropriate usage of the product by the end causing harm or even death.

So, here are some facts that you need to know to get effective medical localization:

medical localization meaning
medical localization principle

Subject Matter Expertise

Whenever it comes to translating a document, translating it word to word can skew the actual meaning of the information and make the content unclear and inaccurate. Generally, languages contain many ambiguous words, so just knowing the right one won’t help unless the context is well known.

That’s why it is crucial that the translator not just understand the language, but also has expertise in the subject matter.

Taking Audience into Consideration

Regardless of what is being translated or which language you’re translating into, your target audience must remain top of mind. It’s especially important when translating medical information for consumers because they may not understand medical terminology like “Frontal lobe.”

Medical translation includes device information as well, which can be quite difficult to understand. There are two key factors that every medical translator needs to consider. First, they must translate the text and then determine if the translated text is making any sense on not. Then add the cultural, environmental, and other factors in it.

Translators must need to take these steps, otherwise, they will run the risk of translated content being literally correct while leaving gaps in understanding for the target audience.

Human Element

Today, translation companies are switching to machine translation to make the translation services affordable to as many people as possible. This may sound cost-effective, but it will cost more in the long term.

A machine translation or translation software can translate the content word to word but it is unable to capture the actual meaning or the actual message behind the context. Only a linguist with quality education and subject matter expertise can translate its full meaning.

In any language service, translation localization plays an important part, but it’s particularly relevant for the medical industry. Poor or inaccurate translation not just costs more, but also leads to serious health-related issues. An effective localization helps to mitigate risks.


A professional medical translator, essential for addressing language barriers and ensuring optimal user experience in international markets, must have comprehensive knowledge of medical terminology and common medical terms in both the source and target language. These translators play a crucial role in medical localization services, aiding healthcare professionals in reaching their target markets effectively. Specialization in basic medical sciences is beneficial for translators entering this field, although additional training may be necessary to ensure precision. As part of the localization process, dedicated localization teams collaborate to adapt content for diverse international markets, enhancing user interfaces and catering to the needs of medical professionals.

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