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Why Did Medical Localization Fail to Address the World’s Needs?

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Key Points:

  • What is Medical Localization and Why Is It Important??
  • Why Medical Localization Is Not “local” Enough Yet.
  • COVID-19 and The Highlight of  Medical Localization Shortage. 
  • What Is Needed to Make Medical Localization “Local”?
  • How Can We Help?

Despite the false claims of containing the COVID-19 pandemic and the world’s ability to deal with it efficiently, most of the population was disappointed with the failure of medical localization to address the disease, as it has highlighted a number of challenges with regard to medical localization and global health preparedness. One major issue is the dependency on a small number of countries for the production of critical medical informative content, materials, and supplies, which has made it difficult for many countries to effectively respond to the pandemic.

What is medical localization?

Medical localization refers to the process of adapting medical content and materials, such as documents, websites, and software, to specific languages and cultures. This is important because it ensures that the content is accurate and appropriate for the target audience, which can improve communication and understanding between healthcare providers, stakeholders,  and patients in their local languages. It is also important for organizations that produce medical content or products that are intended for use in different countries, as it ensures that the content or products are properly understood and used safely and effectively.

In addition, medical localization is important because it can help to reduce language barriers and cultural misunderstandings, which can lead to improved patient care and outcomes. It can also help build trust and credibility with patients, as well as with regulatory bodies and other stakeholders.

Why is medical localization not “local” enough yet?

There are several reasons why medical content may not be as localized as it could be:

  • One reason is that it can be difficult to find translators who are knowledgeable about medical terminology and concepts in the target language.
  • Another reason is that it can be challenging to accurately translate complex medical information in a way that is both faithful to the original and easily understandable to people who do not have a background in medicine. 
  • Additionally, there may be regulatory or legal issues that need to be taken into account when localizing medical materials, which can further complicate the process. 
  • Moreover, the lack of investment in local pharmaceutical localization, research, and development in many countries has made it difficult for them to quickly address the pandemic.
  • Additionally, the lack of global coordination and cooperation in responding to the pandemic has hindered the ability to effectively control the spread of the virus and has led to uneven distribution of resources and support.
  • Finally, medical localization is often a time-sensitive task, and it may be difficult to allocate the necessary resources to ensure that it is done thoroughly and accurately.


The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of medical localization and the need for better access to accurate and timely information about the disease in multiple languages. In the early stages of the pandemic, there was a lack of reliable and translated information available in many languages, which made it difficult for people around the world to understand and respond to the crisis.

This lack of medical localization contributed to misinformation and confusion about the disease and made it more difficult for people to access the resources and information they needed to protect themselves and their communities. It also made it harder for healthcare providers to communicate with patients and provide appropriate care, particularly in areas where there were language barriers.

For example, the use of incorrect and misleading names for the disease that were not recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO) led to confusion and made it more difficult for people to find accurate information about the disease. Additionally, the lack of localized information about COVID-19 contributed to the spread of misinformation about the disease, including false cures and treatments, and made it more difficult for people to get the help they needed.

Overall, the COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the need for better medical localization in order to effectively communicate about public health crises and ensure that all members of a community have access to the information and resources they need to stay safe and healthy. It has demonstrated this need in a number of ways:

  • The lack of medical localization has contributed to the spread of misinformation about the disease, which has made it more difficult for people to get accurate information and make informed decisions about their health.
  • It has made it difficult for health systems to respond to the pandemic in an effective and coordinated manner, which has had a significant impact on the ability to contain and control the spread of the disease.
  • It has made it more difficult for healthcare providers to effectively communicate with patients, especially those who speak different languages or come from different cultural backgrounds, which has led to misunderstandings and miscommunications that could have serious consequences for patient care. 

However, the pandemic also served as a wake-up call for some countries to increase investment in the health sector research and localization, improve public health infrastructures and build resilience. Some countries have also stepped forward to lead, cooperate and help each other in responding to the pandemic.

What is needed to make medical localization as “Local” as it can be?

There are several factors that are important for making medical localization “local” enough. Some of the key considerations include:

  • Language: It is important to ensure that medical content and materials are translated accurately and appropriately for the target audience, using language that is appropriate for the target culture. This may involve using local terminology and idioms, and avoiding language that is inappropriate or offensive.
  • Cultural Sensitivity: Medical content and materials should be adapted to be sensitive to the cultural beliefs, values, and practices of the target audience. This may involve making changes to the layout, design, or tone of the materials to be more appropriate for the target culture.
  • Local Regulations: Medical content and materials should be adapted to comply with local regulations and guidelines, such as laws and standards related to healthcare and patient privacy.
  • Expertise: It is important to work with experienced translators and subject matter experts who are familiar with the local language and culture, and who have a deep understanding of the medical content being translated.

Overall, making medical localization “local” enough requires a deep understanding of the target language and culture, as well as a commitment to producing accurate and appropriate content that meets the needs of the target audience.

How can we help you?

Recognized as an ISO 17100/27001 certified localization company with a great focus on helping pharma and CRO businesses worldwide, we handle the translation of a variety of medical texts like studies, research, registration documents, and all other types of content.                                                                                            

At Contentech, we have a completely different cycle for managing pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical translation projects. Our cycle consists of multiple phases including Forward Translation (FT), Revision 1 (R1), Revision 2 (R2), Target Proofreading (TP), and Back Translation (BT). 

In addition, we only assign linguists who have a degree in translation, experience in clinical materials, and meet one of the criteria of having a degree in translation, or having at least five years of full-time experience in translation, all with a good medical and pharmaceutical background. Some of the key qualifications of our medical translators include:

  • Language Proficiency: Our translators are fluent in both the source and target languages, and have a deep understanding of the nuances and idioms of each language.
  • Subject Matter Expertise: We have a strong understanding of the medical content being translated, and are familiar with the terminology and concepts specific to the field.
  • Professional Qualifications: Our translators have professional qualifications and certifications, such as membership in a professional translation association and certification from translation industry bodies.
  • Industry Experience: Contentech teams’ members have experience working in the medical field, which is an important indicator of their expertise and understanding of medical terminology and concepts.

We pride ourselves on managing several mega projects for clinical companies such as ICON, Agilent Technologies, Bayer, BGI Europe, ACON biotech, and many more, which makes Contentech stand out as one of the chief providers of medical translation services in the industry, using a mix of human talents and tools to deliver the best language translation services.

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