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Healthcare content: a balancing act between specialist expertise and creativity  


Just like in other STEM disciplines, precision and accuracy are at the heart of life sciences and healthcare communications. From patient information brochures to professional education resources, the information in these pieces needs to be exact and clear, leaving no room for doubt or misinterpretation. 


However, accurate data on its own is not always enough to persuade patients to take their medicines or raise awareness of a disease among the general population. To be effective and have a positive impact, the words, tone and style of these communications need to not only be informative but also effective and meticulously chosen to resonate with their target audiences and move them to action.  


Many times, these communications are created with not just one specific audience in mind, but as part of a larger campaign with a global focus. This means that the message needs to be effective in multiple languages and across a range of different cultures. And more often than not, direct translation, which works for scientific and numerical data, is not enough to capture the spirit of the message. So, for the piece to work in a new environment and engage with new audiences, some form of linguistic and cultural adaptation needs to take place. 


Moulding scientific content for global audiences 


When direct translation is not enough, there are a range of strategies that can be used to make content suitable for international audiences.  


Sometimes, localisation is all a piece of content needs to work in a different market. For example, a smoking awareness campaign launched originally in the US may be easily adapted to fit a UK audience by adjusting things like units of measure, currency and spelling. Likewise, a patient information leaflet devised for the Spanish market can be tailored for Latin American consumers by modifying the language variant or implementing neutral Spanish. 


However, in other cases this solution might not be enough due to greater differences between the source and target languages and cultures. A phrase, expression or cultural focus may simply not translate correctly or work for a different society, and a different approach is needed. In these instances, transcreation can help create a freer, more creative translation of the original that will be better suited to a new audience while retaining its spirit and message.  


Finally, where the differences are too vast or the whole base concept cannot be adequately rendered in a different language, an entirely new piece may be required. In these cases, content creation directly in the target language may be the best strategy. 


Subject matter specialists: the key to successful communications 


Crafting perfect life sciences and healthcare communications, that can both inform and engage the target audience, can be a challenging task — it is a balancing act between hard scientific data and creativity. And when the communications are part of an international campaign, where all content needs to be tailored for a range of different audiences, an extra layer of complexity is added. 


This is why subject matter specialist linguists and content experts are an invaluable resource for the international life sciences sector. With the right combination of industry knowledge and linguistic expertise, only they can ensure the medical or scientific information and terminology in the original are rendered correctly and accurately in the target language. This while carefully achieving a style and tone that is both impactful and engaging for the intended audience.  


Subject matter expertise can make an enormous difference to any life sciences or healthcare project, and it can be the distinguishing factor between a successful campaign and an ineffective one. This fact is imperative to our workflow at THG Fluently, where we onboard our linguists through a process that is fully compliant with ISO 27100 and ISO 17100 standards and includes comprehensive testing as well as ongoing project monitoring. This means that our clients can rest assured they are working with top talent and certified experts that are hand-picked based on the project’s needs and requirements. 


At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing language services to the life sciences sector for almost 20 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to help global healthcare, pharmaceutical companies and scientific organisations and media agencies with their translation needs. So, if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business by connecting you with the best talent for your project, feel free to get in touch.

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