Human vs. machine | cHAPTER 2

The Translation
Dilemma in Life

The stakes are always high for localization in the life sciences industry. However, balancing speed, accuracy, and cost is a constant challenge.

While other industries must also balance speed, accuracy, and cost in localizing content, life sciences organizations face unique challenges.

Advancements in AI and neural machine translation (NMT) technologies have significantly improved the quality of machine-generated translations.

Despite AI advancements, human translators remain irreplaceable. Localization requires a nuanced understanding of languages and cultural sensitivity, which AI is not (yet) capable of.

The decision between machine and human translation hinges on balancing speed, accuracy, and cost.

The landscape of translation technologies is constantly evolving. Advancements in AI, machine learning, and NMT will continue to refine the quality and capabilities of machine translation.

While other industries must also balance speed, accuracy, and cost in localizing content, life sciences organizations face unique challenges.

They are subject to more stringent regulatory requirements, which puts greater pressure on them to deliver translations quickly to meet regulators’ deadlines. Yet accurate translations are paramount.

For example, patient consent forms, clinical trial documents, and pharmaceutical labels must meet regulatory standards. The cost of non-compliance can be devastating, ranging from severe financial penalties to delays in product launches.

In the life sciences industry, timely communication of adverse events in pharmacovigilance can be a matter of life or death. Some regulators even require submitting reports on drug adverse side effects within 24 hours.

With new medicines entering the market at an unprecedented pace, the increased workload and tight turnaround times pose significant risks for life sciences organizations. Inaccurate translations in these critical situations can lead to serious consequences, underscoring the need for a balanced approach that combines AI efficiency with human expertise.

Swift Market Entry

Time to market is likewise crucial in the life sciences sector. Pharmaceutical, biotech, contract research organizations, and healthcare companies are constantly in a race to launch innovative treatments and groundbreaking reports.

They strive for swift market entry in different geographical markets, many of which require accurate translations. Any delays in translations could set back their marketing campaigns and sales goals.

Human translation can’t meet the demands for rapid translations in multiple languages at a massive scale.

On the other hand, machine translation alone can’t match human linguists’ accuracy. However, integrating AI technology with human expertise offers a solution that leverages both strengths for optimal outcomes.

Welocalize worked with a global pharmaceutical company with over 100,000 employees in 90 countries. The client was facing a significant increase in pharmacovigilance translations worldwide, with reports needing to be analyzed, translated, and reported within 24 hours.

To address this challenge, Welocalize set up dedicated teams in China, France, Mexico, and Vietnam and created an MT portal for the client’s pharmacovigilance content to meet the demand for rapid translation of reports.

Combining a custom MT engine and a global team of human linguists and reviewers enabled Welocalize to deliver over 45,000 words of pharmacovigilance translations in 24 hours. Adding MT to the process resulted in faster turnaround times, greater consistency, and cost savings. This solution was implemented successfully in several countries, and plans are to expand to more countries and languages.