The COVID-19 pandemic has affected our life in many aspects and made us reconsider our priorities, look for options to make our office a safe place, and learn to be more open to innovative technologies. Clinical translation is significantly impacted by the virus as pharmaceutical companies are urged to find a solution. COVID-19 can be considered a catalyst for technology adoption in clinical trials as reported by PMlive.

The quick exchange of information and the open access to foreign research are critical for the rapid development of research in the field of medicine. So, clinical translation can play a vital role in the war against the virus. In order to be efficient, a translation in the field needs to follow the best practices for clinical trials translation and also adapt to the new requirements for any kind of translation in the area of medicine that is related to COVID-19.

When is clinical translation needed?

Clinical translation is a specific service that is needed in several occasions such as: translation of clinical trials, medical documentation, medical equipment specifications, interpretation for non-English speaking patients, and translation of their medical files. We can summarize that this is a form of translation that is directly or indirectly related to the health. Clinical translation should always be performed by experienced translators who have subject-matter knowledge in the medical sphere. We can differentiate between several forms of clinical translation but, in any case the service needs to be precise, reliable, professional and available to anyone who needs it.

Forms of clinical translation related to COVID-19

There can be various forms of clinical translations that are related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Testing and procedure results, technical documents for traveling abroad declarations, or informative translations such as governmental sites with information about the virus in different languages. We can sum up some of the main forms of clinical translations related to COVID-19 as follows:

  • Translations of clinical trials related to the new virus. This is one of the leading groups since many companies are working to find out more information about the virus and how to treat it properly. Here we can talk about testing the virus itself or the various medication used to treat it. Vaccines are also an important item of the COVID-19-related clinical trials. Since there are pharmaceutical companies from all over the world trying to produce vaccines, it is essential that all of the information about the virus is available in different languages.
  • Translations of medical documents related to the virus. Here we can speak about case history of a patient, prescriptions, or other documents related to the medical history of a patient.
  • Translations of documents related to COVID-19 such as declarations for traveling abroad, quarantine documentation, correspondence with the health institutions in a given country, etc. Various certificates, declarations, or other non-medical documents that are still related to the virus.
  • Translations of information materials. Many governmental organizations, healthcare institutions, NGOs, hospitals, and universities post information about the pandemic on their websites. Therefore, we can speak of complete or partial website localization that can meet the needs of the given institution. A good example is the information provided on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website or the leaflets that can be downloaded from HSE website.
  • Translation of medical equipment documentation that may include manuals, guarantees, patterns, terms of service, and many more;
  • Medical translation and interpretation services for COVID-19 patients. We are aware that professional interpretation improves medical services and therefore it should be available to COVID-19 patients as well. In order to find qualified medical interpreters ready to work in such an environment, it is necessary for the medical institutions to provide proper personal protective equipment, and adequate payment. Remote medical interpretation services are a very wise solution in this case as it will allow patients to communicate with the medical staff and vice verse without a risk for the interpreter.

COVID-19 is a sensitive issue and all the documents related to it should be handled with care. It is very important that the services concerning clinical translation in all of its forms are provided by experienced professionals in the field.

Is the LSP you work with prepared for COVID-19 clinical translation?

It is necessary to have an Language Service Providers (LSPs) with qualified translators that are experienced in the field of medicine and clinical trials in order to offer clinical translation services related to COVID-19 materials. Since the virus is still new and the data about it is discovered and completed almost on a daily basis, it is a good idea for professional translators to keep themselves aware of the new information. It is not sufficient only to watch TV, read newspapers or posts on social media in order to be aware of the news around the pandemic. LSPs and their translators should invest time to check official publications by renowned medical experts and institutions when dealing with COVID-19-related translation.

A company and LSP should also establish a specific database with terminology related to clinical trials and the new virus. It can contain basic terms in English and their counterpart in the foreign language/s you are working with. Then, you need to supplement it with specific jargon related to the pandemic such as “lockdown,” for example, a simple word that, however, has no equivalent in many European and other languages. If you are using a specific translation software, you need to properly “train” it for the new terminology that is required for the COVID-19 translation projects.

Here at ICD Translation we have considerable experience in providing clinical translation services from and to any language that you need. You can count on our expertise for any form of medical translation and interpretation. Our highly trained professionals are here to help with the translation of any COVID-19-related documentation.

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