Found in Translation - Pharmaceutical Executive


Found in Translation
The language barrier is just one of the challenges to overcome in developing global teams.

Pharmaceutical Executive

10 Plan ahead Once the original—usually English—program is ready, you can forward it to your LSP to begin translation. But because original training programs can have considerable mistakes in spelling, content, or terminology, it's best to have plenty of time for revision. Also, there are languages like Arabic or Chinese that involve changing the page layout to accommodate right-to-left differences. Other languages, such as Thai, have special requirements for long sentences. In some cases, a LSP might be able to detect these issues before the translation process begins, which will save time and money in the long run.

11 Participate in the process Most translation companies have the resources to preserve quality, but sometimes, one translator that may have had success with one client may not serve another's needs. Often, it is not that the translation is bad or unacceptable, but rather, affiliates (or managers) have different needs. Requesting a translation is like having a suit tailor-made: You are not buying a finished product; it must be adapted to your particular needs.

Companies should have someone from the local affiliate review the program and provide feedback early in the translation phase. And when translating large projects, which is often the case with training programs for pharma companies, it is advisable to forward a sample of the translation (10-20 pages) to each local affiliate for review.

12 Pay attention to industry trends Business needs will continue to shape the future of global training. Ed de Kievet, global director for training at Organon, says that managers will place greater emphasis on proving the ROI of programs and personalizing them "through the concept of the managed approach to learning—business process, required competencies and personal learning plans, all linked to performance management."

Niemczyk predicts a balance between self-paced and facilitated learning. Pressure to create a unified approach to selling pharmaceutical products worldwide will intensify. Technology, too, will have a big impact on the way training is developed and delivered, but in the end, proper feedback and time management will remain key in delivering successful, high-quality global training programs.

Jorge Arteaga, MD is president of Alter Translation Services. He can be reached at


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