Client Success Story: Arabic and Hebrew Medical Document Translation

Last Updated August 23, 2022

Learn how Summa Linguae Technologies helped a healthcare innovator go global with medical document translation into Arabic and Hebrew.

Medical technology requires translation specialization because of the high degree of regulation. Precision of meaning is a legal necessity in all documentation.

It can also literally be a matter of life and death.

When healthcare innovators NxStage Medical made the decision to translate all English-language documentation relating to their pioneering kidney-treatment devices into Arabic and Hebrew, they knew it would be an immense task.

Managing complex medical terminology, regulatory variations, and cultural sensitivities would involve far more than simple translation.

So NxStage contacted Summa Linguae Technologies (SLT) for help.

The Challenge: Medical Document Translation

NxStage Medical is a medical device company based in Lawrence, Massachusetts, USA.

They have a history deeply rooted in technology and research, and create innovative products that improve the lives of those suffering with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and acute kidney failure.

NxStage designs, develops, manufactures, and markets its groundbreaking solutions for kidney patients all over the world. This involves a great deal of highly technical documentation, where accuracy and certainty are critical.

Daniela Orlowski, NxStage’s Director of Technical Communications, explains:

“In the highly regulated medical device industry where safety concerns are paramount, user guides, maintenance manuals, training materials, and other associated content require the utmost attention to detail. The slightest ambiguity in the text could have serious implications.”

So when NxStage needed a large number of manuals, device specifications, safety information and other technical documents translated from English into Arabic and Hebrew, there was no room for error.

Initially, NxStage chose to execute the project in Israel using local translators. However, there were multiple failed attempts to find qualified translators capable of completing a task of this scale and complexity. So, the company had to think again, explains Daniela Orlowski.

“We realized that this was a specialist task requiring a superior skill set. After much consideration we chose SLT. We were impressed not just by their track record of large-scale translation and localization projects, but also by their medical experience and willingness to fit in with our existing work practices.”

Localizing every detail of complex, medical documentation in different languages without losing the meaning or nuance is a demanding challenge.

SLT’s expertise in medical technology and vast experience in creating localized content – not only translating the words but also tailoring the message to local audiences – meant we were more than up to the task.

The Solution

SLT got to work immediately, devising a strategic solution that would leave nothing to chance, explains Micheline Freij, SLT’s Managing Director of USA.

“We assembled a highly skilled team of native translators from the Middle East. They all possessed the necessary medical expertise. A workflow was arranged with the client to ensure swift processing of every document with scrupulous attention to detail.”

The workflow involved a five-step process:

  1. Human translation of the English text into Hebrew and Arabic by a team of native translators.
  2. Meticulous analysis of the translation by a second translator acting in a proofreading role, in particular to identify potential ambiguities and localization issues.
  3. Review by NxStage, with feedback provided where necessary.
  4. Client feedback discussed with translators and either implemented immediately or resolved with the client.
  5. Client feedback involving changes to the meaning of the source text confirmed for regulatory compliance in the target markets.

Human translation was chosen over machine translation because of the technical and nuanced nature of the text. In general, human translation also helps to maintain the confidentiality of the documents.

Multiple checks and rigorous scrutiny of the text at each stage verified the accuracy of medical terminology and ensured the writing style remained consistent across all documents.

Challenging any deviation from the meaning of the source text prevents any potential regulatory issues from arising.

The Outcome

NxStage received professional and accurate medical document translation.

SLT’s painstaking approach resulted in a large quantity of highly technical NxStage product documentation—including user manuals, training materials, device specifications and safety information—being:

  • Translated into Arabic and Hebrew
  • Localized for cultural and regional differences
  • Scrutinized for accuracy and regulatory compliance.

Here’s what Daniela from NxStage had to say about the end result:

“SLT handled this large, complex project with exceptional care and attention. Their skill and attention to detail matches the demands of the highly regulated medical device industry—and their work enables life-changing medical devices for people suffering with end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and acute kidney failure throughout the Middle East.”

For more information on bringing medical devices to international markets, explore Summa Linguae Technologies’ medical translation services.

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