Can Machine Translation Support Healthcare Translation Services?
The advancement of machine translation in recent years is significant and it is successfully applied by the majority of leading translation companies to facilitate the translation process. Healthcare translation services can also benefit from MT output professionally edited by human translators.
Why Machine Translation Is a Viable Option for a Healthcare Startup?
While machine translation (MT) cannot outrank human translation, it is a valuable resource that can be utilized to trim translation costs and turnarounds.
As a startup in the field of healthcare, you have significant competition, as Fortune reports that, only for the period of 2010–2014, there was a 200 percent growth of startups in the field. In order to establish your brand and grow your business, you need to navigate through a highly-regulated market that allows no room for mistakes.
It is likely that your business has a limited budget dedicated to translation and localization of all your content and you need to spend it wisely. Selecting a translation agency that provides professional healthcare translation services is vital for your business growth and performance.
Machine translation, when properly integrated with the translation process of healthcare-related content, can save you time, money, and efforts, facilitating your time to market and providing you with a competitive advantage over peers and established brands in the field.
A study carried out by Ana Guerberof Arenas on productivity and quality of post-editing when using MT output reveals that translators have higher productivity and quality when using machine-translated output compared to when working without it.
Since medical content requires the use of specific terminology, clear and concise language with no colloquialism or idioms, and many documents follow a certain pattern of structure and expression, it makes it easier to train the MT tools to produce a quality output that will require less post-editing efforts.
How to Integrate MT in Healthcare Translation Services?
Machine translation is of great help when translating content with fixed terms and structures, and also when dealing with long, monotonous documents, which quite often can be used to describe medical documentation.
A survey report carried by the European Association for Machine Translation reveals that 57 percent of the respondents agree that MT improves productivity. Still, EAMT suggests to use MT on straightforward texts, like technical manuals and informative webpages, and healthcare content falls to a great extent in this description.
The best way to integrate MT in professional healthcare translation services is to review it as a tool that assists the translators and never as a substitute.
Translation memory tools and glossaries established and completed in partnership with your translation vendor contain bilingual or multilingual data that is used by translators to facilitate the translation process and guarantee consistency of all texts. This data is the perfect base to be used for training an MT system that will produce a reliable output.
The translation output of an MT system specifically trained to meet the needs of your healthcare startup will be of higher value than a general free MT tool such as Google Translate, for example. The professional post-editing of the content will guarantee the quality of the healthcare translation services in this sensitive area.
Customized statistical machine translation provides efficient translation of terminology, measurements, figures, and other standardized content, provided that it is properly trained with the necessary data pertaining to the healthcare industry in general and to your business in particular.
Content related to user manuals, technical specifications, unit codes and the like can be accurately translated using MT tools. The output will then be post-edited to correct any mistakes by trained medical translators. The overall process will save time, which can be critical for the market penetration strategy of a healthcare startup.
The Role of NMT for the Healthcare Industry
Neural Machine Translation (NMT) is advancing significantly since its initial introduction and is going to play a vital role in the development of MT and healthcare translation services.
Due to its specific neural networks, NMT is capable of translating full sentences and even convey certain nuances of the language. An NMT output is of higher quality compared to simple MT and provides higher accuracy and fluency of the text, which is vital for healthcare content.
An NMT output can be a viable solution for your startup based on the languages you have selected for your translation and localization project. Despite its development, NMT still performs better with certain language combinations such as English and Chinese and fails with others as revealed by a Case Study on 30 Translation Directions carried out by the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan and the University of Edinburgh.
Still, when it comes to healthcare translation services, the output of an automated translation tool, be it MT or NMT, needs to be post-edited by qualified medical translators to secure conformity and accuracy.
Not all translation companies include NMT as part of the language services they provide, but most of them do offer sophisticated MT tools that significantly shorten the translation process and reduce costs while maintaining a consistent level of quality translation.
If you want to learn more about the options of MT or how a healthcare translation services provider can help you scale up your healthcare startup, we recommend downloading our free white paper “How Translation Technology Can Help You Scale Your Startup Internationally.”