;   Medical Translation Insight: 90% of in-country reviews are a waste of time - ForeignExchange Translations

Why are in-country reviews such a waste of time? (medical translation)Device companies usually conduct in-country reviews for one of two reasons:

  1. Compliance requirements (validate translations)
  2. Marketing requirements (obtain buy-in from local offices)
When reviews go well, they do indeed act as additional QA step and add substantial value. Technical accuracy is improved if the reviewer possesses the necessary product expertise. Global branding and messaging can be improved if all participants have access to a current terminology glossary and brand guidelines. And buy-in can be obtained if the reviewers have sufficient time to complete the task.

The problem is that in 90% of the cases that I see, these aren't the case. Much more common is:
  • Lack of information sharing (e.g., no reference materials)
  • Lack of understanding regarding brand
  • Review schedules that are "black holes"
  • Clarity of review changes is lacking (ever try reading a French doctor's handwriting?)
  • Mechanics fail (file exchanges don't work, changes are entered inconsistently)
  • Quality of review changes (linguistic, technical errors are introduced)
Beyond lots of frustration, it is not uncommon for product launches to get delayed, especially in multilingual documents where the last language is lowest common denominator.

So how do you fix in-country reviews? If you cannot scrap reviews altogether (as many device manufacturers have done), focus on these five elements:
  1. Know why you are reviewing
  2. Consider outsourcing the reviews
  3. Communicate early, often, and widely
  4. Document your processes and track review metrics
  5. Put in place a continuous improvement process specifically for in-country reviews
For further information on in-country reviews, take a look at the following:
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1 Comment:

  1. Xiedong Lei said...
    Agree!

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