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How Life Sciences Companies Buy Translation and Localization Services

(BOSTON, MA) – Demand for language services in the pharmaceutical and medical device sectors is exploding. Analysis of the U.S. market by market research firm Common Sense Advisory showed that pharmaceutical and medicine manufacturing translation was worth US$75.8 million in 2009, while medical equipment and supplied manufacturing translation was worth US$100.4 million. The firm estimates show that the European pharmaceutical translation sector was worth US$265.11 million in 2009, and there are more than 10,000 pharmaceutical manufacturing companies.


A new research report from Common Sense Advisory, “How Life Sciences Firms Buy Translation,” gives language services providers (LSPs) a detailed look at the market opportunities for translation and localization services in life sciences industries. The report, which is based on interviews with major buyers of translation and related services in the life sciences field, outlines the views of these buyers, describe what they look for in language service providers, and reviews current trends in the life sciences industry that affect the provision of medical translation and localization.


“According to our interviews, life sciences firms anticipate a fast-growing demand for translation, localization, and cultural customization in Asian languages, especially those languages spoken by large populations of potential consumers and clinical trial participants in India and China,” comments report analyst and Chief Research Officer Nataly Kelly.  “Multi-language vendors will need to expand their pools of translators and specialists in Asian languages to prepare for higher volumes from life sciences buyers in these languages,” she explains. “Asian-language specialists stand to benefit the most from this growth.”


Key research findings detailed in the report include:

-  Reliance on multiple translation and localization vendors is typical in life sciences, but centralized purchasing processes are not. Many large firms often have no idea how many suppliers they have across the organization.

-  Price is not the most important criterion for life sciences companies when they purchase translation and localization services.

-  Pharmaceutical and medical device companies report low levels of confidence in their translation vendors’ quality. They also often distrust certificates of accuracy and ISO certifications, relying more heavily on sample translations to assess quality.

-  Life sciences firms seek five major things from their translation vendors: technical expertise, willingness to collaborate, financial stability, adaptability, and a commitment to quality.


The report also contains multiple tools, charts, and takeaways, including:

-  A list of 72 commonly requested life sciences translation projects

-  Examples of supplier websites that successfully employ search engine optimization, targeted image selection, and messaging that showcases vertical and regional expertise

-  An assessment of differentiation strategies for marketing and selling translation and localization services in life sciences

-  Insight into the buyer’s mind – a detailed understanding of what they expect from translation providers and the challenges they face within their organization

-  An overview of the six key life sciences industry trends that are affecting the way translation services are provided

-  Listings of 96 unique languages with one million or more speakers in China and India


For more on the firm’s research, visit www.commonsenseadvisory.com.


About Common Sense Advisory

Common Sense Advisory, Inc. is an independent research and analysis firm specializing in the on- and offline operations driving business globalization, internationalization, localization, translation, and interpretation. Its research, consulting, and training help organizations improve the quality of their global business operations. For more information, visit: www.commonsenseadvisory.com or www.twitter.com/CSA_Research.

Submitted On: 1/7/2011

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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