Pros & Cons Of AI And Machine Learning In Medical & Life Science Translation

Pros & Cons Of AI And Machine Learning

In Medical & Life Science Translation

Pharmaceutical and life sciences companies increasingly require accurate and timely multilingual content for the development of drugs or medical devices in order to respond to rapidly growing international patient needs. This is why many of them are looking for professional language services providers who can provide specialised medical translation services and life science translation services.

In this article, we will cover the pros and cons of using artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in medical and life sciences translation to help you make a more informed choice.

Pros & Cons Of AI And Machine Learning In Medical & Life Science Translation


1. Efficiency and speed

The introduction of AI and machine learning has significantly improved turnaround time for pharmaceutical, medical, life sciences and healthcare companies requiring medical translation services and life science translation services. With AI and machine translation tools, companies stand to become more efficient and scale, enabling it to go-to-market quickly and capture new international opportunities.

Efficiency and speed

2. Real-time translation

AI and machine learning translation can be done in real-time, which can be useful for busy medical and life sciences professionals on-the-go. These capabilities have been built into voice recognition apps that support speech-to-speech translation, which enables medical professionals to communicate with native-speaking patients on the spot.

Real-time translation

3. Combines with ‘thinking’ capabilities

Medical and life sciences professionals who use AI and machine learning in pharmaceutical and life sciences translation may benefit from additional ‘thinking’ capabilities. For instance, as it translates, the computer will be able to replicate repetitive manual, cognitive tasks, find statistical patterns and explain why the data is different. This means the computer can not only translate complex data, but also alert what it sees

Combines with ‘thinking’ capabilities


1. Grammar challenges

Despite the above advantages, AI and machine learning translation is not quite there yet as compared to experienced human translators. In a recent experiment, machine translation tools were pitted against a team of professionals in translating texts from Korean to English and vice versa. Unfortunately, 90% of the texts translated by the machine had grammar errors, which will not be as good as that done by a native translator.

Grammar challenges

2. Text expansion

Translation is an art that takes into account not just grammar accuracy but text space. Machine translation tools will not allow for easy accommodation of text expansion, especially when translated texts have to be contained in a limited amount of space. For instance, if the translated texts have to go on a small device label, you may have to design and create an entirely different label in order to accommodate longer words and sentences. This is something that a human translator will be able to take into account in the translation process, hence it is best to engage a specialist language services provider with professional life sciences translation services and medical translation services.

Text expansion

3. Nuances and selection of words

While words can be readily and correctly translated by machine translation, AI and machine translation tools will not be able to capture the nuance and context of texts in totality. This is because in translation, there are numerous permutations and options for each word. The selection of these words and the subtle yet critical interpretation hold the key to quality translation. By virtue of how critical and subjective clinical and medical translation can be, AI and machine learning translation tools are not at a point where they can replace manual translation.

Nuances and selection of words

Engage a Quality Language Services Partner

In language, there are always unexpected nuances and intricacies. To achieve both quality and speed of delivery, language services providers such as elionetwork have intelligent AI and machine translation tools at their fingertips to speed up their life sciences translation services and medical translation services rather than translating from scratch.

At elionetwork, we localise and adapt your brand or marketing messages to local cultures while keeping tabs on the linguistic, cultural and technical differences. While we may use machine tools to speed up the process for clients requiring medical translation services and life science translation services, it is the human translator who will edit it carefully and touch up before the translated piece goes out. This is because we are aware that marketing is about drawing customers to your brand, and directly translating marketing copy using AI will be half as effective most of the time.

Our language experts will adapt automated translation suggestions to their style and voice and keep details consistent such as number formats and non-translatables. AI and machine translation tools also support by recognising repeated terminologies and providing predictive text completion. Such repetitive tasks usually take up to 30% of our translators’ time, which they could otherwise spend on ensuring overall high-quality output.

elionetwork has completed several translation and localisation projects for businesses in various industries. We provide and coordinate our translation services among a network of expert linguists across Asian, European and African markets. For medical translation services, life sciences translation services or other language solutions, please contact us and we look forward to hearing from you.