Translating The Future of Medicine

For life-science to keep moving forward, finding drugs for new and old conditions, and improving already existing treatments, clinical trials are carried out gathering patients and doctors from different countries and cultures.

Certain documents are thoroughly elaborated and then carefully translated into many different languages to guarantee the success of the trial. These files are approved and reviewed by a board that ensures the trial protocol, the suitability of the investigators, the facilities, the subjects, and the methods and materials to be used in research studies.

These files are essential to authorize a trial and ensure the quality of the data:

  • Protocols: These documents describe the objective, design, methodology, statistical considerations, and organization of a clinical trial. The protocol also provides the background and rationale for the investigation. It may serve as the basis of a contract and ensures the integrity of the data collected. When translating protocols, accuracy is of paramount importance as a slight deviation of a term can change the outcome of the whole research or even be responsible for its rejection.
  • Informed Consents: They inform what the trial entails (reasons, actions needed, expectations, side effects, etc.). Through informed consents (IC) the volunteers confirm they understand what is being done and they give their consent to participate in the research. Similarly to IC, Child Assents are for volunteers under 18 years old. Translation of these documents is particularly sensitive since these documents provide all the information relevant to ensure a person’s consent. The correct tone and vocabulary should be used according to the intended reader (patients). Although these documents are quite scientific, translators are usually required to level down the complexity of their terminology for the laypeople to understand what is being said.
  • Investigator Brochures: This type of document contributes to the comprehension of two main topics: the rationale and compliance of the protocol; and the possible risks and adverse effects. IB should provide clear and objective information in order to ensure that investigators and other people involved fully understand what the trial entails. Special attention to objectiveness should be put in IB translations. As experts in language, we are aware of the different aspects of meanings and intentions in each word. Thus, we choose the clearest and most unbiased terms when translating investigator brochures.
  • Pharmacy and Procedure Manuals: They detail pharmaceutical requirements and procedures for the investigation, such as storage conditions, sample collection, general precautions, among others. To translate these files a wide range of specialized highly technical terms should be used.

Also, these documents should always be up-to-date, i.e. any modification related to the clinical research has to be reflected immediately whether it is before, during, or after the trial. For this step, we help to carry out efficient and high-quality amendments.

Baquero Translations is aware of the importance and implications of life science texts. We have accompanied clinical trials through all their steps and developed material according to specific client preferences for the last 15 years.

By: Andrea Chetti

La Revolución de Mayo y la traducción

El pasado 25 de mayo, en Argentina, celebramos la revolución de 1810. Aquel histórico día estaba lloviendo a cántaros. Se trataba de una lluvia con olor a soberanía, precursora de una futura independencia.

No puedo dejar pasar por alto un hecho interesante en esta parte de la historia argentina desde el punto de vista de la traducción.

Uno de los excepcionales revolucionarios y participantes clave fue Mariano Moreno. Sus pensamientos e ideas influyeron en gran parte en la Revolución de Mayo. Moreno era un racionalista, es decir estaba convencido de que la razón era la mejor forma de gobernar. En consecuencia, se puede decir que consideraba irracional estar bajo el poder de un Virrey que no representaba al pueblo ni tenía mucho poder. Además del poder ejecutivo que tenía en mente principalmente junto con Castelli y Belgrano, su objetivo era integrarse a la modernidad de la época: comerciar con Gran Bretaña y seguir el ejemplo cultural de Francia.

Me atrevo a decir que este pensamiento vanguardista en esa época se debe en parte a que Moreno fue, informalmente, traductor. Primero, tuvo que traducir para su uso personal. En la universidad, aprendió francés para poder leer grandes obras literarias, especialmente aquellas que provenían del pensamiento del iluminismo, es decir de los racionalistas. Es aquí donde descubre a Rousseau, y particularmente “El contrato social”. Quedó maravillado por el estilo de este autor y sus ideas de igualdad y libertad. Tanto que, luego de fundar la Gazeta de Buenos Aires (sic.), tradujo “El contrato social” al español y publicó la traducción.

Una vez más, vemos la importancia de poder leer ideas de otras culturas y de que dichos textos estén al alcance de todos para el progreso de la patria. Por: Andrea Chetti.

Documents and Nuances of Translating for Healthcare

The healthcare industry needs to take their message around the world and they have different documents with different characteristics and nuances from the translation point of view.

So nothing is more important than a smooth and clear communication between providers and patients.

Healthcare documents vary widely in content, purpose, length and several other aspects, but any seasoned healthcare translator will agree that the following are the ones that make the most regular appearances in their daily translation workflow:

  • Pamphlets and flyers: Pamphlets and flyers are intended to engage patients into taking certain actions and are, thus, marketing-oriented. The information included is usually highlights of prevention measures, health tips, patient benefits, and even travel safety briefings. Though this material may look simple, translators must translate out of the box, bringing out their inner advertisers and even becoming creative writers to be as appealing as the original text and adjust play on words or rhymes to the new culture.
  • Health plan letters: These much more down to business type of documents are generally sent to members to inform about decisions/actions taken by their health plan regarding complaint investigations, appeal resolutions, coverage determinations, authorizations, denials, and so on. An eye for detail comes in very handy, as special attention must be paid to what the letter is informing: Was the service approved? Was the copay waived? Does the member have further appeal options? What type of language should be used for the addressee to understand it clearly?
  • Patient brochures: These brochures usually accompany medications and they contain prescribing information, administration guides, important safety information, common side effects, and so forth. The challenge of these documents is usually the specific and highly technical terminology, which not only demands accurateness and precision but also field-specific knowledge, as even minor mistakes in the wording of the translation can have very serious consequences for patients and/or medicine manufacturers.
  • Health Plan Documents: The United States of America has a Language Assistance Act requiring Health Plans to make their material available in different languages. Every year, Health Insurers renew their Summary of Benefits, Evidence of Coverage, Annual Notice of Changes, etc. These documents are particularly sensitive since they usually explain benefits, copays, coverage, etc. and a minor mistake can lead to serious problems in a patient’s coverage.

These are just a few examples of the most common types of healthcare documents that we handle on a daily basis. At Baquero Translations, we know the field inside out because we’ve been working on it for more than 15 years. We have the perfect team of Linguists, Project Managers, and QAers to take care of any healthcare project you might need help with.

By Andrea Chetti and Diego Mengo

Getting the message of COVID-19 across


The way in which information is transmitted can have a great impact on society, economy, and politics.

In times of a pandemic disease like COVID-19, the media is flooded with information coming in from different sources and places, and in different languages. How this sensitive information is translated can lead to panic, social stigma or health issues.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is also conscious about the effects of communication for preparedness and response to the coronavirus disease. So much so that they provide a great variety of material on this matter, from a general communication guide to specific workplace communication guides. (

The virus is an “enemy” that does not come alone, its two henchmen are fear and discrimination.

Fear is as contagious as the virus, it only takes one word to topple the tile and see the domino effect. A clear example is the shortage of toilet paper in some countries. People understood a strict quarantine was going to be implemented leading to a huge demand for toilet paper.

A pandemic disease can also cause social stigma and discriminatory behavior against people who are perceived to be related to the disease. The terms chosen to describe the outbreak, its origins, and prevention measures can reinforce or reduce the stigma. The WHO advises using “acquiring” or “contract” instead of “infect” or “transmit” because this second group of terms implies blame. The socially stigmatized may hide their symptoms and avoid seeking health care immediately.

Then, we have the virus itself. Precision is essential in translating health content related to COVID-19. Any irregularity can destroy a whole country’s prevention and response plan. Let’s take for example a pamphlet that says “People with fever, cough and difficulty breathing should seek medical attention”. If this sentence were translated into Spanish as Las personas que tengan fiebre, tos o dificultad para respirar deben buscar atención médica (People with fever, cough or difficulty breathing should seek medical attention), healthcare facilities would be packed with false and actual COVID-19 cases, resulting in the overwhelming of the health system. Precise information allows people to act wisely.

As the WHO says “People have the right to be informed about and understand the health risks that they and their loved ones face”. As translators we can do their part in this world crisis by translating life-saving information accurately. For the first time in many years, we are all in this together.