Yulia Aspinall Biopharma: Translation Tools Come of Age
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By Yulia Aspinall


Getting current information from a wide range of sources is essential to the biotech and pharma industry. Yulia Aspinall explores how industry professionals can use specialist and built-in translation tools to help them to tap into a wider range of resources. She highlights services and tools including InfoNgen, Lexis Diligence, Worldcrunch, Linguee and Systransoft.


The biopharmaceutical industry is a dynamic sector, driven by knowledge and information.

Readers from the biotech and pharmaceutical area will find this analysis of recent FreePint articles highlights articles of interest, perhaps from surprising areas:

Companies will invest a lot of time and money in order to receive up-to-date strategic information.

In today’s Global Village environment, the source information may often be in a different language to that of the end user.

For this reason, instant online translation tools, together with translation software and certified agencies providing quality translation services, are increasingly in demand.

Worldwide Information in Local Language

There are several FreePint articles dedicated to this topic.

One recent article, Lost in Translation - Online Tools for Foreign Language Research, discusses the changing situation:

  • The globalisation of information via the internet
  • The English language rapidly losing ground as the predominant online language, due to the growth of Chinese, Japanese and Spanish content.  

Translation Quality is Key

The social media site Facebook recently acquired a translation tool, and several search engines such as Bing and Google have reasonably well developed – although not perfect by any means - software.

However, researchers may also consider more specialist tools such as Linguee, Systransoft and 2lingual which will offer better translation results.

Two relatively new translation services which focus on quality are Worldcrunch and Ackuna:

  • Worldcrunch translates into English and edits content from "top foreign-language outlets" such as leading French and German newspapers and international sources
  • Ackuna lets users submit text to a community of translators covering a wide range of languages who crowdsource the translation in languages from Afrikaans to Yoruba.

Embedded Translation Options

Some online resources already have embedded translation tools:

  • The InfoNgen platform, for example, monitors over 70,000 reliable internet sources, including non-English. The system can apply tags in eight languages and translate stories into English.
  • Lexis Diligence (see FreePint's Mini Review: Lexis Diligence) focuses on its international audience and offers global content in a variety of languages. Indeed, there are 17 languages to choose from for news content, and the interface language itself can also be changed.
  • Meanwhile, the Google translation tool is embedded in Lexis, Factiva and other news aggregators.

Specialist Translation Software

There are multiple software companies offering translation services, such as LEC, for example, which describes itself as “an industry leader in high performance translation software and services”.

LEC offers instant translation of documents, webpages, etc from 21 languages but, as with other similar software, may not always provide a perfect translation, especially for technical areas.

Tap into Unexplored Areas

There are more language tools available and although companies may still need to hire a professional translator, these tools should at least give a basic understanding of information presented in different languages.

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