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  • Writer's pictureAna Sofia Correia & Ana Catarina Lopes

What do medical and marketing translation have in common?

Updated: Oct 20, 2021

Since they require a unique set of skills and qualifications, Life Sciences and Marketing are among the most challenging specialisms in translation.

What do medical and marketing translation have in common?

Marketing translation requires cultural insight and creativity rather than specific terminology. Marketing translators must be familiar with social movements and trends.

Medical translation demands precision and up-to-date terminology knowledge. There is no room for creativity. Medical translators must possess full understanding of regulations.

Although marketing and medical translation follow what seem to be opposite principles, they share many traits.

Here five things that medical and marketing translation have in common:

1. Target audience

Marketing translators must understand the target language culture and know exactly who their target audience is – demographics, interests, cultural background, expectations…

The same applies to medical translators. How a text is translated depends on whether it is aimed at healthcare professionals or patients (and whether patients are adults or children).

Style and tone are key aspects in both marketing and life sciences.

2. Language

When translating medical and marketing content, there is really no one-size-fits-all solution regarding language. When it comes to enter the market, no matter if you’re introducing a medical device or a commercial service and product – you have to speak the target country’s language.

Whether it is to ensure regulatory compliance or increase sales, you can’t go for a “global language” just because that language is the official language of several countries. Portuguese, French and Spanish are examples of that – same language, different variants (each with their own culture and terminology).

3. Attention to details

Both medical and marketing translators must be highly detail-oriented.

In life sciences, translation mistakes may cost people’s lives or compromise authorizations; in marketing, errors can make the best-planned campaign fail or put company’s brand and reputation at risk.

4. Time

Quality translation cannot be rushed. Medical translators must produce texts that are scientifically accurate and regulatory compliant. Marketing translators have to take time to consider all the ambiguities and nuances of the original copy.

5. Responsibility

In Life Sciences, translators deal with scientific data and terminology that do not allow for inconsistencies, whereas in marketing, translators have to make sure that a brand’s voice and value are retained in the translated copy – even if it means a deviation from the original tagline, copy and even image.

Both medical and marketing translation need careful consideration to ensure that the project is a success. It is vital to work with professional linguists who specialize in these fields and are native speakers of the target language.


Ana Sofia is an English to Portuguese medical translator and writer working with Life Sciences companies, Contract Research Organizations, and Medical Communication agencies. She has experience translating and writing content for clinical trials, medical devices, regulatory submissions, education and marketing campaigns, and scientific publications.

Ana Catarina is an English to Portuguese translator specialized in Healthcare and Marketing. She helps foreign companies to launch their brand and products in the Portuguese market by translating, localizing and transcreating their client-targeted contents to make them appealing to the Portuguese public.


Med & Mark - A blog about medical and marketing translation
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