Case study: Translation services for clinical trials

Executive Summary

Our client provides software development, consulting, and training for medical and life sciences research. They came to Scriptis requesting translation services for clinical trials. Specifically, training modules for a pharmaceutical trial required translation from English into Japanese. The purpose of the clinical trial was to document whether a specific treatment effected changes in skin inflammation. The materials trained clinicians on the identification and measurement of specific types of inflammation.

The Challenge

The source materials included Power Point presentations and four online training and Qualtrics testing modules. Thanks to smooth export-import of content with Qualtrics, the project required minimal localization engineering. However, the main challenge presented by the project was the highly specialized content. We needed an English into Japanese translation team with subject matter expertise in dermatology. In addition, the workflow included a review by the training team in Japan.


Translating the text, preserving the code

We met the challenge as we always do: with careful preparation and communication with the client.  First, we developed a term base by extracting all English terms specific to the field of dermatology. Then, instead of starting with our translation team, we provided the list of terms to the client’s Japanese partners for translation. In doing so, we involved the client’s review team at the start.

After working with the client to develop a bilingual glossary, our linguistic team moved forward with translation. We exported the content from the Qualtrics online survey platform and loaded it into the computer-assisted translation (CAT) tool used by the translators. We also loaded the term base to ensure terms were used consistency across all content and cross-reference during our QA step. Our Japanese desktop publishing partner reformatted the slides to incorporate any design changes required by the switch from Latin letters into Japanese text.

At that point, we returned the translated content to the client’s internal reviewers. As a final step, our Japanese linguists tested the training and testing modules to ensure that they were functional and complete. After that step, we finalized and delivered the translated content.


Scriptis delivered the project on time and on budget. The client was especially pleased with the seamlessness of execution, despite the project’s many moving parts. Our success with this project demonstrates the importance of working closely with clients to ensure the success of a technical translation project in a highly specialized field.