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For Sponsors with Global Trials, Online Translation Is a Must

Darcy Grabenstein

August 28, 2019

To many patients and caregivers, searching for clinical trials is a painstaking process. On top of that, medicalese is like a foreign language to them. Why make the process even more complicated by failing to translate your clinical trial information?

This is particularly important for online communications. Statistics show that 80% of consumers use the internet to search for healthcare information online. And 45% of trial seekers start their search online.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, nine out of 10 internet users said that, when given a choice of languages, they always visited a website in their own language. Nearly one in five Europeans (19 percent) said they never browse in a language other than their own.

English is spoken by 1.7 billion people around the world. But statistics show that only 4.73 percent of the world’s total population of the world’s population are native speakers of this “universal language.” If you conduct global clinical trials and your online information is in English only, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to promote your studies.

“Clinical trials have always had a global footprint; however, pharma companies are only recently taking a patient-centric approach due to increased competition and an increase of specialized drugs in development,” said Jessica Johns, Director Business Development at TransPerfect. “This has expanded the need for localization and translation of patient support materials such as mobile applications, websites, videos, etc. as companies look to engage and retain patients. Over half of all clinical trials are conducted outside the US1 so beyond regulations, companies are starting to recognize the value of having in-language assets readily available to low-English-proficient populations.”

You don’t have to conduct global studies to reap the benefits of language translations. Sponsors have been called on the carpet for a lack of diversity in clinical trials. For many people in underserved communities and minority groups in the U.S., English may be a second language or not spoken at all. By translating your clinical trial content, you can effectively reach these groups.

Finding clinical trial listings online is the first step for patients and caregivers. Enabling them to find clinical trial details they can understand, however, is crucial for successful study recruitment.

That’s why localization — the translation of an app or website into another language — is so important. In fact, local language translations not only drive more traffic to your site, but more qualified traffic.

Dig Into Website Data to Set Language Priorities

Determining which translations you should have available for your website is more than a guessing game. There’s real science behind the scenes, in the form of free Google analytics data. This data, derived from the site visitor’s browser language settings, is applicable to any type of clinical trial website, from a TrialScope Engage-powered trial finder site to your organization’s corporate site.

First, consider the countries where you are conducting the most trials. Next, look at your website analytics to can see if the website traffic correlates to that, or if your site generates more traffic from other languages/countries.

The image below shows data for the top 10 languages of three different websites based on visitor language preferences. In the first two tables, English is the predominant language (both U.S. and British). In the third table, American English is the No. 1 language, followed by German. Here’s a handy guide for deciphering Google’s language codes.

Whatever the language, study summaries help increase both study retention and participation. Participants who know they will receive results are more likely to stay engaged throughout the course of the trial. They also will more readily promote your organization, its studies and its treatments via word of mouth – in their preferred language. Your brand will be perceived in a more favorable light as a result.

With local language translations, you can ensure your clinical trial results summaries won’t be a virtual Tower of Babel. And you’ll help boost clinical trial recruitment as well.

Learn more about, our trial summaries results portal offered in 10 different languages, with more to come.


About the author

Darcy Grabenstein is Senior Manager of Content Marketing Strategy at TrialScope. With a background in journalism and public relations, she has 30-plus years of experience in communications.