One wonders how often some need to relearn the unimpeachable fact that accurate, professional-quality translation is critical not only to effective communication, but in some cases even to one’s very health.
A recent study published in the Journal of Operations Management underscores once more this fact and what is put at risk when short shrift is given to translation. The investigation sought to answer a fundamental question: Does offshore production of pharmaceuticals pose a heightened quality risk compared to drugs produced in the U.S.? And if so, what are the factors at the root of the increased risk?
The study compared the relative safety of those drugs manufactured in a sample of 30 pairs of regulated drug manufacturing plants in the U.S. mainland and Puerto Rico matched by parent firm and by product standard industrial code.
Sadly, the results are not encouraging. The authors discovered that the Puerto Rican plants operate with a “significantly higher quality risk” than matching plants in the mainland U.S. operated by the same firm.
It will come as little surprise to medical translators that language plays a key role in this breakdown in quality. As the study’s lead author points out, “We believe the quality differences we found in Puerto Rican plants were driven by challenges in transferring knowledge from headquarters to the plant, due to cultural differences, primarily differences in language and values.”
Till next time,