Nuance, culturally specific idioms, and unique terminology are part of any language, but in an industry where mistranslations could endanger human life, how does back translation ensure high-quality translation of patient diaries? In healthcare, patient diaries are tools used to document a patient’s compliance to treatment protocols, experiences during a clinical trial, and potential symptoms, meaning patient’s may need to self-records their own data in their native language. In order to validate and ensure a high-quality medical translation of patient diaries, back translation is a necessary quality assurance solution that assures the patient can document their clinical experience, regardless of their linguistic or cultural background.

High Quality and Accurate Translations: Back Translations Explained

Back translation, sometimes called reverse translation, is a localization solution used to validate the accuracy of a translation by re-translating a document from the target language to the source language. During this process, a project manager will work to generate a Reconciliation Report which highlights any inconsistencies between the two translations and streamlines the editing process. Though back translation can generally be employed to ensure an accurate translation across a wide range of sensitive content, it is often used in heavily regulated industries like the medical field for content such as:

  • Clinical Trial Protocols
  • Patient Diaries
  • COA Questionnaires
  • Patient Progress Notes
  • Informed Consent Forms (ICFs)
  • Medication Labels & Packaging

For medical documents and patient-facing materials, back translation is an important tool that language services providers (LSPs) can use to “double-check’ the original translation and ensure it is best-suited for target audiences and patients. Moreover, documents used to capture self-reported patient data, such as questionaries and diaries used in clinical trials, are among the highest in demand for back translation, as they must be culturally appropriate, linguistically and clinically accurate, and used in high-risk situations where quality assurance is an essential step in translation.

Why Back Translation is Necessary for Patient Diary Translations

In the medical industry, there are a number of reasons why effective quality assurance solutions are necessary for translations, with the most obvious being that inaccurate translations can endanger one’s life. But beyond ensuring the safety of patients, medical companies must also consider that back translation as part of the quality assurance process may be required by IRBs and Ethics Committees in different markets. With strict guidelines in place for translations of diaries and questionaries, regulators can make informed decisions and approvals based upon a patient’s documented experience when receiving a medication or therapy during a clinical trial. Lastly, while linguistic errors and ambiguities can be part of any translation, an effective localization solution like back translation will help to resolve potential problems issues early on, which can save companies time and money while bringing products to market. Mitigating potential delays in the clinical process due to cultural or linguistic differences should be an important consideration for any company working in overseas medical markets and partnering with a trusted LSP like CSOFT Health Sciences who can guarantee quality assurance is necessary for successfully bringing products to market. Visit to learn more about our back translation for patient diaries.