The Basics of Biotechnology Translation

Biotechnology includes everything from a patient’s medical records to pharmaceutical research and even agricultural topics like GMOs and biofuels. Overall, biotechnology is one of the most challenging fields to accurately translate.

Find out more about why translation in biotechnology is so difficult and how SYSTRAN has made it possible for any sized business to get fast and accurate biotechnology translations, at a fraction of the cost when compared to translation rates per word offered by agencies.

What Makes Biotechnology Translation Difficult?

Biotechnology is one of the hardest topics to translate for two reasons—the subject matter and the strict need for accuracy.

Subject Matter

Translators are limited by their knowledge, which creates a problem when translating biotechnology documents.

Biotechnology carries with it additional problems because of specializations that are part of it. Each specialization comes with a unique vocabulary which requires a translator with experience within that specialization. This can become a problem because a translator specializing in pharmaceutical research does not have the experience or knowledge needed to translate for other biotechnology fields.

For example, a cardiovascular surgeon reporting about an ascending aortic aneurysm or a paroxysmal atrial tachycardia uses different terminologies than in agricultural research, where translators would have to understand terms like gravitational water or horizontal integration.

The first difficulty in biotechnology translation is the cost of entry for translators. Not only does a translator have to be fluent in two languages, but they must also have an advanced level of experience with the technical vocabulary of biotechnology in both languages.


The next difficulty with biotechnology translation is the extreme accuracy required. When dealing with conversational translations, it’s acceptable for a translator to get the general idea of what was said and get close enough so that the message is understood.

For example, it’s perfectly okay to translate a greeting from one language to another and have slight variations in it. “Hello, how are you doing?” is close enough to “Hi, how’s your day?” that in casual translations it’s acceptable.

With biotechnology, most communication is done in the fine details. Leaving even the smallest element out can lead to a wrong translation. Each word matters when it comes to something as impactful as pharmaceutical research or a patient’s medical diagnosis. Biotechnology translators are tasked with having extremely accurate translations and omitting nothing. This adds an extra layer of complexity to the translation process, making translating even more complicated.

SYSTRAN Makes Biotechnology Translation Simple and Accurate

SYSTRAN makes it easy to access quick and accurate translations, even in the most technically complex topics. We use AI-powered neural machine translation, making it the most advanced machine translation software on the market.

Most available translation software is based on statistical and rule-based translations. While this can create decent translations, it falls short when dealing with the advanced technical vocabulary involved in biotechnology.

SYSTRAN’s neural machine translation engine leverages technology like image recognition, big data analysis, and digital assistants to create an adaptive translation program that becomes a self-learning translation machine. During a training phase of only a few weeks, the neural network begins to automatically correct its parameters with complex algorithms used in deep learning and can produce a translation better than any other translation software on the market.

SYSTRAN, partnered with other industry leaders like TAUS and Pfizer, has been a key figure in offering COVID-19 translation models. The partnership helps share accurate and unbiased information about the global pandemic in a wide range of languages.

Learn What SYSTRAN Can Do for You

SYSTRAN has over 50 years of industry experience in translation. We provide fully customizable options to help your organization reach your translation needs with both cloud and on-premise solutions.

Contact us today to find out how SYSTRAN can make translating complex biotechnology topics simple and straightforward.

Jennifer Kelley