As in all aspects of modern life, the world of medical research has become extremely fast paced. In response to ever increasing demand, the pressure to deliver accurate results in a speedy, accessible way has never been so great. This is especially true for pharmaceutical research with preferred methodologies switching in recent years towards new evidence-driven drug discoveries. In this new “high stakes” race against the clock to ensure the safety and efficacy of drug candidates for potential therapeutic uses, there is a crucial need for interdisciplinary collaboration, advanced technologies and a more streamlined approach focused on making new and effective treatments available to patients as quickly as possible.

Contract Research Organisations (CROs)

Contract research organisations (CROs) offer an unrivalled ability to work to high standards, through the dedicated use of technologies with an organisational structure geared towards completing contracted projects time and again. CROs have experienced an industry boom in recent years as global demand has skyrocketed, underpinning the need for effective cooperation between CROs and their translation service provider.

The Need For Translation

Across all sectors and in all disciplines, the need for reliable, flawless translations is clear due to the spread of globalisation and the implementation of international regulations. It is more important than ever before to ensure that products adhere to strict guidelines or risk such oversights resulting in failure to launch. Cross-border communication is paramount in maintaining the speed of progress, as well as the reliability of results, not to mention allowing therapies to reach markets and patients across regional boundaries at the same time.

A Symbiotic Relationship: CROs and Medical Translation Agencies

With an increasing number of clinical trials being outsourced every year, and a trend towards predominantly outsourced clinical trials in the future, it’s evident that CROs are bringing value to the pharmaceutical research process. The distinct advantages of using CROs to perform important research are related in large part to their ability to see the bigger picture with vast experience in the relevant field. CROs are in the unique position of being able to identify potential pitfalls and challenges to accurate data collection and can adapt protocols and screen investigators so as to achieve continuous improvements in efficiency and time management.

Specialised Translators

Likewise, in working toward project goals, CROs emphasise the need  for specialised pharmaceutical translation providers to properly meet deadlines, whilst ensuring the highest quality. It’s vital to the success of each project that the right translation service provider is chosen for the job. It would be a slip-up to only consider budget when assessing a translation partner. Ensuring the availability of suitably specialised translation experts in the relevant field should guard against potential issues during the project. Only linguists capable of thinking on their feet, problem solving and facing any challenges with confidence and with the requisite knowledge will be able to overcome the challenges.

Clear Responsibilities

In addition to sourcing the most qualified translation specialists, having shared goals and structured plans and objectives are invaluable tool in promoting the smooth progression of any interdisciplinary workload. Only with a clear division of labour and well-defined responsibilities can each team member be utilised to their full potential whilst avoiding any unnecessary confusion, hold-ups or, needless duplication of work.

Aligned Goals

Having clear procedures in place to deal with any problems as they arise, as well as performance indicators and goals for each department/team will help to create a co-operative inter-company working environment. A concise understanding and mutual alignment of project budget, protocols and criteria should be set out between companies and teams from the outset. Responsibilities in terms of problem management should be clearly defined, establishing key performance indicators and deliverables for each party. Good communication can prevent a lot of problems and help to produce the best possible solutions when issues do arise.

With clear division of responsibility, many different disciplines may work efficiently, although it’s always important to note that, some flexibility is needed to adapt to the individual needs of others on a team, while the project itself will also help to foster a positive outcome, as well as, good team relations.

After all, projects are less likely to succeed without adequate project management from conception through to completion. Project management involves proper risk assessment, project overviews, planning, job allocation, management, communication across teams and overseeing of deadlines and ensuring that quality control measures are in place.


All of these important measures will help to create a truly symbiotic relationship between the CRO and their translation service provider. Even the best laid plans, however, require dedication and consummate professionalism from all involved. Efficient teamwork is essential to achieving these goals; with so many disciplines at work, from drug manufacturers, clinicians, research analysts, technicians, to project managers, translation professionals and end clients, effective communication is the key to success.

If you’d like to know more about contract research organisations and their role in medical translation, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.