On 14 February medical language service GmbH celebrates its 15th birthday – in this interview managing director, Anne Schalk, looks back over the years and sketches out an all-round profile of the company.

medical language service has already existed for 15 years, that’s a long time – what is the key to the company’s success?

You are asking about medical language service’s strengths. Our transparency is definitely one of them – you won’t find any hidden costs with us. We communicate clearly, establish a good basis for trust and are soon able to work closely with our clients. Our clients feel that they are in good hands with us. When you send us your “package”, you know that we will take care of everything necessary and handle it all reliably – from the definition of the project specifications through the translation and revision all the way to multi-lingual DTP. We are specialists in everything to do with medical texts. And, in the end, it’s also the chemistry that exists between us and our clients – which is perhaps not so easy to put into words …

Without clients, staff and translators, a translation agency simply cannot exist. Who is medical language service’s typical customer?

Quite so. Our translation agency specializes in the areas of medicine, pharmacy and medical technology. Our clients are both small-to-medium and very large medical and pharmaceutical companies. We know many of our clients personally from on-site customer visits or, simply, from our many contacts by email and telephone. Some of our clients have been with us since medical language service was founded and their loyalty is actually one of the most important reasons for our anniversary celebrations; as it shows their complete satisfaction with our service.

Who translates for medical language service?

We work with a wide, even global pool of specialist and qualified technical translators. They include doctors, biologists, pharmacists … This means we always have just the right specialist for every text that needs translation. We also maintain close personal, respectful and trusting relationships with our translators – whether it’s with a Christmas greeting, sending a “Get Well Soon” card if someone’s broken a leg, or our congratulations on a wedding. By keeping in regular touch and conducting continuous assessments of the translation results, we get to know our translators’ strengths.

Who are your members of staff?

They are my second family in my everyday professional life. (laughs) We are a strong little team and we complement each other perfectly. All our project managers are themselves translators or have an academic linguistic background. Arabic, Bulgarian, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Portuguese … all of these languages are already well represented within the company, which means that the project managers are very well equipped for the in-house quality assurance of our translations. What’s more, we have in-depth knowledge of our industry and many years of experience; whether it’s translation-related processes and specifications in the area of regulatory affairs for the guideline-compliant translation of package inserts and summaries of product characteristics; or in matters of translation technologies and desktop publishing. Our project managers can thus make the best estimate for every project scenario and give our clients good advice.

Have you ever had any cases where you couldn’t fulfill your customer’s expectations and, if so, how did you deal with it?

Well, that’s an interesting question for an interview! Quite clearly: we are service providers and you are always going to assess the value of a service subjectively, especially as most clients are themselves not fluent in the source and/or target languages of the texts. This is where trust plays a big role. At the same time, client queries are thus all the more justified and we always welcome them. We check, explain and take criticism seriously, as, after all, we work with people. We continue to grow through feedback from our clients and we adapt our client-specific solutions. It is precisely through this exchange that we come to understand, for example, which of our regular translators or which process is the most suitable for a particular client. The constant monitoring and optimization of our processes and quality also complies with the Quality Management Standard ISO 9001, in accordance with which we are certified.

What distinguishes medical language service from other language and translation service providers?

We are a certified translation agency. We are personal, competent and professional, not to mention fast and reliable. That’s a magic formula. It’s just like with chemistry, which you simply have to have experienced and felt for yourself.

Thank you for talking to us Anne and for giving us so many insights into your company – we’re now eagerly looking forward to medical language service’s next successful company anniversary!

By M.A. Alessia Rabasca
Project management – medical language service