Translations relating to life science sector are part of the core business of ASTW Specialised Translation. Translating these documents requires professionalism, knowledge and skills.

Our linguists have acquired the necessary experience over the years to be able to chart a course for all the professionals seeking to apply their skills to this specialised field. 

Today we will delve into the field of life sciences, analysing the use of CAT tools for translating these texts.

If you would like to learn more about CAT tools and computer-assisted translation, we recommend our video on machine translation post-editing.


In recent years, the field of life sciences has grown rapidly, including new fields of application and the increased development of new innovations, and not only technological. Although biology remains at the heart of the life sciences, technological advances in biotechnology and research in molecular biology have led to growth in interdisciplinary specialisations.

From medicine to biotechnology, from pharmaceuticals to biology, the life sciences include scientific fields whose studies focus on living organisms.

The production of documents and texts, as well as the field in general, is rapidly expanding, requiring an increasing number of specialised linguists.

These documents include, for example:

  • clinical and health protocols
  • clinical institution management procedures
  • medical books and manuals
  • user manuals for medical equipment and devices
  • chemical-pharmaceutical bulletins
  • documentation for regulatory agencies
  • clinical trial protocols
  • pharmaceutical information
  • scientific articles

The nature of these texts highlights how the translator’s skills cannot be exclusively linguistic. For example, at ASTW we require our translators and proofreaders to have documented experience in life science translations. This experience must have been acquired through educational qualifications (in medicine, biology, pharmacy, etc.) or a high level of preparation in translating this scientific field, with a minimum background of five years.


We’ve reached the heart of our discussion: the use of CAT tools in life science translations.

The advantages of computer-assisted translation are shared with other specialisations in which the ultimate goal of Machine Translation focuses on the machine’s adaptation to the translation context in order to facilitate the linguist’s task.

In detail, the various tools within CAT tools and complementary to them allow for greater inter- and intra-textual coherence and cohesion.

As we have seen, there are many interdisciplinary fields of application and specialisation within the life sciences. Every document in the field is composed of and characterised by ad hoc scientific language with time-tested regulatory requirements, syntax and terminology (despite the continuous introduction of new words).

Translation memories (TM) and termbases dedicated to a specific field or sub-field guarantee correct compliance with the scientific reference corpora. This allows the full understanding of texts and guides the linguists in their choices.

What’s more, the individual companies in the life sciences field are also characterised by the morphology and terminology used. These tools make it possible to comply with directives given by experts, companies or research institutes, implementing the specialisation and identification of individual customers.

Together with the continuous comparison of texts with others from the same discipline, QA checks allow to check and modify certain choices as and when necessary, further improving translation quality.

English translation and adaptation by Sarah Schneider