Technical interpretation for the GIRP medical supply chain

A major multilingual conference and technical pharmaceutical jargon. A simultaneous interpretation service by Cultures Connection provided the solution.

Cultures Connection took part in the fourth Supply Chain Conference event in Cannes, organised by the European Healthcare Distribution Association (GIRP, its French acronym), aimed at bringing transformative ideas to pharmaceutical distribution. Held by the coast, with a specialised international audience, Cultures Connection provided a simultaneous English-Chinese interpretation service for new technical solutions for the management of transport of products, notably those that are temperature sensitive.

The Association’s conferences on the health product supply chain are already an essential event for the sector. It started off in 2016 as a forum for collaboration, partnership and exchange between the national associations of over 750 pharmaceutical wholesalers from 33 European countries, and the main international and pan-European distribution companies that make up the organisation. Today it has consolidated into an important meeting point, with talks, workshops and training, seeking focused on the development and provision of innovative and effective medical care products and services for improving the well-being of patients throughout Europe.

On the 28th and 29th of March, expert speakers in pharmaceutical equipment and healthcare discussed the main issues of the sector with over 100 health care executives, distributors, manufacturers, supply chain experts and best practice inspectors from around the world, meeting at the Hôtel Barrière Le Gray d’Albion.

The medical field is our specialty

Interpreting medical content is much like carrying out surgery on a speech. Each specialty requires a specially prepared interpreter, with each technical expression requiring precise knowledge of the working field. Not understanding the jargon or a particular field automatically leads to problems in understanding the messages that a speaker wishes to convey.

The particularity of the healthcare product distribution sector is that it does not solely refer to concepts covering a broad range of medical specialties. It also covers complex languages about sectors such as logistics, technology, chemistry and business, which have to be thoroughly understood.

Junling, one of the two interpreters who took part in the interpretation service explains that in order to accurately convey the speakers’ messages, she did a great deal of advance preparation work, so as to fully understand the topics: “I had to do a lot of preparation work, familiarising myself beforehand with materials and creating a list of terms for each specific conference.”

“The speakers have different accents, which we had to fully grasp and do our best to understand them based on the context. Accents and pace of speech can be a challenge, you have to understand the logic of what’s being said, and summarise the speaker’s intended message,” says Junling, trained in business translation and interpretation at the University of Surrey.

At the conference in Cannes, production and pharmaceutical distribution companies spoke about how attention is increasingly being personalised to patients, with particular needs and treatments, making a reformulation of the transport of medicines necessary in order to maintain an effective and profitable service.

They delved into the complexities of the logistics of products that require a cold chain, the impact of constant technological evolution on all stages of the distribution process, and good practices among the participating actors.

There was also an interesting debate on Brexit and its possible political and economic consequences on the distribution of medicines in the United Kingdom. Inspection authorities in Spain, Belgium, Ireland and Austria discussed the guide for good practices for the distribution process and gave their points of view. Specialists also discussed how Blockchain could be transformed into a secure and efficient database network for the supply sector.

As usual for this type of conference services, the Cultures Connection interpreters worked in a soundproof booth in the exhibition hall, listening to the speeches through headphones, and interpreting them in real time to an audience listening in via receivers. “We worked in the booth with a shared interpreter console, audio equipment and a screen for two consecutive days. Everything was provided by the client,” says Junling.

This is the type of interpretation most frequently used for conferences and large-scale exhibitions, as the time savings are very significant. Thus, over the two days in Cannes, the hundreds of attendees were able to get an accurate and clear overview of the main trends in the pharmaceutical supply chain.

Translation into English: Joseph Hodgson

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