New EU language Regulations for Pharmaceutical and Medical Device manufacturers

Latest EU regulations demand that all packaging and instruction leaflets for pharmaceutical products and medical devices are translated into the official language of the country they are being exported to.

American companies in this sector who intend to export their products to Europe must comply with these regulations, and indeed should embrace multilingual packaging in order to compete with their European counterparts.

The European Union has 22 official languages across its member states, so US pharmaceutical/medical companies would be advised to research their target markets carefully before committing to a costly overhaul of their packaging and instruction literature. A low-cost and low-risk method of doing this is to localise pages of key information on their website, and promote these pages in the countries they wish to target – the resulting traffic can then be measured, and a longer term strategy devised.

There are of course European languages that cover several countries, so it makes sense to start with these and then expand into other languages for markets that could become lucrative options. A good starting point for testing European markets would be to localise a website or certain pages  into French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese (the latter two languages would also result in interest from South American clients), then consider adding Italian, Polish and Dutch, as these are the next most populous in terms of internet users.

Once this testing has taken place, the website analystic can be reviewed and a decision taken on where to invest more. Clients may test 8, 10 or even 20 markets using this method, and end up committing to expansion in 2 or 3 of them – but the initial investment at a relatively low level pays off and will drive traffic to the English language site as well.

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