The importance of localization in clinical trials

May 23, 2023 | Process

The need to recruit and retain patients from around the world is critical – not just to satisfy regulatory bodies but also to widen diversity.  That’s why this article explains ways you can adopt localization in decentralized clinical trials outside your domestic market to widen diversity, increase enrollments and enhance retention.

Picture shows patient undergoing electronic clinical outcome assessment, where localization in clinical trials is vitalCommunication in decentralized trials

The move to decentralized trials provides opportunities to increase patient numbers, particularly underrepresented groups who might be unable to travel to physical sites. 

But with reduced in-person communication in decentralized trials, language and cultural obstacles can pose challenges.  Healthcare communications agencies and CROs must therefore communicate effectively to recruit and retain patients where the preferred language is not English.

How can you improve communication in decentralized trials? Localization is one communication approach to consider. Let’s start by examining what localization actually means.

Localization is a process used to connect your message with an audience. It includes localizing text, images text and audio, to ensure your message is linguistically and culturally appropriate for your target audience. It also includes formatting measurements, currency and dates for each territory. 

Why is localization in clinical trials so important?

Localization can be an important part of ensuring your content is well-received, understood and correctly acted on. It can also be important for complying with localA woman takes part in a clinical trial regulations. 

Decentralized clinical trials have seen a huge increase in digital communications  Websites, apps and wearables need to deliver your key messages clearly and persuasively in all the territories you are targeting.

If your digital media is localized effectively it creates a more engaging experience for visitors. 

Localizing content for cultural sensitivities

But without localization, there’s the risk that your content could be considered culturally inappropriate and therefore be poorly received, ignored or misunderstood. Here are two examples of localization work which Conversis recently completed which demonstrate this point:

 Here are some examples of how Conversis has recently localized content

Overcoming regulatory hurdles using localization in clinical trials

National and transnational regulations affect the way patient recruitment can be conducted. Localization is therefore an important task in regulation compliance. Here are two examples of Conversis localization work which involved regulations:

Woman check health statistics during a decentralized clinical trial, where localization of instructions is vitalAdopting display preferences

Localization also extends to the layout. This includes content in the 12 languages written from the right to the left. For these languages, localization affects text, layout, line breaks and number formatting.

By way of example, Conversis recently changed the percentages formatting for a project so the translated language for Arabic reads ‘%50’. 

The importance of life sciences specialists

Localization of content for decentralized clinical trials requires life sciences specialists. From project managers to linguists, everyone working on such projects must be steeped in life sciences. As the need for patients in clinical trials increases, localization is a vital tool to connect with them worldwide. If you’re involved in the success of a clinical trial outside your domestic market, make sure localization is considered in patient recruitment and retention.

If you have a localization challenge, why not book a free consultancy with Conversis? Drop us a line using our contact form.