In this article, we will examine the role of translation in Covid-19 vaccines. As the world continues to grapple with the coronavirus pandemic, vaccines provide a glimmer of hope. Nevertheless, as studies, trials and conferences are conducted in thousands of cities across the world, accurate translation has become essential, and time is of the essence.

The vaccine development process

Developing a vaccine is a long and expensive process which can take up to 10-15 years. The reason for this is that any new drug must undergo a strict clinical trial process before it can be brought to market and approved for use.

There are three main phases in clinical trials, each of which tests the safety, efficacy, and side effects of a drug on the human body. Phase 1 trials involve very few patients, whereas Phase 3 trials involve thousands of participants of various demographics and from multiple countries. The process generates a huge quantity of documents, including results and outcomes for every patient, and many of these documents require translation.

The importance of translation

Due to the devastation of the coronavirus pandemic and the appearance of several variants, there was pressure to develop a vaccine as fast as possible. In a race against time, the ability to share resources internationally, due to accurate translations of important documents and studies, greatly facilitated the development of successful Covid-19 vaccines.

Translation played a key role from the beginning when China released essential data, including the virus genetic code. And continues to do so today, as more and more vaccines are developed and approved for use internationally. Translations of all useful documents must be highly specialised since mistranslations could have severe consequences. Furthermore, the role of translation in Covid-19 vaccines are also necessary to ensure an efficient vaccine rollout, so the public have access to documents such as safety reports and eligibility.

The development of a Covid-19 vaccine in less than a year would not have been possible without translation, which allowed the world to work together in a crisis.

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