Many life science organisations in Singapore – especially those in the fields of biotechnology, biomedical devices and environmental, medical and pharmaceutical science – regularly need to localise scientific images.

If you need to have your scientific findings translated for your target audience, here are a few vital tips about image localisation:

Localising scientific images – professional standards

As an expert in the field, you’ll know that the scientific community has a specific set of guidelines which govern the manipulation of images.

When localising images – irrespective of how they are initially created – these guidelines must always be followed so as to successfully deliver a document that meets the community’s rigorous standards.

Here’s how to to do it:

1. The correct handling of scientific images:

  • Save the originals: Original images may be needed to verify that localised images are comparable to the original. The original image remains the only valid reference in the event that a localised image is questioned.
  • Ensure sensible compression: Lossy file compression methods, such as those used by some JPEG formats, transform the image data. Therefore, they are not suitable for scientific images. Lossless file compression formats – for example, PNG – can safely be used as they reduce the size of the image file while maintaining the integrity of the image data.
  • Treat digital images as data: During the localisation process, digital scientific images must be carefully manipulated and should incur no change that could lead to a misinterpretation of the image.

2. Scientific images should not undergo

Retouching: Cloning and copying objects into an image or from other parts of the image in order to cover up imperfections is inappropriate. If an image cannot be used, it should be replaced with another image.

Filtering: The use of software filters to improve image quality tends to degrade data. Such tools are not appropriate when handling biological images in particular.

Intensity Measurements: Ideally, intensity measurements should be performed on the original. If done at a later stage, it should be performed on uniformly processed image data and calibrated to a known standard.

3. Scientific images can safely undergo:

Simple Adjustments: Adjustments – such as brightness, contrast and levels – that help view the information present on an image are usually acceptable, but must be explained and documented.

Cropping: Cropping an image is usually acceptable so long as it doesn’t change the context of what remains on the image.

Resizing: Image size should be changed only once using a magnification scale bar prior to changing the total number of pixels.

Image localisation – the place to start

Whether you are localising your image for the Singapore market or for a foreign audience or authority, your Language Service Provider should know what’s required to meet all of the scientific community’s standards.

Make sure they do and, text or image, you should be ready to get your project started.

Do you need to know more about image localisation?

Get in touch with us or ask a question in the comments below to get an expert on the case.