Terminology Search in EMA (European Medicines Agency) for Translators

by Popie Matsouka

Basic terminology search in Bilingual documents, in EMA (European Medicines Agency –http://www.ema.europa.eu/ema/)

The EMA website is one of the most helpful websites for the Medical translator. Within its pages we can locate terminology that helps us produce professional and accurate medical translations. Most medical translators I know use EMA (or EMEA) as a resource for their work, and the fact that it provides the documents in multiple languages is a huge plus for all of us. For many clients, terminology from EMA is to be respected in all work we do, and it is considered very accurate. Some of us are even responsible for parts of the corpus you will find there (*blinking conspiratorially*). Most translators already know how to use this search method, especially my fellow Greek Medical translators are almost all familiar with it, but I am going to post it here anyway, in case you need it! Note that no text is error-proof, so double check everything and do not take their correctness for granted just because these texts come from the EU.

Steps to perform a simple terminology search:

Open your web browser, and go to your search engine. For this mini-tutorial, I’ll be using the standard Google Search, and Mozilla Firefox.

Type the term you want to find in Google, for example: “myeloma“, followed by “site:ema.europa.eu.

(Note here that, if you surround your term with quotation marks, then the search will return results for this specific term only.)


Hit Enter. This will return several results, most of which will be documents in EMA containing the term “myeloma.” Search for the ones that appear in PDF format, and are usually accompanied by the words “European Medicines Agency.



Let’s choose one of the results for our tutorial. In this case I’m going to use “Revlimid, INN-lenalidomide – Europa.”

Right click on the link, and choose “Open Link in New Tab,” from the menu.

Go to the new tab. If your results are in English, then the page that is displayed should have the following address. If not, you should see something similar, with a similar language code:


This link means that this PDF, is in en_GB (i.e. British English), and comes from the website www.ema.europa.eu.

Copy the address from the address bar, open a New Tab, and paste the address in the address bar.

Change the language code from en_GB (or any other source language code you see), to the target language code you need, for example: es_ES, (for Spanish).

The result should be something like this:


Have a look at the two tabs. Search in the Source PDF the term you need, eg. “myeloma.”

The PDF search tool will take you to a part of the PDF which contains this term. Note the section, or the paragraph. Go to the Target pdf, and search for the same section/paragraph. Read the text, and compare it with the source, to find the term you need. Please be careful though, sometimes these paragraphs and sections look the same, but have minute details; read carefully to find the exact matching ones.

Additional tip: When you initially type the search term in Google search, you can also add “SUMMARY OF PRODUCT CHARACTERISTICS” in quotation marks, or the equivalent translation for this, for your language. This way you can narrow your search down to just these specific PDFs.


*This article was first published here.

Popie Matsouka is currently the Senior Project Manager and Lead Medical Translator and Editor of Technografia. She also holds the position of Quality Assurance Specialist, having specialized in translation and localization QA software technology. She is the resident tech/IT expert, and after having worked as a localization tools trainer, she recently also became a beta tester for SDL Trados Studio. Her education includes being an Apple trained Support Professional, plus a PC/MAC and LAN technician, apart from being a CAT tools expert. She also volunteers for the Red Cross, and is a firm believer that if we all work together we can make a great difference in this world, combining our professional and our personal strengths.

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