Archive for October 23, 2009

Join our free webinar for tips on culturally appropriate marketing

Things have changed dramatically for healthcare organizations over the last decade. And as the news reminds on a daily base the industry is poised to see fundamental, tectonic sorts of changes as we enter the next decade.

Among those developments, healthcare organizations have watched as ethnic markets have grown from being what might be called an “add on consideration” into an influential consumer group and a strategic piece of a healthcare organization’s business model.

Shifts of this size and importance are never easy. In this case, we have to learn how to leverage the power of today’s ethnic market. And we have to do it fast, a distinct challenge when so many organizations remain without a dedicated marketing devoted to this group.

If this sounds familiar, we invite you to join a free viaLanguage webinar targeted at how can you incorporate best practices into your existing marketing infrastructure to ensure that your brand and content resonate across cultures.

Here are the details:

Title: Culturally Appropriate Marketing: Tips and lessons learned from the trenches
Date: Nov. 5, 2009
Time: 11:30am-12:15pm Pacific Time

Scott Para, Director of Marketing, San Francisco Health Plan
Janet Johnson, VP of Marketing, KC Distance Learning
Channin Balance, President and CEO, viaLanguage

For more, or to register, check out the viaLanguage webinar page. We hope you can join us.

Good health!

Healthcare translation 140 characters at a time

If your job is communication, it is both an exciting and a confusing time to be alive. Not only have globalization and the Internet changed the makeup of audiences, new tools are rapidly transforming the way we reach those audiences. In healthcare, add to this the ongoing debate about reform and it can be hard to know where to start.

Even if you never Tweeted, you’ve likely heard of Twitter, perhaps even in this blog. An increasingly popular microblogging tool, Twitter has been embraced by legions of people, including companies as diverse as Dell and La Superior (the hole-in-the-wall taqueria near my house).

Twitter recently announced that in addition to English and Japanese, the site will soon be available in French, Italian, German, and Spanish. This is meaningful as these additions account for some of the most active languages online.

It is, of course, too early to tell if the tool will find as large and as rabid an audience among users of these languages as is currently enjoyed among English and Japanese users, but it seems a good bet.

So the question for healthcare is this: How can we leverage Twitter to better communicate with patients? If you don’t have a ready answer, maybe it’s time for a conversation with your language services provider.

Good health!

President Obama spotlights need for translation – including healthcare translation?

Last month, the Executive Office of the President and the National Economic Council issued its “Strategy for American Innovation.” Though the last bullet in the document, a recommendation was included to pursue “highly accurate and real-time” machine translation to “lower barriers to international commerce and collaboration.”

This and the other innovations noted in the report will come from both the President’s budget and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), especially as an expression of the ARRA’s aim to bring about breakthroughs for national priorities like clean energy, more efficient vehicles, and health care technology.

While it remains unclear how this focus will impact healthcare translation, the administration’s clear understanding of the language challenges faced both domestically and globally is promising. Companies are already working to advance natural language processing and the information sciences. More funding for these important efforts is welcomed.

But as the American Translators Association pointed out, translation software is just one half of the solution, with experienced, qualified human translators remaining a critical component. Translation is more than the words; it is also about culture. We hope this figures in the administration’s pursuit of language security, and we hope healthcare translation is part of that effort.

Good health!

viaLanguage’s healthcare translation grant recipient selected!

It was a tough selection this year with so many fine applicants, but the winner of the Translation Grant goes to Bridgeport Hospital. We are excited to support Bridgeport and bolster their communication efforts community-wide. Bridgeport Hospital is located in Connecticut’s most populous city and serves a large minority population. Lynn Charbonneau, Director of Patient Relations for the hospital looks forward to translating important patient education materials, consent forms, and discharge instructions, stating that the grant “helps us continue to address disparities in access to healthcare while improving patient outcomes for those populations.”

Each year viaLanguage gives back to the community in an effort to improve health and healthcare access through its $5000 translation grant program. Last year’s award went to the Health Plan of San Mateo, who used the grant to help fund the production and translation of a Latino version of their SHAPEDOWN® Program, a successful weight management program designed for obese children, teens and their parents.

Stay tuned to learn how Bridgeport Hospital will use their translation grant, and what kind of impact it will have on their community. We look forward to passing on the good news.

Prepare for the Swine Flu/H1N1 by preparing the proper documents with Healthcare Translation

Now that the flu season upon us, and the World Health Organization declaring that the H1N1 virus/Swine flu pandemic is underway, ensuring that everyone has the vital information and instructions for this is crucial. Yet as state and local health officials are scrambling to keep the public informed about the latest pandemic news, many are in urgent need to have their outreach information about the Swine Flu translated for their LEP populations.

Given the potential for panic with words such as pandemic, it is vital that this information be translated with unquestioned accuracy. Yet as I had mentioned in a previous blog post, there is still a dire need for accurate, effective healthcare translations, especially when dealing with something as serious as the Swine flu.

So how can you stay abreast of the interest and concern in your community? One great idea would be to use the GeoChirp Twitter mashup. Here you can search and access Swine flu-related tweets that are updated in real time and based on geography.

Tweets or no tweets, communicating such vital information rapidly and accurately in any language is essential to containing and ultimately preventing the spread of swine flu.

The right language services provider often starts with a recommendation

You’re in healthcare, not healthcare translation. So how are you to know who is the best language services providers for your audiences? It’s an important question and one you want ideally to make just once. So, treat it like your patients treat finding the right doctor: Do your homework.

The best and most reliable way to start is to solicit recommendations from colleagues. You’re looking for someone who has experience in your field, and who has worked with the agency in question.

You can also go directly to the agencies themselves. Experienced agencies place a lot of importance on their reputation and a good one will be happy to provide references. In addition, companies that bid on large translation contracts are often required to provide resumes for translators with specific qualifications. A review of individual translators’ resumes is a great way to predict how your project will turn out.

Good health!