Archive for July 28, 2010

Third edition of ‘Best Practices for Healthcare” now available

Healthcare professionals have an astonishing amount on their plate these days. With evolving regulatory requirements, emerging technology, and the ever-present considerations of cost and risk, it is little wonder that some find it a challenge to also meet their medical translation goals.

After more than a decade working in the industry, including partnering with some 400 healthcare organizations across the U.S., we’ve learned a bit about how best to tackle this difficult enterprise. We’ve taken that knowledge and distilled it down into a handy, easy-to-use guide.

Called “Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare,” the guide outlines a range of best practices, offers some time-tested tips, shares a few success stories from other healthcare organizations, and points you to valuable translation resources to explore, all with the intention of helping you achieve your medical translation objectives.

We know from working with many of you that each organization has different needs. Some of you might just be beginning to address language access issues, while others could be looking for new ideas and maybe even a dose of encouragement. No matter where you fall, our hope is that you will find something helpful in its pages.

This is our third—and we hope most useful—edition of “Beyond Translation,” and as always we’re making it available to any and all for free. So, if you would like a copy, simply visit the registration page and let us know. You can download it right there, or we’re happy to send you a copy.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

Machine translation not the silver bullet for medical translation challenges

Much energy and attention has been and continues to be focused on how best to communicate with the increasingly influential Hispanic audience in the U.S. One thing that has been learned is that the Hispanic community is, in many cases, frustrated with those communications. For example, because of the poor quality of so many Spanish translated websites, many deem English sites a better alternative even though not their native language.

A recent post on the Hispanic Online Marketing blog expresses concern that the focus on machine translation, including the much-discussed Google Translate, is unfortunately poised to make matters worse.

The prospect of simply inserting your organization’s website content into Google Translate and receiving in return an effective, accurate translation—and for free—is simply irresistible to many. In reality, it echoes the adage that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is.

Because as Hispanic Online Marketing duly points out, sites that opt to use this tool and others like it tend to carry disclaimers alerting you that what you’re reading may not be accurate or reliable. How, one wonders, is this in any way serving the audience?

Such a move may save you money, but in time, a poorly translated site will cost a great deal more. Language is subtle and as much a product of culture and context as words. The reality is that only a human translator, and one with sufficient experience, can effectively meet today’s translation challenges.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

New medical device standards demand experienced medical translators

Medical translators who work with medical device manufacturers are familiar with addressing the materials associated with the hardware of these important products. Their experience, effectiveness, and accuracy are crucial facets en route to helping ensure safe use of these devices.

But as technology has evolved and grown more complex, these products increasingly have software that plays a central role in the operation of the device. Unfortunately, in some cases medical translation has failed to keep up with these developments. Thankfully, as the Medical Translation Insight blog points out in a recent post, that is changing.

It started with the update to the Medical Device Directive, which included more controls on the translation of software: Software was not considered a medical product, but that has now changed. Perhaps less familiar to medical translators is the new ISO 62304 standard for software, which requires a quality management system (e.g., ISO 13485) and risk management (ISO 14971).

As Medical Translation Insight points out, the June issue of European Medical Device Technology offers a useful primer on ISO 62304, underscoring that medical device manufacturers should ensure that they select software designers who have well-established risk management systems. Ensuring their medical translators have experience with software is a key as well.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

Informative resources shine light on the challenges of medical translation

Translation is more than exchanging one set of words for another. As anyone who has worked with translation or translators knows, it depends on the language, the culture, the communication vehicle, and a host of other important details. It is also impacted greatly by the industry for which the translation is being done.

For a variety of reasons, medical translation may pose the greatest number of challenges for the uninitiated language services professional. From the use of obscure medical terminology to the risk to patients if translations are not absolutely accurate, medical translation requires a special knowledge and understanding.

If you are considering joining the industry, or perhaps you work with medical translators and want a window into the work they do, Medical Translation Step by Step by Vicent Montalt and Maria Gonzalez Davis offers a clear and effective study of the discipline.

Published by St. Jerome Publishing, the 250-page book offers a comprehensive and practical look at medical translation, exploring a range of important issues, including medical writing, translation practice, and exploration of different methods for learning.

For another perspective, visit Sarah Dillon’s There’s something about translation blog and her interview with Andrew Bell. Bell, who operates AAA Scandinavian Translation and specializes in medical/pharmaceutical translation services, shares his experience working in the field.

It’s good for all of us to appreciate that what we do is important. And it’s good for those who call on our services to remember that translation is more than a simple exchange of words, especially when it comes to people’s health.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage