Archive for August 25, 2010

One medical blog is doing its part to reach the growing Hispanic population

If you read viaLanguage’s companion blog, WorldMarketer, and I recommend you do for its useful insights for your general multicultural marketing efforts, you’ve seen a spate of posts recently exploring the growing importance of the exploding Hispanic population in the U.S.

The larger commercial world is working hard to respond to this dramatic demographic shift, attempting to understand and meet the unique and varied needs of this increasingly influential group. This is just as true for heath care-related organizations, including those in the life science industries, many of whom may even be guilty of having overlooked this audience.

If this is true of your organization, it might be time to follow in the footsteps of one organization that is sincerely trying to do it right. Medgadget, a journal of what it describes as “emerging medical technologies,” has launched a companion Spanish website as well as a Spanish Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Medgadget is written, edited, and published by a team of independent doctors and biomed engineers. We can assume that their decision to devote the time and expense necessary to build and launch the Spanish-only adjuncts was informed by an understanding of the growth of the Hispanic population.

But whether driven by numbers or not, the site likely stands to benefit, as do Spanish-speaking Medgadget readers who now have a choice, which research has revealed is very important to this audience.

How would your Spanish-speaking audience rate your communications?

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

Translation glossaries can be helpful, but are not a silver bullet

If you’re translation professional, you’re undoubtedly already exploiting the vast resources available on the Internet. Every week it seems there is some new tool or technique being introduced that promises to help you do your job.

But it can be confusing parsing out the real solutions from the fanciful, the fully realized from the half baked. And then even when you find an online-driven strategy that promises to help, it can take time to incorporate that tool into your communications program.

Among the useful, but still maturing, innovations is the growing number of web translation glossaries. Created by the contributions of users, these resources are becoming increasingly popular with translators. Whether it’s a definition or an entire document you need, it’s possible someone else has addressed it and added it to the glossary’s database.

But as with everything else on the web, it can be both dicey and time consuming to wade through the myriad sites currently available. Linguee and MyMemory have been identified by some as representing the top-tier alternatives. They offer context where others don’t, and permit users to add their own suggested translation and rate the quality of available translations.

No matter which sites you use, bear in mind that there is no replacement for an experienced translation professional. Just think back to your own work. Chances are good that you can cite examples that would require a high level knowledge to even construct a search. And then there’s the little matter of determining the accuracy of the results.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

When it comes to medical translation, a single word can make a difference

If you are medical translation professional or a limited English proficient (LEP) patient, you know firsthand how important—and how fraught with possible misunderstanding—translation of medications can be.

It can start at the very beginning with many failing to appreciate the difference between such fundamental words as “medication” and “drug.” Contrary to the words’ regular interchangeable use, they are not synonyms. Rather, the former designates those substances that have a pharmacological effect, while drugs, for our purposes here, are the products into which those medications are made.

As a consequence, some medical professionals use International Non-proprietary Names (INN) to refer to medications/drugs when creating their patient materials. Others rely on commercial brand names. Still others use common names that are understood in the U.S. but largely unfamiliar elsewhere. (e.g., acetaminophen is a widely used name in the U.S., though it is known as paracetamol elsewhere around the world).

It is easy to see how such a situation can compromise the accuracy and clarity that is necessary for safe and effective medical translation. More importantly, such a failure can have profound effects on the ability of LEP patients to make informed decisions about their health. And this is a risk we simply cannot afford to take.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

Your multilingual website is about words, but it’s also about numbers

Health-related organizations of all stripes are increasingly embracing the web and social media tools to reach their audiences. The costs tend to be competitive when compared to other communication vehicles and the possibilities potentially great.

However, the difficulties associated with capturing the data from these interactions remains an ongoing challenge for many organizations. While important issues like hosting, legal requirements, and others are being largely resolved, important details like who is visiting the site, where they are going, and how long they are staying are not always clear.

As a result, identifying the best analytics tools and how to set them up is a task many organizations are now making a priority. This is significant as such usage information is critical to determining if your online presence is truly working for your audience, especially if yours is a multilingual site.

You can start by conferring with language services provider (LSP) as they know your business and understand your medical translation and communication goals. In the meantime, you can take a look at Google Analytics as well, which addresses how to report for multilingual sites and e-commerce storefronts, should you have one.

For a bit of background, read the June post on the Google Analytics blog entitled “Advanced: E-Commerce Roll Up Reporting For Websites With Different Languages.” At the very least, it will give you some food for thought and might help you devise the right questions to address to your LSP.

Good health!

Chanin
viaLanguage