Archive for June 28, 2013

Is it time to consider a Centralized Translation Business Model?

For many healthcare organizations the fiscal year is coming to an end and this is when understanding your overall costs of translation is essential for next year’s budgetary request and approval. If you are juggling invoices from several language service providers, consolidating reports and trying to make heads or tails of what was spent on translations, then it may be time to consider a centralized approach.

By partnering with one translation provider and standardizing your process, your organization will benefit in many ways and reducing costs is just the beginning.

  1. Leveraging technology like translation memory can save you up to 15% or more when used across all written material.
  2. Savings also come from reduced internal costs. Your staff will spend less time managing the pre- and post-translation steps such as preparing documents for translation, managing terminology documents and formatting the material.
  3. You will save time by having greater budgetary control by utilizing technology like VIA’s 24×7 online language portal. The portal allows for a single record of all documents that have been translated and is easily exportable to Excel.
  4. No more fragmented or differing processes from one department to another. Standardizing the process will drive cost efficiencies across multiple languages.
  5. Your messaging and preferred terminology will be consistent across all material ─ whether it is marketing, educational or legal documents.
  6. Increased control over document management eliminates the headaches of multiple versions of documents living in multiple places at once, and is key to staying sane as your translation workload grows.

The list continues. If any of the above benefits speak to your specific needs then I think it might be time to contact VIA.

We will listen to your challenges and understand your overall goals to map out a centralization plan that will work for you.

World Refugee Day

Today is World Refugee Day, established by the United Nations to honor the courage, strength and determination of women, men and children who are forced to flee their homes under threat of persecution, conflict and violence.

Like me, you may be surprised to learn that there are over 43.7 million refugees and internally displaced people around the world. Many of whom find their way here to the U.S. in need of food, shelter and care. Our hearts go out to these men and women as we think of what it must be like being the mother or father of a sick and hungry child and having to decide between risking your life staying in a conflict or leaving behind everything in search of safety.

Several of these people don’t speak English as a first language and may find it incredibly difficult to find the help they need. At VIA, we believe that bridging the language gap is key to ensuring culturally diverse communities can have equal access to much needed healthcare. For more information on how to address The Growing Challenges of Health Literacy read our brief.

For more information on how you can to participate in World Refugee Day in the USA please visit

To RFP or not to RFP? That is the question.

Every selling year goes by and I get at least a dozen bid opportunities from requesting healthcare orgs seeking quality vendors like VIA that offer translation services. The RFP process is a standardized process of vetting the vendor to wisely choose the right fit for their health organization’s needs.

Everyone has the same basic requirements; quality process in place, fast turnarounds and Translation Memory. The questions are generally the same each time and I’d imagine each bidder uses the same set of answers RFP to RFP. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.

So how do you vet the good from the bad vendors, especially when the messaging from each of the vendors is the same?

I can’t stop thinking about my happy customers who did their due diligence without having to coordinate a full fledge RFP. After all, the time utilized is exhaustive not only for the requestor but equally so for the bidder.

  • Do you like your vendor?
  • Do they have dedicated support? Are they smart? Do they visit you?
  • Do they use translation tool like style guides or glossaries?
  • Do they nickel and dime you by charging for post job changes?

I really believe the human element is critical to the success of the relationship. Having a vendor with good tools makes it even better. Do you have a partner that understands your needs? Do they regularly work on the types of materials you translate? Do they understand your member base or know your population? Do they translate at a 5th grade level that is not too literal? Do they respond to your inquiries quickly? Do they fix mistakes within 24 hours?

So here’s what I suggest:

Run a few jobs through them. Review the results. Question the subjectivity of the work. See how they respond. Do they charge you for corrections?

I understand that organizations especially large ones are quite fond of their process of seeking vendors. Contracts folks are great at attaining the best rate but are they attuned to finding the right partner that you will enjoy working with on a weekly basis? The only way to really know is to try them out. My suggestion is to have your new vendor do a few jobs for you, so you can test the waters and feel out what knowingly is right for you and your LEP readers.

‘Tis the Season to Start Planning for Open Enrollment

As a result of the Affordable Care Act’s impact on the 2014 landscape, health plans are preparing their mandated documents such as the Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) and Evidence of Coverage (EOC) earlier than usual. The ANOC/EOC is a critical component of your plan as it provides details about coverage, costs and more. This may sound simple enough, but this year insurance plans need to take into account more than just earlier timelines. As a result of the recent reform, 12 million new customers and 11 million small businesses will flood the insurance market in January. Many of these new consumers will come from households that are not only more culturally and linguistically diverse, but that have never had health insurance before.

Navigating the new health exchanges and healthcare system is challenging enough for seasoned professionals, let alone for someone who doesn’t speak English as their first language. And with October and the open enrollment period right around the corner, health plans will soon need to find new strategies to effectively communicate with their new and diverse customers. Bridging the language gap is essential to ensuring diverse communities enjoy equal access to healthcare, because true understanding happens when people can internalize the material in their native language. So whether it’s ANOC/EOC’s, SBC’s, or any of the other numerous communications your plan will soon be sending out, the key is to ensure that you are truly reaching your market in a meaningful, effective way.

Learn more about VIA’s ANOC/EOC translations and how your plan can save up to 20%.