Archive for September 25, 2013

A Month that Calls for Celebration

It would be an understatement to say that most of you are a just a little preoccupied with the pending Health Insurance Exchanges that will be here in mere days. With open enrollment and the ACA weighing heavily on everyone’s minds, I thought I’d change gears and write about something uplifting that everyone can celebrate, which is National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Starting in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, National Hispanic Heritage Month runs from September 15 to October 15, and celebrates the histories, cultures and contributions of those with origins from Spain, Mexico and the Spanish-speaking nations of Central America, South America and the Caribbean.

In a richly diverse nation full of the world’s many wonderful cultures and backgrounds, people of Hispanic origin still comprise the nation’s largest ethnic or race minority. Those of you that handle language access for your healthcare organization may find it no surprise that Spanish is also the second most common language in the country, and is spoken by over 30% of the population.

From the NFL to the nation’s capital, and many communities and events in between, it’s easy to find a way to join in a celebración of this historical month.

For tips on how to make the most of your marketing efforts to your Hispanic audiences check out these resources from VIA:


What are you doing to curb rising healthcare costs?

Albeit at a slower rate, Healthcare spending continues to rise. NPR covered a Kaiser Health News article this week titled Health Care Costs Are Projected To Outpace Economic Growth.

Some staggering statistics include:

  • The nation will spend $2.9 trillion this year on health services
  • Health spending will rise by 6.1% in 2014 to $3.1 trillion
  • By 2022, health spending will total $5 trillion amounting to a fifth of the gross domestic product

While much of the increase is attributed to the rising number of baby boomers moving into Medicare, and 11 million previously uninsured people gaining coverage through new Marketplaces and Medicaid expansion resulting from the ACA, this trend is clearly unsustainable.

Furthermore, it is still unknown if any of this additional coverage and access to care will actually improve outcomes. Are there just more patients entering the healthcare system, or are we truly on our way to accountable care and effectively improving population health? Will new collaborative approaches and reimbursement models help us concentrate on cost efficiencies?

In addition, we understand you might be a little overwhelmed when considering how you are going to disseminate information and reduce disparities for the new limited English proficiency populations in your care as a result of the healthcare reform. We’re here to help. As a vital partner to many health systems and plans we provide both process and cost efficiencies when it comes to translating your healthcare documentation. If you haven’t ordered the latest version of the Healthcare Guide to Translations you can access it here. You can also contact us to set up a personal 30 minute webinar on centralization best practices.

What does it all mean? The A-Z of Translation Definitions

dictionaryIt is not unusual for me to get questions about what DTP means or for a customer to be confused between what a PDF is and a source file is. So, I thought a brief glossary of the terms frequently used in the translation industry would be helpful. Whether you need to communicate effectively with linguists or language service providers, you’ll find some of the answers here.

  • Source File – The original document to be translated.
  • Native File – The same as source file the original document to be translated
  • File Prep – All preparation work required to ready a document for translation. For example, converting a PDF document to an editable format
  • TEP – Translation, edit and proofreading.  The linguist translates the document into the requested target langauge. A second professional linguist will proofread and edit the document
  • DTPDesktop Publishing: Reformatting the document to produce the translated document identical to the source document; in most incidences English.
  • QA – Quality Assurance:  a professional will review the final document to ensure no errors were introduced in the DTP phase of the project
  • Source Word/Text – This is the language of the source content and the language that Translators translate from.
  • Target Word/Text – The translation of the source word or text.
  • Glossary – is a collection of preferred terms with translations, definitions
  • Style Guide – is a tool that organizations can leverage to measurably increase translation quality and consistency.
  • Braille – Braille is a system of communication for blind or partially sighted people.
  • Cultural Adaptation – Editing a text to fit in with the cultural aspects of the target language
  • Literal Translation – A translation that follows the source text very closely.
  • Localization – The process of editing a product for a specific (usually foreign) market in cultural and linguistic terms.
  • Native speaker – A person with native speaker competence in a language.
  • Machine Translation – Translation carried out by a software program without human intervention that requires extensive editing of terminology, meaning and grammar.
  • Translation Memory – A software program used to store translation segments or units in a database for future use.
  • Word Count – A word count is the number of words that a document or file contains

Look to your Language Service Provider (LSP) for assistance to help you understand the steps and tasks that go into completing your project.

The Power of the Attestation

Have the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) or the Joint Commission ever knocked on your door asking about the quality of the translated materials you require your members and patients to read? Of course, this question is directed mainly to hospitals and health plans. But honestly, if this impacts you, do you feel confident that the materials you handed out to your members or patients are indeed translated accurately?

If the Joint Commission schedules a visit with your hospital, they will want to know what you have translated, where it is located and why you chose those specific languages? If they find anything lacking in quality, the Joint Commission may penalize the hospital. This slap on the wrist may hurt the hospital’s reputation. If the care facility gets a ding on its accreditation, it could ultimately steer potential staff to take their skills elsewhere.

It’s a little different for health plans. Plans may not get the federal or state funding they count on if they are not compliant. Audits are ugly.

Member services at health plans and the cultural and linguistic departments at hospitals generally oversee the day-to-day compliance of materials that are translated in multiple languages. My customers tell me they do not fret in these situations. In fact, our attestations pretty much spell it out for the auditors and most know that if they work with VIA, the translations are of great accuracy and quality. Our translations are conducted by professional linguistic teams that have more than five years healthcare translation experience. One translator, one proofreader and an attestation with any job we conduct.

Find out more about our healthcare translation solutions here.