Archive for October 23, 2013

Culture is Key to Effective Healthcare Translation

Communication gaffes can have a real impact on your organization’s reputation. In the healthcare industry, they can also be potentially dangerous. So you must be exacting when producing translated materials for your multilingual audiences. Anything less can be costly.

The first question to ask is whether you need to simply translate the materials, or if transcreation is more appropriate. While everyone is surely familiar with how translation works, transcreation might be a new term for some. Here’s a quick primer:

Transcreation combines the creative writing and marketing translation processes to adapt translated content to be more culturally relevant to your audience, making the communication both more meaningful and more effective. In order to reach your audience at an emotional and intellectual level, you must really understand the specific culture to which you are communicating, such as their country of origin and maybe even their region as well. Transcreation might be the preferred strategy when dealing with creative pieces that need to connect with your audience on a cultural level, such as health promotion materials or community programs.

In general, translation is the recommended strategy when the materials to be addressed must adhere to specific product or service requirements, such as with forms, guides, or other documents with little creative content. It is also typically the most cost-effective solution as it allows you to maximize your translation memory savings.

While both translation and transcreation play an important role in your multilingual communications, the right translation partner can help you understand the protocols and taboos for effectively communicating with all your healthcare communities. Click here to learn more about Transcreation.


Announcing VIA’s 2013 Translation Grant Program Winners

This is one of my favorite times each year. Not only because of the spectacular fall weather, but because I get the honor of announcing this year’s grant winners. Our Annual Translation Grant Program awards $1,500 of in-kind translation services to two separate organizations that share our philosophy of improving healthcare access for limited English proficiency communities.

We received a record number of applications this year from organizations across the country – all doing incredible work in their communities.  It was extremely difficult to narrow the selection down to the following two winners:

Lutheran HealthCare, Brooklyn, New York
Lutheran HealthCare serves a diverse, largely non-English speaking, immigrant community in Southwest Brooklyn. As a result of the growth in immigrant seniors in the community, they are working on a new website that includes a wide variety of information for seniors which they will translate into several different languages.

North East Medical Services, San Francisco, California
North East Medical Services is one of the largest community Health Centers in the United States servicing the medically underserved Asian population. They are currently working on translating materials for Affordable Care Act outreach and a new program for pediatric patients.

VIA is proud to support initiatives that further education, understanding, and access to healthcare coverage and services for seniors, children and previously uninsured populations. Congratulations to this year’s winners!


How Complicated Can It Be? Translation Steps

I get the opportunity to work with customers all day and many times I get the question, what steps go into translating this document?  Well, there are more steps to the process than one would imagine.

  • 4-Phase-Methodology_EPSPhase One (Evaluation): At this stage, we clarify technical and customization requirements, assess language and cultural needs, define project objectives, scope, organization and control procedures, plan the project workflow, and set up HIPAA PHI procedures if needed.
  • Phase Two (Planning): At this stage, we assign a dedicated Project Manager and all linguistic staff, finalize the project schedule and communication plan, implement any needed training and/or workflow setup, and configure Computer-Assisted Translation tools.
  • Phase Three (Execution of Translation Process): At this stage, we exchange source files (this can be handled using email, secure FTP, or VIA’s OLS web portal), ensure all linguists are properly trained using translation memory and glossaries and style guides, manage the translation/transcreation and proofreading steps, as well as any needed graphics engineering and desktop publishing or multimedia localization. Then we manage a customized Quality Assurance process, and work with you during your internal review cycle to deliver the final product.
  • Phase Four (Maintenance): At this post-project stage, we solicit customer feedback for continuous improvement, then update and maintain translation memory and glossaries.

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

Healthcare Thoughts – In the Wake of ACA

Who’d think that Congress would still be bickering over the ACA? States that were selected to host healthcare exchanges officially opened their doors on October 1. Additionally, health plans raced to get their CMS materials finalized, translated and updated for print and placed on their websites by this time. The process has been quite stressful for my customers. Failure to meet the October 1 deadline could have led to heavy fines.

It was equally crazy for VIA and our linguistic teams. As a matter of fact, we were tasked to translate one Evidence of Coverage (EOC) and Annual Notice of Change (ANOC) into Spanish (75,000 words) in three days for one of my Northwest customers. We did it of course.

I’m certain there are plenty of other things happening in healthcare, but in my world the single most important topic right now is making sure my customers are prepared for 2014 and what is expected of them regarding their multilingual translation requirements.

Many of my health plan customers have been proactive and others prefer to take their chances with a “wait and see” approach just in case there are any last minute changes in legislation. Either way, I suggest having your vital materials in place and, at the very least, Spanish translated.

The healthcare exchanges will garner the need for more language access and this will certainly help the LEP community. Like everyone, I’m trying to be patient and waiting to see how impactful this first step in healthcare legislation will be on bringing positive change for the under insured and growing language needs.

Bill Kennedy