Imagine, now your mobile phone could tell you if you have an STD

In a recent post on the Foreign Exchange blog, company president Andres Heuberger provides a roundup of how medical translation has changed over the past 12 years. He points to four principal drivers: regulations, technology, globalization, and measurable quality.

I was reminded last week of the dramatic role the second piece, technology, has had and continues to have on healthcare and medical translation. Consider this recent example: In a story in the British newspaper The Guardian, it was reported that a new test could soon enable sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to be diagnosed using your mobile phone or computer.

True. The innovation, which is hoped will cut the rising rate of STIs in the UK, will operate much like pregnancy testing kits. People simply place a urine or saliva sample onto a computer chip about the size of a typical USB drive and then plug that into their phone or computer. They then receive a diagnosis, identifying whether they’ve contracted one of a range of STIs—and informing them where to go for treatment.

The devices are based on nanotechnology and microfluidics, and are expected to be sold for as little as 50p to £1 (about 80¢ to US$1.50). Like condoms, they are likely to be available in pharmacies, supermarkets, and nightclub and bar vending machines.

Though no mention is made of the language in which the diagnosis is delivered, it seems reasonable to guess that a product of such potentially great benefits won’t be adapted for users of numerous languages. Viva la technology.

Till next time,

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