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.

Would You Like to Win a Grant for Free Healthcare Translation?

We at VIA are excited to announce that our 2013 Translation Grant Program is officially open!

In case you didn’t know, our annual translation grant program awards a total of $3,000 of in-kind translation to two healthcare organizations and/or programs that support language access.

Just like our healthcare partners and customers, the VIA team is passionate about improving healthcare access for underserved, limited English proficiency (LEP) communities. We also feel strongly about giving back, so that’s why we have maintained our tradition of awarding translation grants to healthcare organizations that are actively working to decrease disparities and improve communication efforts with their LEP populations.

If this sounds like your organization, we welcome you to apply. The deadline for applications is September 28, 2013 and recipients will be selected by October 18, 2013. Click here to learn more and get the application.

Best of luck!

Did you think of everything (when planning your translation project)?

Image courtesy of Elvis Santana.

Image courtesy of Elvis Santana.

Many think translating English documents is easy and takes no time; ok maybe a couple of days or a week based on the documents’ size. Guess what, that is so far from the truth! Translating documents has many steps and all of them need to be calculated into your timeline when planning to meet your critical deadline.

We recommend building your timeline by starting with your critical deadline and working backward. Make sure you give yourself extra time for those inevitable delays.

Here are some steps to consider including:

  1. Critical deadline: can be a website ‘go live’ date, CMS required posting or delivery dates, end of fiscal year, marketing campaign, and there are so many more
  2. Publishing/printing time frame
  3. Internal review
  4. Post translation tasks such as formatting, desk top publishing and quality assurance
  5. Actual translation time frame
  6. Pre-translation work such as preparing style guides and glossaries
  7. Project approval
  8. Evaluating scope of work and costs
  9. Approval of final native/source files

Don’t worry if you can’t think of everything. Your Language Service Provider (LSP) should be able to help you plan accordingly so you can get started on your way to successfully meeting your goals.

Learn about how VIA’s managed services can help you streamline your translation processes to provide the best return from your investment.

LEP Communication is So Much More Than Just Translating Words

Localization Services for healthcare are so much more than simply translating a document into another language for Limited English Proficiency (LEP) patients. There are multiple things to consider beyond the words – cultural adaptation, method of delivery and the final look and feel of published materials all contribute to message assimilation.

Here are a few topics to keep in mind as you prepare your strategy for your LEP healthcare communications:

  • Translation and Localization: Translated communications to ensure essential meaning is captured and conveyed accurately and effectively. 
  • Transcreation: Creative adaptation and writing of marketing, sales, and advertising copy in the target language. Ideal for cultural adaption of key messages and brand attributes.
  • Cultural Assessment: A written report assessing your campaign elements such as key messages, value propositions, slogans, examples and icons for cultural appropriateness in each market. 
  • Website and Digital Localization: Complete localization of website graphics, display messages, navigation and copy including linguistic and functional testing.
  • Social Media, Mobile, Online Advertising: Fast and culturally accurate translation for support of your online communities as well as mobile learning modules. 
  • Multimedia Localization: Video, animation, Adobe Flash and rich media presentations services including voice, captioning and subtitling. 
  • Multilingual DTP: Full service formatting services for print and graphics including data sheets, brochures and technical information.

Make sure you check out our website for Healthcare Industry Education and Resources including webcasts, informative guides and industry news to help stay current on the information that impacts you.

Lost in Translation: Preparing Open Enrollment Materials for LEP Populations May Be Trickier than it Seems

A recent story by OPB explained how the Oregon and Washington Health Exchanges are struggling to translate their materials correctly in preparation for open enrollment. Luckily, the exchanges don’t go live until October, so they have time to work the bugs out. We applaud them for getting a head start, as well as getting feedback on their translations.

Wherever you are at in the process, we’ve got some tips to help you get started on the right path:

  • Assess the situation: Identify the language, culture, ethnicity, and literacy levels of the groups whose needs you must address in your market.
  • Give yourself plenty of time: Keep in mind that it takes time to get your documents print-ready, translated and reviewed. Build plenty of time in your plan for each phase.
  • Find a good partner: Your choice of an LSP is critical to the success of your translation projects. Ideally, you want more than just a provider of translation services; you want a language services partner you can rely on.
  • Maximize your healthcare translation budget: By working with an LSP skilled with translation memory and industry tools, you can recycle previous translations and save 20-50%.
  • Streamline the review process: By using professionally created and maintained translation glossaries and style guides, you can reduce time spent in the review and revision process by as much as 50%.

Still feeling a little lost? We can help. Read our ANOC-EOC data sheet to learn about VIA’s translation solutions and how your plan can save time and money in your open enrollment translation process.

Bridging the Language Gap: A Key Piece to the New Healthcare Marketplace

As I previously mentioned, the upcoming open enrollment season will bring heaps of newly-eligible health consumers, many of whom do not speak English as their native tongue. In fact, the Kaiser Family Foundation reports that as many as one in four new consumers who will apply for health coverage in the new exchange will speak a language other than English in their home. Removing language barriers for LEP populations is a must for states and health insurance providers to truly ensure equal access to information and healthcare services.

With already so much to prepare for by October’s open enrollment date, those involved with the new health exchange may benefit from some quick tips and proven practices on how to best address their new LEP consumers. And fortunately, Families USA and the National Health Law Program (NHeLP) have developed a “Language Access Checklist for Marketplace Implementation”. This checklist provides a full set of recommendations on how to ensure LEP consumers can successfully enroll in, use and retain coverage. And for even more best practices on managing your multilingual healthcare communications as well as your budget, get your copy of our complimentary guide: Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare here.


New Guide! Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare

2013 HC GuideWhether you’re on the provider side of the business, or on the health plan side, your audiences represent the widest range of languages and cultures in the history of U.S. healthcare. Your challenge of communicating with those audiences is exponentially increased by the range of languages, worldviews, traditions, communication preferences, and all the other nuances involved with those different cultures.

Which means translation is not as simple as just transferring your communications, word for word, from one language into another. And, between the demands of keeping current with the regulatory landscape, containing costs, meeting business objectives, and managing risk, you have less time to do more work than ever before.

So we wrote a primer on healthcare translation and localization to try and make your job a little bit easier. In this booklet we outline the best practices based not only our deep experience, but also drawn from a wide range of industry sources, to take the uncertainty out of addressing language access challenges for written and web-based communications. Most of all, we hope the information in this booklet is a practical aid, providing a framework to help you get the most from your healthcare translation and localization efforts.

Get your free copy here.

Independence Day and Immigration

A headline from the Orlando sentinel “What we think: Immigration is America’s story” caught my eye last week

It starts with reminding us “On this 237th birthday of the United States of America, with a debate raging in Congress over immigration policy, it’s worth remembering that we are a nation of immigrants. Everyone in the last 600 years, except Native Americans, either came here from somewhere else, or is the descendant of someone who came or was brought here.”

The article continues to discuss the pending immigration bill. I promise – I won’t go into a political discussion here! But continuing along this vein, at this time each year there are numerous articles reminding us of our rich history here in the US as well as the continuing growth in diversity. I also loved learning more about Portland Oregon’s formative years and our deep Chinook Native American history from a recent article in the Oregonian.

There is no part of our nation that has not been touched by our immigrant background. Everywhere immigrants have enriched and strengthened the fabric of American life.

-John F. Kennedy, 1958

As opposed to past decades and generations, we truly are a global society today. It’s not only the immigrants living in the US we live and work with – its people, communities and corporations all over the world. VIA is proud of the role we play in furthering communication and to that end, we support written translations into 125 different languages each year.

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