Tag Archive for cultural diversity

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.

Leslie

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:

Leslie

U.S. government makes pledge to address health needs of minority groups

If you’re a member of a minority group in the U.S., chances are good that your healthcare, and consequently your health, are worse than that of the rest of the population. This includes everything from higher infant mortality rates to a greater likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and asthma to a shorter life expectancy.

In response, the U.S. government recently announced a first-of-its-kind plan focused on righting the imbalance and bringing parity to healthcare and healthcare access. It addresses the role to be played by doctors, federal health officials, and communities at large, and includes a wide spectrum of health-related objectives, including the following:

  • Increase by 10 percent the number of poor children who receive preventive dental care.
  • Hire local community health workers to help diabetics.
  • Enlist “promotoras,” the name given to community health workers who work with Spanish speakers.
  • Develop incentives to improve care for minority groups.
  • Conduct new studies regarding which treatments work best for minority groups.
  • Create a national online database of certified interpreters that doctors or hospitals can use for non-English-speaking patients.
  • Create state grants to measure and improve care for asthma.

The report also asserts that the funds to finance the multifaceted program would come from existing sources and so is not contingent upon current budget wrangling, which is good.

A promising declaration of purpose, the plan could surely have a beneficial impact in these needy communities. We look forward to seeing what happens from here.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Recent studies conclude that race impacts cancer care

A series of recent studies reveals some alarming realities about apparent inequities in healthcare access among different races in the U.S. The investigations addressed cancer care specifically, looking into how racial factors, in addition to financial influences, impact diagnosis, treatment and survival.

In one report conducted at George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services, it was determined that race played a larger role than insurance in a woman’s getting a timely breast cancer diagnosis.

Of the almost 1,000 women examined, the study found that white women with private insurance waited on average almost 16 days between testing and diagnosis, while privately insured black women waited more than 27 days and Hispanics more than 51 days. The numbers are even more disparate when you get to women on Medicare/Medicaid (11.9, 39.4, and 70.8 days respectively) and uninsured women (44.5, 59.7, and 66.5 days, respectively).

The research team, surprised at the results, concluded that the current barriers, especially those faced by black and Hispanic women, and by extension, we assume, non-white women generally, deserve additional study.

One of those barriers has already been identified and is not surprising to multicultural marketers: cultural differences. We can predict as well that lurking just behind that heading reside the myriad challenges attendant to embracing and overcoming linguistic and language differences.

For more on the studies and what they found, check out the HealthDay story.

Till next time,
Steve
viaLanguage

Remember fellow medical translators, Spain is more than just Spanish

It bears repeating: Language matters. It is, of course, one of our abiding mantras at viaLanguage and one that we keep top of mind when working with our healthcare clients as they endeavor to reach their limited-English proficient (LEP) patients.

And it’s not easy. As anyone involved in medical translation, or any kind of translation, can tell you, it involves a great deal more than replacing the words of one language with those of another. We’ve discussed how Spanish, for example, can differ from country to country, but that’s just the beginning.

Consider the challenges of communicating with your patients from Spain. This would seem a fairly straightforward situation: use Spanish or perhaps neutral Spanish. But a recent post on the Medical Translation Insight blog underscored why this might not be as easy as it seems at first blush.

In truth, Spain is culturally and linguistically diverse. And while Spanish is admittedly the dominant language, did you know that the country actually has five official languages? They are Castilian, which is also referred to as Spanish, Catalan, Basque, Galician, and Aranese.

Not surprisingly, the Spanish tend to be multilingual, but the speakers of these other languages are proudly protective of their language’s role in the culture and history of their people and region.

To learn more about the language breakdown in Spain, visit the blog post. In the meantime, it’s good for us to remember that to communicate effectively we must never ignore our duty to develop an understanding of the culture of our audience, even when it seems obvious.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

How to translate working with communities into giving back to them

At viaLanguage, we like to believe that at its heart medical translation, and in fact all translation, is really about building community. That’s what effective communication makes possible. So, I guess you could say we sort of have a community-minded focus just by virtue of the work we do.

Looking at it this way, it makes sense that we would feel a natural desire to give back. And I wanted to take this post to formally applaud all the people at viaLanguage, and beyond, who find the time and make the effort to do that during the year. Cheers to all of you!

Are you looking for some philanthropic ideas for your company? Here are few organizations and efforts we support:

Humane Society – viaLanguage donates one paid day to each employee to support their favorite non-profit. The company also offers an annual team volunteer opportunity. This year it’s the Humane Society—because pets are also part of the community!
Operation Cornbread – viaLanguage supports Sisters of the Road Café in Portland, Ore., as part of that organization’s annual matching program, Operation Cornbread, which keeps food coming to the needy during the peak summer months.
• Annual Translation Grants – We offer in-kind translation grants for organizations reaching out to limited English proficient (LEP) communities, both Healthcare and K12.
Heifer International – We provide annual support to a needy family by purchasing and donating a cow. Learn more about this unique program in an earlier post.

As the Oregon Lottery once said, though I paraphrase, “Your odds of winning are 550,000 to one—significantly higher than if you don’t play.” And it’s the same with making a difference. Act and you can help.

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

A hearty good luck to the translators at this year’s World Cup

We spend a good deal of time and energy in our discussions here exploring the challenges that go along with medical translation. And there are many to be sure; our world is only growing more heterogeneous and complicated. But sometimes it can be reassuring to remember that other industries face even greater translation challenges.

This occurred to me in reading about the World Cup currently under way in South Africa. Just consider for a moment that this event, the largest sporting spectacle in the world, is comprised of teams from 32 nations, with 350,000 on-site fans, 500 million more watching on TV, and by some estimates more than $3 billion in media and marketing revenues.

I began to imagine the sorts of heavy lifting necessary to ensure that all the various audiences, with their unique languages and cultures, enjoy equal access to accurate, up-to-date information about the games. South Africa alone has 11 official languages!

A recent post on the Global Watchtower blog identified just a few of items on what must be a very long list. Needs include signage, website localization, translation of tourist brochures, press announcements, voice-over, and on-site medial translation support. The official World Cup website itself is available in six languages (Arabic, English, French, German, Spanish, and Portuguese).

So, if you ever feel overwhelmed by your medical translation demands, just remember: It could be worse. J

Good health!
Chanin
viaLanguage

Cultural adaptation a key for healthcare translation for Vietnamese

Did you know that Vietnamese is the seventh most spoken language in the U.S.? About 1 million people speak it at home. Census numbers from 2000 put the total number of Vietnamese living in the U.S. at 1.2 million. That’s sizable.

Bringing with them a strong Buddhism influence, Vietnamese have their own unique way of looking at healthcare. Things like a respect for elders and those in authority, a belief that life is a cycle of suffering and rebirth, and a focus on the community over the individual all impact the way Vietnamese patients interact with healthcare in the U.S.

For example, medical treatment can be delayed because pain and illness are simply considered part of life. Decisions about care can be slow in coming as such decisions are frequently made as a family. Folk or herbal remedies might be favored or used in parallel with western approaches. But because western medication is sometimes viewed as too strong for the smaller Vietnamese body, patients may cut their dosage or discontinue it altogether after symptoms disappear.

Healthcare translation is about language, yes. But it is just as important with communities like the Vietnamese that those translations are informed by an understanding of the culture.

Good health!
Chanin

http://www.vialanguage.com/providing-culturally-conscious-healthcare-to-the-vietnamese-immigrant-community/

Don’t forget cultural elements in your next medical translation project

Vocabulary and grammar are just two parts of effective medical translation. Accounting for the cultural makeup of your audience also plays a key role in determining if you’ll be understood. Ignoring it can be costly for you and your patient.

We call this step “cultural adaptation” and it provides the lens through which your non-English-speaking communities view your healthcare organization, your products and services, and ultimately your value.

Colors, symbols, images — all are part of your message. In fact, they are often responsible for the initial response in your audience before even a single word is read. So it’s imperative to adapt the entire communication, not just the words, to ensure the desired result.

The right translation partner can help you understand the protocols and taboos for effectively communicating with all your healthcare communities.

Good luck!
Chanin