Tag Archive for english

Access to justice another casualty of poor translation services

As anyone who has read Speaking Healthcare knows, or anyone that has worked with viaLanguage for that matter, one of our key aims is to help ensure that language does not prevent equal access to healthcare for limited English proficient (LEP) patients.

A recent news item underscores that healthcare is not the only arena in which language can prove a frustrating and potentially damaging obstruction. Last week American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a legal brief in the state of Georgia for what can only be considered a dereliction of justice.

In the case in question, a Chinese (Mandarin) speaker was sentenced to 10 years in prison after a trial in which she did not understand any of the proceedings. According to reports, her own attorney failed to request an interpreter for fear of delaying the trial or annoying the jury.

And it’s not an issue unique to the U.S. Countries from Australia to South Africa to Korea are seeking to improve their legal interpreting standards and services. In Ireland, the Irish Times recently revisited a 2003 case in which a Mongolian man did not understand the reading of his rights, a breakdown that led to a review of standards that by the paper’s assessment has produced little benefit.

What seems clear is that just as challenges remain to ensuring equal access to healthcare for LEP patients, so too are their language barriers to an equal access to justice. The upside is that both failings can be easily rectified: It’s simply a matter of delivering effective translation services.

Good health!

For a smoother healthcare translation project, start with the technology

Technology can play a critical role in translation and localization projects, and both Flash and XML are important pieces of that technology puzzle. To make life easier it’s best to acquire a good understanding of what they are how they work.

XML stands for Extensible Markup Language and allows the creator of XML Web pages to be more creative and extensive when setting up a Web site. To correctly localize XML documents your language service provider (LSP) team needs to know which elements and attributes are translatable.

Flash files are designed for video, graphics and animation and are editable with Adobe or Macromedia Flash software. Flash often reads text from resource files, which are often XML, so your LSP team can translate the XML files associated with the Flash file.

Both Flash and XML files can sometimes also include subfiles and reference material that you can provide to your LSP in order to make the localization process even easier.

For more, check out “Speaking Your Customer’s Language”.

Good health!


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!