Tag Archive for Language Translation

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!

Why Centralize Your Healthcare Translation Approach?

When it comes to translations, maintaining consistency and efficiency can be tricky, especially when organizations are managing multiple languages and multiple translation vendors. How can healthcare organizations ensure their brand is consistently translated from one language service provider to the next? And how can version control be maintained when there are numerous versions of documents living in multiple places at once?

The key to avoiding these issues is establishing a centralized translation process. While this may not be the solution for every organization, it may be the right step for larger organizations that are challenged with some of the following:

  • Supporting large volumes in one or more languages
  • Various types of healthcare content
  • Standardized healthcare preferences and terms
  • Private health information content
  • Meeting compliance regulations
  • Desire to improve quality management, reduce costs and minimize mistakes

If any of the above applies to your organization, it may be time to consider the idea of centralization. Centralizing enables fast, predictable turnaround of multilingual projects and delivers cost savings through the use of linguistic assets such as translation memories and technology tools. Centralization also saves time by allowing for a single record of all active and live documents that have been translated. It takes a bit of effort to get there, but it’s definitely worth your while. To read more about centralizing, and how it worked for a large California health System, click here.


Tips for Creating Readable Health Materials in any Language

To help increase readability, consider these 4 tips when creating healthcare materials in other languages.

1. Health materials should focus on key messages and what patients need to know. Best practices include:
• Write clearly and in an active voice.
• Use familiar vocabulary and simple terminology.
• Use short sentences.
• Use graphics, videos or pictures that “show” rather than “tell.”
• Keep materials at a fourth- to sixth-grade level.

2. Employ readability tools to analyze and ensure the proper literacy levels.
• Word processing applications such as Microsoft Word can automatically determine the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level and readability ranking.
• Because readability formulas used in English can’t be applied to foreign language documents, professional translators should utilize various other language-specific assessment tests.
• For Spanish, consider the Huerta Readability formula (HRE), an assessment similar to the Flesch-Kincaid Grade Level test designed for analyzing texts in Spanish.

3. Health materials should be culturally relevant.
• Use images and examples that reflect the target audience. Pictures should display people of their own demographic rather than a generic stock photo of an “ethnic” person or family.
• If menu/food recommendations are included, they should reflect items that are relevant to that audience’s daily diet.
• Do not use slang or cultural references that may be unfamiliar to an immigrant or LEP population.
• Initiate a community review to test materials for comprehension and effectiveness.

4. Use professional linguists.
Materials should be translated by professional linguists and reviewed for grammatical inconsistencies and readability, important details that are beyond the capabilities of machine or computer-based translations.



Medical translation aided by emerging smart phone apps

In an astonishingly short period of time we have graduated from cell phones to smart phones. Aptly named, the latter devices make their predecessors seem like the communication equivalent of the game Pong.

In the last year, with the spread of the iPhone and competitors like the Android, applications for smart phones have exploded, including development of a number of promising translation tools. Apple’s AppStore alone boasts more than a dozen translation applications. Two that deserve special attention are those from Jibbigo and PicTranslator.

The Jibbigo application converts English speech into Spanish or the other way around. Users speak into the phone in one language and the phone answers with the translated version. PicTranslator employs the phone’s built-in camera. You simply take a picture of the text you wish to translate, choose the desire language, and the application does the rest. It can also help with guidance in pronunciation.

The tools are not designed specifically for healthcare environments, and they are in no way a replacement for trained medical translation professionals. But it is easy to see how such applications could prove useful—and perhaps even critical—in circumstances where time or resources did not afford medical staff any other option.

As mainstream technology continues to evolve, we should be on the lookout for those tools that can help medical personnel ensure that they are always saying what they mean to their patients.

Check out these links for demos of Jibbigo and PicTranslator.

New IFR rules include a provision that addresses translation need

As Chanin announced here last week, the Speaking Healthcare blog is now under new management. And she has left some big shoes to fill. But I’m really looking forward to continuing to bring you informative posts on healthcare subjects that explore the industry and how medical translation fits into it. Let me thank you up front for joining me.

I thought I would start with a recent piece of news some may have missed. I’m referring to the announcement of the interim final regulations (IFR) for internal claims and appeals and external review processes under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The rules were put out by the Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury and include six new requirements. Most important for our purposes with regard to language access is rule number 5.

Called “Enhanced Notice,” it stipulates that a healthcare plan or issuer must provide notice to enrollees in a “culturally and linguistically appropriate manner.” What’s more, if more than an established maximum number of people are only able to speak in a given language, notices in that language are required. A description of available internal appeals and external review processes must also be made available, along with directions about how to begin an appeal. Finally, should additional help be necessary, contact information and the availability of a healthcare insurance ombudsmen must be provided to assist with the internal claims and appeals and external review processes.

It’s exciting to see the language needs of today’s limited English proficient (LEP) patients addressed in such an important context. Model notices for the Enhanced Notice rule are scheduled to be available soon. To review the other new rules, check out this summary.

Until next time,

Google looking to help fuel global medical translation availability

Google seems to be everywhere these days. Be it discussions with Verizon about the future of the Internet or talks with China about Internet freedom, they are helping drive many important conversations that promise to directly and indirectly impact global communication.

They are also a company whose professed operating principle is “do no harm,” and many of their enterprises seek to demonstrate a commitment to the greater good. That looks to be the intent of a recent announcement by Google’s philanthropic side, Google.org, to help make health-related information available to people around the world, regardless of their language.

Called Health Speaks, the effort intends to use community, crowdsourced, and collaborative translation, tools we’ve addressed in earlier posts here, to promote and facilitate access to health care information. The approach hinges on volunteers, who will be responsible for translating the health-related content.

To help get things started, for each word translated during the first 60 days Google will donate US$0.03 to one of three non-profit organizations—Children’s Cancer Hospital Egypt, the Public Health Foundation of India, and the African Medical and Research Foundation—up to total of $150,000.

At present, the project, which launches as a pilot, will only address three languages: Arabic, Hindi, and Swahili. A modest beginning to be sure, the initiative nevertheless represents the growing public awareness that access to health care information remains one of the most important hurdles to wellness across the planet.

Good health!

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!

Mark your calendar for free medical translation webinar Sept. 16

If healthcare organizations hope to thrive in today’s multicultural melting pot, they have to meet the language access needs of their limited-English proficient (LEP) patients. This is not news to most of you. You deal with that challenge every day. But true success means creating a medical translation program that is economically sustainable, no small thing in today’s world of shrinking budgets and growing demand.

For those who know they can do better when it comes to serving their LEP patients, but aren’t always sure how to pay for the support that requires, viaLanguage is offering a free webinar entitled “Tips to Streamline and Save on Your Healthcare Translations.” Here’s the when:

Sept. 16th at 8:00 a.m. (HT), 11:00 a.m. (PT), 1:00 p.m. (CT), 2:00 p.m. (ET)

As for the what, the webinar will explore new techniques and tips for streamlining your translation process, without compromising the quality or effectiveness of your communications. Topics include:

• Innovative practices for ensuring accurate, readable health materials, including health literacy and cultural assessment
• Recommendations for cutting time and costs while maintaining quality
• Incorporating translation tools and Translation Memory into your projects
• Machine translation today – is it free?

Maybe you’re just getting started with medical translation or perhaps you just want to get the most up-to-date information on today’s best practices. Either way, we hope you can join us!

Good health!

Translation glossaries can be helpful, but are not a silver bullet

If you’re translation professional, you’re undoubtedly already exploiting the vast resources available on the Internet. Every week it seems there is some new tool or technique being introduced that promises to help you do your job.

But it can be confusing parsing out the real solutions from the fanciful, the fully realized from the half baked. And then even when you find an online-driven strategy that promises to help, it can take time to incorporate that tool into your communications program.

Among the useful, but still maturing, innovations is the growing number of web translation glossaries. Created by the contributions of users, these resources are becoming increasingly popular with translators. Whether it’s a definition or an entire document you need, it’s possible someone else has addressed it and added it to the glossary’s database.

But as with everything else on the web, it can be both dicey and time consuming to wade through the myriad sites currently available. Linguee and MyMemory have been identified by some as representing the top-tier alternatives. They offer context where others don’t, and permit users to add their own suggested translation and rate the quality of available translations.

No matter which sites you use, bear in mind that there is no replacement for an experienced translation professional. Just think back to your own work. Chances are good that you can cite examples that would require a high level knowledge to even construct a search. And then there’s the little matter of determining the accuracy of the results.

Good health!

Third edition of ‘Best Practices for Healthcare” now available

Healthcare professionals have an astonishing amount on their plate these days. With evolving regulatory requirements, emerging technology, and the ever-present considerations of cost and risk, it is little wonder that some find it a challenge to also meet their medical translation goals.

After more than a decade working in the industry, including partnering with some 400 healthcare organizations across the U.S., we’ve learned a bit about how best to tackle this difficult enterprise. We’ve taken that knowledge and distilled it down into a handy, easy-to-use guide.

Called “Beyond Translation: Best Practices for Healthcare,” the guide outlines a range of best practices, offers some time-tested tips, shares a few success stories from other healthcare organizations, and points you to valuable translation resources to explore, all with the intention of helping you achieve your medical translation objectives.

We know from working with many of you that each organization has different needs. Some of you might just be beginning to address language access issues, while others could be looking for new ideas and maybe even a dose of encouragement. No matter where you fall, our hope is that you will find something helpful in its pages.

This is our third—and we hope most useful—edition of “Beyond Translation,” and as always we’re making it available to any and all for free. So, if you would like a copy, simply visit the registration page and let us know. You can download it right there, or we’re happy to send you a copy.

Good health!