Tag Archive for translation services

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.


Speaking Healthcare Blog is Back!

What better month to re-launch our blog than “health literacy” month?  Health Literacy Month is a time for organizations and individuals to promote the importance of understandable health information. Since its inception in 1999, there have been hundreds, if not thousands, of awareness-raising events taking place worldwide. Our hats off to Helen Osborne who founded this great effort!

At VIA, our mission is to improve healthcare access for under-served  Limited English Speaking (LEP) communities. Health literacy affects us all. In fact, research indicates that today’s health information is presented in ways that are simply unusable by most adults. In today’s rapidly changing environment, it so important to provide health information that effectively contributes to access, informed decisions, and improved outcomes. We can build our own health literacy skills and help others – community members, health professionals, and anyone else who communicates about health  – and build their skills, too.

We also like to recognize, celebrate and support organizations that are making a difference in the delivery of healthcare to those communities with Limited English Proficiency. That commitment was the genesis of our Healthcare Translation Grant Program, and remains its mission today. With that focus in mind, we were pleased to announce our 2012 grant recipients this week – Providence Hospital in the District of Columbia and Washington Regional Medical Foundation.  We are proud to assist these special non-profit organizations that are committed to improving the health of their communities.

Until next time,


Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative putting grant to work to benefit LEP communities

The ability for healthcare organizations to reach healthcare goals has perhaps never been more complex or more challenging. But the reality is that the need to meet those goals has likely never been more critical, especially among limited English proficiency (LEP) communities.

The viaLanguage Healthcare Translation Grant Program is one way we hope to help. The grant reflects our desire to spotlight and support those innovative healthcare organizations that are finding a way to improve access for today’s underserved, ethnic audiences.

Our 2010 grant recipient, the Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative in California, is a prime example. After conducting a baseline assessment of the uninsured in Alameda County in 2009, they concluded that the biggest finding was how challenging it was to gather information, especially amongst the smaller limited-scope providers.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative collaborated with a range of partners to develop a website that provides a comprehensive list of clinics, including both free and community clinics, an explanation of the different types of services they offer, and the processes patients must go through to get an appointment with a doctor.

Alameda County Access to Care Collaborative applied its $5,000 of in-kind translation services to the translation of the website into Spanish and Chinese, proving along the way that today’s most pressing healthcare challenges can be overcome. We applaud and congratulate them. Click here to read the entire case study about this project.

Medical translation driving translation industry growth in India

Globalization has ushered in unprecedented opportunities to reach new audiences, incorporate new efficiencies, and build new partnerships. It connects untold people to resources and possibilities unheard of even 20 years ago. But there are challenges, and countries across the globe are trying to keep up.

In a recent Global Watchtower post, Vijaylaxmi Hegde explores how one of the increasingly important players in the global economy―India—is dealing with a key challenge: medical translation. What’s more, she points out that this need is helping fuel, inform and further the nation’s general translation and localization industry.

In countries like Sweden and the U.K., the need for translation has been driven by the demands of growing immigrant and refugee populations. But in India that impetus is being delivered in part by what is being called “medical tourism.”

In recent years, patients from countries like Saudi Arabia, Iran, and others have begun traveling to India for care, and as they do so they are bringing with them new and largely unfamiliar language and cultural requirements. The medical translation community is scrambling to respond.

As globalization continues to forge connections between far-flung cultures and peoples, and those peoples travel for work, business, or, in the case of India, health, the demand for translation will only grow more acute. Medical translation must rise to meet the challenge if such opportunities are to be truly successful or ultimately sustainable.

Till next time,

Healthcare reform set to increase demand for medical translation

The Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us we can expect the healthcare industry to grow over the next decade. How much? Forecasts are that about one in four jobs created in the U.S. through 2018 will be in healthcare.

The engines behind such growth are fairly easy to identify: America’s aging population and the $940 billion Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) passed last March. What some may neglect to appreciate is what this means for medical translation.

Industry analysts suggest these developments could lead to an increase in the insurance rolls of approximately 44 million people. Most striking for medical translators is that half of those will be coming from communities in which English is not the primary language.

Not surprisingly, a great many of these limited English proficient (LEP) Americans are applauding the reform and looking forward to the welcome coverage. For example, a recent New America Media poll revealed that more than 65 percent of Korean-Americans, the nation’s most underinsured ethnic group, support the reform package.

But such growth is also likely to trigger a spike in the need for medical translation, which the new legislation mandates must be “culturally and linguistically appropriate.” Plus, this now applies not only to health plan details, but also benefit, prescription, and treatment information, a big change. And most significantly perhaps it must all be completed by July 1, 2011.

Today’s uninsured are ready. But will the industry be ready to receive them?

Till 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!

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!

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!