Tag Archive for vialanguage

Introducing a new voice on the Speaking Healthcare blog!

We began the Speaking Healthcare blog more than a year and a half ago. In that time we have touched on a wide range of subjects, including medical translation, the changing makeup of our patient communities, evolving healthcare legislation, emerging technology, and a host of other topics.

I’ve greatly enjoyed exploring these issues with you, and I have learned a great deal along the way. But as we approach the 150-post milestone, it seemed like it might be a good time for a bit of a change. So, starting next week, I will be handing over the reins of the blog to our own VP of Healthcare, Steve Vogeltanz.

Steve is a perfect successor, bringing with him a wealth of knowledge about healthcare translation as well as a tireless curiosity regarding what’s happening in the world of healthcare translation and in the industry at large. I have no doubt that you will enjoy what he brings to the conversation.

In the meantime, let me offer a big thank you to all of you who have joined me over the last months. I’ve appreciated your interest and your thoughtful feedback. It’s been a great ride and a lot of fun. And good luck, Steve!

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!

One medical blog is doing its part to reach the growing Hispanic population

If you read viaLanguage’s companion blog, WorldMarketer, and I recommend you do for its useful insights for your general multicultural marketing efforts, you’ve seen a spate of posts recently exploring the growing importance of the exploding Hispanic population in the U.S.

The larger commercial world is working hard to respond to this dramatic demographic shift, attempting to understand and meet the unique and varied needs of this increasingly influential group. This is just as true for heath care-related organizations, including those in the life science industries, many of whom may even be guilty of having overlooked this audience.

If this is true of your organization, it might be time to follow in the footsteps of one organization that is sincerely trying to do it right. Medgadget, a journal of what it describes as “emerging medical technologies,” has launched a companion Spanish website as well as a Spanish Facebook page and Twitter feed.

Medgadget is written, edited, and published by a team of independent doctors and biomed engineers. We can assume that their decision to devote the time and expense necessary to build and launch the Spanish-only adjuncts was informed by an understanding of the growth of the Hispanic population.

But whether driven by numbers or not, the site likely stands to benefit, as do Spanish-speaking Medgadget readers who now have a choice, which research has revealed is very important to this audience.

How would your Spanish-speaking audience rate your communications?

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!

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!

Interest in healthcare translation services continues to rise

Reduced quality of care, adverse health outcomes, and health disparities can persist unless communication barriers are addressed in the delivery of health services. In fact, more than 23 million Americans have limited English proficiency (LEP), which leads to a plethora of healthcare challenges.

A new policy brief from independent research firm, Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., assesses emerging national efforts to address language barriers and looks specifically at three states — California, Minnesota, and New York. The study highlights challenges, successes, and implications for future policy and activities related to providing language services.

According to Mathematica, in 2008 all 50 states had at least two laws in place for providing these services in healthcare settings, up from 43 states in 2006. However, the laws vary greatly. California, Minnesota, and New York have been at the forefront of these efforts and are considered leaders in providing language services.

The study was funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality and written by Au, Erin Fries Taylor, and Marsha Gold. To learn more, check out the study here: “Improving Access to Language Services in Health Care: A Look at National and State Efforts.”

Good health!