Many people don’t realize that healthcare translations for diverse communities are for those people who live right here in the U.S. and speak a variety of different languages other than English. So what kind of organizations are asking for healthcare translations? It may be the health plan of a particular state that has members that speak other languages and plan information must be provided in that language. It may also be a pharmaceutical company that produces information on disease awareness and how to maintain one’s health with chronic diseases. Healthcare translations are one of our main areas of expertise.
In addition to plan information, there is health information that is translated by different organizations. You can read more about our specific work on healthcare translation with Novo Nordisk on diabetes or our work with Gilead on healthcare translation and patient education with hepatitis B. These organizations produce a lot of content to educate patients on the disease and how to take care of themselves with the management of these diseases.
Healthcare translations for diverse communities
We provide these translations for Hep B in Hmong, Somali, Cambodian (Khmer), Vietnamese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Korean, and Burmese, as well as French, Hausa, Igbo and Twi. Despite improvement in overall health for the majority of Americans, the burden of health disparities continues to disproportionately affect minority populations. Patients are less likely to comply with treatment if they do not understand it (Coleman-Miller, 2000; Woloshin et al., 1995) or have conflicting health beliefs (Coleman-Miller, 2000; Vermeire et al., 2001).
The means to decreasing cultural and language barriers lies in the provision of culturally and linguistically appropriate services to increase understanding and improve quality of care.
Can you guess the language on the slide at the left? It’s one of the 8 mentioned above. It’s Burmese and a fascinating language to work with in typesetting as well. These slides were developed in InDesign which does not have a lot of font support for the Burmese language. Using World Ready Composer and a font that the translator and editor worked in, Zwagyi-One, we are able to resolve the issues that will come about when typesetting this language. Certain characters will tend to flip or become corrupted and there are not many weights of this font so it’s important to work with a firm that specializes in font resolution like we do. This is not an ordinary typesetting job that your inhouse design staff can do!
The slides above are also a good illustration of design in English not necessarily having the same outcome in another language. The #1 symbol is not understood in all languages and a language like Burmese does not use the Roman numerals so the visual impact of the English design looks differently in a language like Burmese.
In order for providers and organizations to effectively deliver health care services, they must meet the social, cultural and linguistic needs of the patient. This is known as cultural competence. It is also a critical strategy to reducing health disparities and improving access to high quality health care that is respectful and responsive to the needs of diverse patients. The Office of Minority Health of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS) in Health Care in December 2000.
Researchers have long known that people of Hispanic/Latino background are at higher risk for type 2 diabetes than non-Hispanic Caucasians. However, within this group, health disparities differ within the diverse subgroups such as Hispanics from Puerto Rico, Cuba, Central and South America, Spain, Mexico and the Caribbean. Organizations such as the CDC, American Diabetes Association and the Office of Minority Health all provide Spanish healthcare translations to provide information on care.
If you are in an organization looking for a partner that specializes in healthcare translations for diverse communities, we will deliver on our promise of making you our priority. You can trust us to be reliable, consistent and knowledgeable in this field of expertise and help move your patients to action for better health.