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If you’re looking into Spanish translation of diabetes information, you’ll be in excellent company. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has both English and Spanish versions of their “Diabetes” page, which include general information about the condition, tips on preventing Type 2 diabetes, and articles about meal planning and weight management. Pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk also publishes their NovoCare website in English and Spanish. Similarly to the CDC pages, NovoCare offers educational materials and resources related to diabetes.

A chart from Pew Research Center that shows Spanish-dominant Hispanic Americans are more likely than those who mainly speak English to think Hispanic healthcare providers are better at key aspects of careDiabetes in the United States

According to the American Diabetes Association, the total cost of diagnosed diabetes in 2022 was approximately $412.9 billion dollars, and diabetes was the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S. in 2021.

Data from 2019 – 2021 indicates that 11.7% of Hispanic adults in the U.S. had diabetes compared to 6.9% of white, non-Hispanic adults. Furthermore, a 2022 Pew Research Center report indicated that 44% of Hispanic Americans say that more communication problems from language or cultural differences is a major reason why Hispanic people have generally worse health outcomes than other adults in the U.S.

Best Practices for Spanish Translation of Diabetes InformationThe "Eating" section of Novo Nordisk's Spanish-language NovoCare site

Diabetes management isn’t just about medical facts; it’s also about lifestyle adjustments. So, it’s important to consider both the clinical and the personal in Spanish translation of diabetes information. To account for the clinical aspect, always work with a team that specializes in healthcare translations and has experience with diabetes and disease management. Scientific concepts like insulin resistance and blood glucose need to be clearly and correctly communicated to ensure patient understanding and facilitate helpful decision-making. At the same time, it’s also important to understand and incorporate cultural nuances related to diet, lifestyle, and healthcare practices. Spanish-speaking communities may have unique dietary habits, beliefs, and health practices. A skilled localization team considers these nuances to create contextually appropriate translations.

Making Diabetes Information More Accessible

It’s great that the CDC and Novo Nordisk have Spanish-language versions of their websites. Spanish translation of diabetes information is important and we’re here to help if that’s what you’re looking for. With that being said, diabetes affects millions of people from all over the world who speak languages other than English and Spanish. If you translate your materials and resources into a variety of languages, you can multiply the effectiveness of your efforts. And be sure you consider health literacy and plain language writing for your English-language copy.

It goes without saying that there are dozens, if not hundreds, of data points not covered in this post that are worth taking into account when it comes to healthcare inequities. If we want to change the current status quo around diabetes in the United States, educational materials, drug labels, and other resources must be accessible to diverse populations, including Spanish speakers.