What are healthcare translations and why do you need them?

Healthcare translations are an incredibly important part of ensuring the safety and satisfaction of all of your patients or members. Just to clarify, when we’re talking about translation, it refers to the conversion of written text from one language into another. The translated text reflects the content of the original text but also aligns with the culture, customs, and language of the new target audience. The linguists who translate your documents examine the context of your document and the core message you’re communicating in order to make the translated document valuable to your users. Another key component of serving your Limited English Proficient (LEP) audiences is interpretation, in which the spoken word is converted into another language in real-time.

Communicating with your members or patients in the language they speak on a day-to-day basis is mandated for the healthcare sector. The laws and regulations that apply to healthcare each set out guidelines surrounding who can translate your documents, as well as what documents you need to have translated. However, there are many other reasons that translation is a service you should employ as a healthcare organization.

The benefits of healthcare translations

In the United States, there are roughly 25 million Limited English Proficient (LEP) residents. They speak languages other than English and may have limited or no knowledge of the English language. Due to this, LEP residents are frequently left behind and have limited access to the services and accommodations needed to improve quality of life and health.

Multiple studies have been done that show a lower level of care quality for LEP people as they seek healthcare services. The Journal for Healthcare Quality has recently published a study stating that LEP patients face more medication errors and lack of informed consent because interpreters weren’t used by staff in all cases. The American Academy of Pediatrics discovered that LEP patients are more likely to suffer from adverse events and longer hospital stays once they are admitted.

There’s an easy way to reduce these negative outcomes that come from misunderstanding. By improving your language access plan, and ensuring your translation are high-quality and accurate, you can increase the safety and satisfaction of your LEP patients, clients, and members. Beyond that, the International Customer Management Institute (ICMI) reported that adding language services to a healthcare organization not only improved satisfaction with customer support but also that it increased loyalty to the organization overall.

Not all healthcare translations are equal

Improving, or instituting, your language access plan is only beneficial if it takes into consideration the needs of your patients, clients, and members. If documents are translated poorly, LEP patients are likely to lose confidence in your ability to treat them. Similarly, if your interpreters are not available when they need to be, LEP patients will, again, lose confidence and may even allow their healthcare concerns to take a back seat out of frustration. The key to instituting or improving your language access plan so it can be successful is to ensure the healthcare translations you provide are of the highest levels of both quality and accuracy. When provided, high-quality translations increase the social value of your organization, while also ensuring that you’re compliant with all healthcare regulations.

In order to get high-quality, accurate healthcare translations, you’ll need to hire an experienced and specialized medical Language Service Provider. The translations that you receive from a professional Language Service Provider are culturally aware, industry aware, and inclusive of your audience.

We can help you increase the safety and satisfaction of your LEP patients, clients, and members, as well as increase the reputation your healthcare organization holds in the community. Get started with your translation project today, give us a call at 530-750-2040 or request a free quote.