Changing Communication Needs

As the COVID-19 public health crisis sweeps across the globe, organizations of all types find themselves needing to communicate urgent messaging at unprecedented rates. Whether it’s patient information, school notices, election postponements, or workplace health and safety practices, digital communication is an essential tool in the fight to contain the novel Coronavirus. And with huge portions of the population under shelter-in-place directives, accessible, culturally-appropriate, and timely communication is as important as ever for immigrant and LEP communities. 

Public agencies and healthcare organizations likely have partnerships in place for translating this COVID-19 related messaging. For those new to translation, the thought of creating a localization program from scratch at a time like this is understandably daunting. With so many moving parts to the communications process and a huge volume of frequent updates, there is a risk that translation will fall to already overburdened bilingual employees. It may be handled through ad-hoc and disjointed requests to multiple LSPs (Language Services Providers). Worse still, it may not happen at all, leaving limited-English speakers with an information gap that could prove disastrous. 

The good news is that the challenge is by no means insurmountable. In fact, the written translation industry is already well situated to adapt to a 100% remote working model without any interruption to business operations. The tools and technologies available mean that accurate, consistent translation is achievable in a very short amount of time. The right translation partner will take the pressure off your staff and ensure that communications are clear and accessible. Now is the time to rely on that partner for an efficient process. Avantpage has identified six areas of concern, with simple solutions for your team.


Terminology management
Inconsistent terminology leads to confusion at a time when clear messaging is essential. Ask your LSP if they have built COVID-19 glossaries in your threshold languages. This should be used by their translators and your reviewers, if you have an internal review process in place. Using Translation Memory (a database of previously-translated content) also provides this consistency and greatly shortens delivery by reusing text from previous projects.

Take a moment to look at your translation request process. If your teams are making requests ad hoc, they may be using different LSPs or individual translators, resulting in duplicated efforts and inconsistencies. Consider centralizing through one person/team, and ask your LSP about best practices. Avantpage offers free consultation in this area.

Turnaround Times
Ask your LSP how they are shortening delivery cycles and processing after-hours requests/deliveries. Be sure that your teams understand the different options and associated costs, and consult with your vendor on best practices to ensure streamlined processing. This streamlining is essential not only during COVID-19, but for all of your translation needs.

Bilingual Employees
Now more than ever is the time to recognize the pitfalls of relying on bilingual employees. With teams working from home and handling increased workloads, be sure you have an external solution that you can trust for your multilingual messaging. LSPs have access to linguistic assets and specialist tools not always available to your staff members.

Safe handling of PHI
If you handle sensitive data or private health information (PHI), then your LSP should already comply with regulations such as HIPAA (Health Information Portability and Accountability Act). Now is no exception. If you are concerned about this, ask how they are ensuring compliance while their teams work remotely. 

It may not seem a priority now, but in the future you may want to see separate or comparison reporting for COVID and non-COVID translation projects. This helps plan for future situations, and, depending on your emergency funding, could help with grants or other financial programs. Ask your LSP if they are storing this information and will be able to provide reports now or at a later point.

Take pressure off your team

Your team is working harder than ever to fulfill their roles while adjusting to new work environments, scheduling increased video calls, and juggling family responsibilities. Not to mention keeping themselves safe and well at this time. By asking the right questions when it comes to translation, you’ll ensure they have one less thing to worry about. Working with the right LSP will improve your process and your messaging. And improved messaging keeps your LEP community safe and informed. 

If you are looking for more information about the translation process, or need multilingual messaging now, please visit our website or contact [email protected].