The healthcare sector is at the heart of the ongoing fight against Covid-19. This Valentine’s Day we would like to say a big thank you to the NHS and healthcare teams around the world! To mark the occasion, we are exploring the area of healthcare we know best – communications and translations. From NHS translations and health information translations to using translation apps in healthcare –we explore in this blog how language is truly at the heart of the healthcare sector.
H – Health translations in different languages
Healthcare is one sector where language is especially important. There are all manner of documents institutions like the NHS need to translate, including medication instructions, leaflets about diseases, and administration and safety guides for healthcare professionals. This is not as simple as it may first appear; healthcare is a service everyone needs at some point during their lives. With people from many different socio-economic backgrounds, ethnicities, age groups and personalities requiring support, the challenge of how best to present medical information needs to be considered.
Given that ailments and diseases can often be emotive for patients and their families, sensitivity is a key consideration. In the pre Covid-19 era, when most medical appointments were done face-to-face, or in the current climate when diagnosing patients via the phone is commonplace, it is important to consider the part interpreters can play. Interpreters are confronted with a huge challenge when communicating vital healthcare information, as they need to adopt a sympathetic, understanding tone while accurately portraying diagnosis. This becomes increasingly complex when you consider the use of healthcare apps such as Livi, which allows patients to speak to GPs via a video link.
E – Evolving healthcare communications
Healthcare communications are constantly changing and adapting. New diseases such as Covid-19 represent communication challenges of their own. Terms that were once the reserve of doctors and nurses, and perhaps the occasional patient, can become mainstream. This means messaging needs to be easy to understand and instructions clear so they can be followed and acted upon by everyone, including the most vulnerable in society. New words may be needed to facilitate the use of treatments, equipment and innovations. Jargon must be debunked, with words being conceived now, during the Covid-19 pandemic, possibly becoming mainstream for years to come.
A – Accurate translations
Health translations need to be provided in a range of languages to ensure patients can understand diagnosis, medication, and treatment options. Failure to understand the alternatives could drastically change the course of a patient’s life and wellbeing. Therefore, accuracy should be the most important aspect of translations for healthcare. Investment needs to be made to make sure that those with translation requirements are catered for – failure to do so could mean underrepresented groups being left behind in terms of equal treatment and access to healthcare.
R – Reliable NHS translations
We talk a lot about the quality of translations here at Albion Languages. While being able to understand individual words is useful, translation goes far beyond that. In every language and culture, there are vital nuances and subtleties that are influenced by lifestyle, language structure and traditions. Have you ever read a translated text where you could understand the literal meaning, but some of the word choices meant it didn’t flow? Or where the punctuation wasn’t typical of your native language? These are the little details that can make a big difference in ensuring reliable NHS translations and other healthcare communications. They are crucial to building trust, a notion which underpins the entire healthcare provider/patient relationship. In the current climate, when we’re reminded of just how vital our NHS is, there’s often a lot we don’t consider in terms of the challenges placed on the healthcare sector.
T – Turnaround time for translations
If the Covid-19 pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that it’s best to be prepared. While few could have predicted the pandemic and its catastrophic implications, being reactive is not enough. In this instance, turnaround time for translations needs to be fast. As the situation develops day by day, and innovations such as the approved vaccines are being created faster than ever before, it’s crucial that translations keep pace to ensure equal access to all.