Language Technology in Healthcare: What You Need to Know

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As a healthcare organization, you face what can appear to be a daunting number of regulations surrounding translation, interpretation, and language access as a whole. While these rules may seem to add challenges for your organization, there are many different ways to make your next healthcare translation project easier. If you’re working with a professional Language Service Provider (LSP), a variety of language technologies are available to your organization as part of your partnership. Language technology, like Translation Memory (TM) and Over-the-Phone Interpretation (OPI) can streamline your language access efforts and help you to effectively meet the needs of your end-users.

Language technology: remote interpreting

Interpretation is one of many different language services your healthcare organization will need to make use of to meet current regulations. “the facilitation of spoken or signed language communication between users of different languages.” Interpretation can occur either in a face-to-face or in a remote context. Depending on the size of your healthcare organization, and the language groups you’re likely to interact with, you may find one method of interpretation to work better than another. 

Face-to-face interpretation requires your organization to bring an interpreter into the room. Remote interpreting allows for your interpreter(s) to be located off-site. This can lower costs for your healthcare organization, and expand the number of languages that you can support. There are a few different styles of remote interpretation. 

  • Over-the-phone (OPI) interpretation. In the case that your healthcare organization pursues OPI, your LSP will give you a phone number to call when interpreting services are required. Once you call that number, you’ll be connected with a professional, certified interpreter who will ensure that all parties involved fully understand the discussion at hand. 
  • Video Remote Interpretation (VRI). Another form of remote interpretation, this translation technology can allow your organization to effectively connect with people who have communication disabilities. This form of remote interpretation is particularly useful when sign language needs to be used, but it’s also useful to simply provide the context of body language in a conversation. 

Language technology: Linguistic asset management

Other language technologies will also be useful in streamlining your healthcare translation projects. If you’re looking for written translation services for your organization, you should be sure to pair with an LSP which provides linguistic asset management. 

Linguistic assets, like style guides and glossaries, inform your translators of your organization’s preferences prior to translating your documents. Style guides and glossaries will contain information such as what terms to leave in English, the tone and formality of your document, expected translations of certain terms, and other preferences. These linguistic assets are uploaded into your organization’s Translation Memory (TM) database, which is shared with all of your translators. Your TM is then used to inform translators of your preferences. 

TM also leverages your previous translation projects to see if any translated segments match your current document. If there are matching segments, your translator will use those segments (always ensuring the translation is appropriately high-quality) in your current translation. In this way, TM can support a more streamlined effort at translating your documents – increasing consistency and efficiency across your translation projects, and possibly even saving your organization money. 

The right LSP for your healthcare organization is one that leverages language technology to support your language access goals. Avantpage can help you reach those goals, and meet the needs of your end-users. For more information, or to get started on your next translation project, call us at 530-750-2040, or today.

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