ULG’s Language Solutions Blog

Types of Language Services in Healthcare

Imagine an expectant mother at a hospital. She knows the doctor is telling her something important, but she doesn’t speak English well enough to convey a response. Fortunately, an interpreter was available to bridge the language gap and turn a potentially tragic event into a joyous outcome. 

It’s well-documented that patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) have greater risk of infections, falls, longer hospital stays, surgical delays and readmissions. And, with more than 60 million U.S. residents speaking a language other than English at home, as reported by the U.S. Census Bureau, providing language services to your patients has never been more important. 

In a world as diverse and culture-rich as ours, providing language solutions to LEP patients is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense as well, resulting in positive ROI, cost reductions and increased revenue. 

 

Types of Healthcare Language Solutions

So, you’re convinced. As a healthcare provider, you definitely need to offer LEP language services. But what are the options? Which ones make sense for your patients?

 

Translation

Oftentimes when we think of a language barrier, speaking and oral communication comes to mind. But what about all the written communications that are a part of the patient experience? That’s where translation comes into the picture.

Language translation refers to converting the written word from one language to another. In healthcare, it includes prescriptions, insurance forms, doctors’ notes, patient instructions and any other document used to communicate during a patient’s care journey, from presentation to discharge and everything in between. 

Accurate language translation is the key to ensuring medicines are taken as prescribed, care instructions are followed and follow-up visits are scheduled. Effective translation starts with language experts who understand your industry. Look for a company that requires its linguists to undergo rigorous testing to make sure they consistently deliver the quality of work you deserve and are proficient in cutting-edge language technology for the most accurate, time-efficient translations.

 

Interpreting

Interpreters help people who speak different languages communicate in person, over the phone, or through technology, like video. From emergency medical calls to business transactions, clear and precise communication is vital for LEP patients and providers.

To provide effective language interpreting services, you’ll need a team who can handle the most prevalent languages spoken in your area. Some metropolitan areas require proficiency in dozens—if not hundreds—of major languages.

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Additionally, for something as unpredictable as healthcare, you’ll need interpreters available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over-the-phone, simultaneous, video remote and in-person interpreting services. Partner with a business who offers these basics, as well as the latest interpreting technology, so you can offer this invaluable service, meet your industry’s compliance standards and expand your reach.

 

Localization

Localization could be the best kept secret in the language service industry—one you may not even recognize you need. However, once you start offering it, you’ll never want to be without it again. It’s all about adapting your digital content on a more granular level to avoid local taboos and appeal to cultural preferences. 

The demand for local-language versions of applications and software is skyrocketing. True digital localization requires more than simple user-interface translations; it demands a trusted partner who meets deadlines, reduces time-consuming errors and understands the nuances of different dialects and cultures. 

To offer an unparalleled patient experience, you’ll want a vendor who is willing to work with your IT, web development and other teams at each stage of the process to ensure effective localization of your software, websites, multilingual application development, internationalization testing and graphical user interfaces (GUIs).

 

Global Marketing Translation

When it comes to your brand messaging, even one word lost in translation is too many. Make sure you seek out vendors with expertise in healthcare and your area of operation who can meld language with technology. 

Strong, multilingual SEO strategies and rich, accurate, consistent content will help you expand your reach and increase conversions. From customized workflows to global marketing campaign development, global marketing translation and transcreation services are the foundation of an effective global marketing plan.

 

SAP Localization and Consulting

Ready to take your SAP solutions global? Services include training in tools and methods, system setup and project scoping, troubleshooting, transport management and development of special solutions for end-to-end translation services, all within a single platform.

SAP localization is ideal for growing companies poised for rapid expansion. If this sounds like you, your company could likely benefit from the smooth, streamlined translation process an experienced SAP partner can provide.

 

Language Solutions for Today’s Providers

According to the previously mentioned U.S. Census Bureau report, just over 20 percent of U.S. residents speak a foreign language at home. Don’t leave the fate of your patients with LEP to chance. A language barrier impacts patients’ comprehension of medical conditions, treatment plans, discharge instructions, medication compliance, adequate preparation for tests and procedures and reliable informed consent.

To learn more about how language solutions can enhance your organization, get started with our Language Access Program Audit, and explore our blog for ongoing updates. 

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