Best Practices for Creating a Multilingual Healthcare Website
The number of people in the U.S. who speak a language other than English is growing. One in five U.S. residents age 5 and older speaks a language other than English at home. That number has more than doubled since 1990. In the nation’s largest cities — New York City, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, and Phoenix — as much as half the population speaks another language at home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
To meet the needs of the growing LEP (Limited English Proficiency) population, hospitals have to provide information in various languages. While having individual policy documents translated is manageable, translating an entire website can be daunting.
Matt Hauser is senior vice president of content solutions at TransPerfect, a language services company. For more than 20 years, TransPerfect has offered human and machine translation services in more than 170 languages to organizations in a variety of fields, including healthcare.
Hauser says translators should undergo rigorous testing to ensure they are proficient in the language required as well as the field or the topic. Because of the varied content types required, translators should be subject matter experts.
“Depending on the use case for the content, you want to make sure you’re using the right mix of translators. For a hospital, if you’re translating marketing materials, you should use a translator with experience in that field. But if you move into something more medical-related, you should use a translator that is a physician or has worked in a clinical setting,” he says.
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