Documents and Nuances of Translating for Healthcare

The healthcare industry needs to take their message around the world and they have different documents with different characteristics and nuances from the translation point of view.

So nothing is more important than a smooth and clear communication between providers and patients.

Healthcare documents vary widely in content, purpose, length and several other aspects, but any seasoned healthcare translator will agree that the following are the ones that make the most regular appearances in their daily translation workflow:

  • Pamphlets and flyers: Pamphlets and flyers are intended to engage patients into taking certain actions and are, thus, marketing-oriented. The information included is usually highlights of prevention measures, health tips, patient benefits, and even travel safety briefings. Though this material may look simple, translators must translate out of the box, bringing out their inner advertisers and even becoming creative writers to be as appealing as the original text and adjust play on words or rhymes to the new culture.
  • Health plan letters: These much more down to business type of documents are generally sent to members to inform about decisions/actions taken by their health plan regarding complaint investigations, appeal resolutions, coverage determinations, authorizations, denials, and so on. An eye for detail comes in very handy, as special attention must be paid to what the letter is informing: Was the service approved? Was the copay waived? Does the member have further appeal options? What type of language should be used for the addressee to understand it clearly?
  • Patient brochures: These brochures usually accompany medications and they contain prescribing information, administration guides, important safety information, common side effects, and so forth. The challenge of these documents is usually the specific and highly technical terminology, which not only demands accurateness and precision but also field-specific knowledge, as even minor mistakes in the wording of the translation can have very serious consequences for patients and/or medicine manufacturers.
  • Health Plan Documents: The United States of America has a Language Assistance Act requiring Health Plans to make their material available in different languages. Every year, Health Insurers renew their Summary of Benefits, Evidence of Coverage, Annual Notice of Changes, etc. These documents are particularly sensitive since they usually explain benefits, copays, coverage, etc. and a minor mistake can lead to serious problems in a patient’s coverage.

These are just a few examples of the most common types of healthcare documents that we handle on a daily basis. At Baquero Translations, we know the field inside out because we’ve been working on it for more than 15 years. We have the perfect team of Linguists, Project Managers, and QAers to take care of any healthcare project you might need help with.

By Andrea Chetti and Diego Mengo