Medical English-Spanish Translation Quality Matters!

A Healthcare.gov Important Lesson

Medical English Spanish Translation Healthcare Translation quality Professional

The US Government recently released the Healthcare.gov app in Spanish.
Immediately after its release, NBC News, among others, published an article about the quality and problems that plague the site. Quality medical English-Spanish translations are not easy to accomplish! We have taken some time to investigate the kind of problems that exist in the Spanish release. These are some of the problems we encountered…

General Spelling

In many cases, translators missed accents and misused capitalization. For example, the use of the word Medicos instead of médicos.

General Grammar

Missing verb in ¿Mi estado expandiendo el programa Medicaid, should be ¿Mi estado está expandiendo (or ampliando) el programa Medicaid?

Incorrect punctuation

In Spanish, question marks and exclamation marks should begin and end the sentence. These were frequent problems showing the lack of any review process. A review or edit cycle is essential to the EN15038 standard that should be applied to all medically related subjects.

Inaccurate use of decimal separators: In the U.S., we use the comma as a decimal separator. This is not the case in much of the rest of the world that uses the comma instead of our decimal point. Although our government intends for users to use this app in the U.S. only, it helps to eliminate the comma to avoid confusing legal aliens about the actual intended amount.

Poor Style

¿No pudo inscribirse en o antes del 23 de diciembre? Aún podemos ayudarlea obtener cobertura. Here there is a grammar issue with incorrect use of the preposition “en” and a poor style in . One of the correct s would be: ¿No pudo inscribir seantes del 23 de diciembre (inclusive)? Aún podemos ayudarlea obtener cobertura. Similarly, Teléfono, por internet o en papel, y ayuda continua is in poor style, lacks uniformity and has a mis! The correct should be Por teléfono, Internet o correo común: soporte integral.

Inconsistencies in the use of plurals

Translators use Individuos y Familias on one page and in other sections on the YouTube video use Individuales y Familiasis.  Individuos y familias is the correct option and translators should use it consistently throughout the to not confuse users. Consistency is a major pillar of accurate localization. This is usually an indication that translators used incorrect processes and tools to help them maintain consistency, reduce cost and improve quality.

Spanglish use

In Verifique la inscripción & pague las primas, translators did not localize the character “&”. The correct localization is: Verifique la inscripción y pague las primas. This is an example where the translator overlooks the correct rules in the target language out of inexperience in that language or more familiarity with the source language.

Incorrect terminology use

El Mercado de Seguros Medicos para Individuales y Familias has grammar issues missing accent and incorrect use of terminology. Individuales or Individuals in English, instead of individuos/personas/particulares. The correct should be El Mercado de seguros médicos para individuos y familias. Accurate medical terms translation is very important. One should only hire experienced staff to translate medical terminology.

Incorrect conjugation

In the sentence No importa el estado en donde usted vive, podrá comparar sus opciones de seguro médico en el Mercado de seguros y podrá inscribirse en un plan que responda a sus necesidades y presupuesto, translators should use subjunctive form using viva instead of vive.

Incomplete Localization

Voice talents in this video narrate in Spanish. This is a great step forward toward complete localization. But why stop at the audio and leave the text used in the video for emphasis in English? It is an extra step, but not necessarily a costly one to complete, particularly that the words to translate in the graphics are much fewer than the narrated text.

We detected all the above problems before we even started to use the application. Once we do that, we can potentially see many additional problems relating to:

  1. Inaccurate sentence structure
  2. Incorrect gender
  3. Improper plurals
  4. Incorrect declensions
  5. Inappropriate s
  6. Machine-like s
  7. Out of context
  8. Truncation of words/segments
  9. Concatenation of multiple strings creating grammar or meaning problems
  10. URLs that link to English pages

These problems are typical when:

  1. Using inexperienced translators,
  2. Applying an incorrect process and tools,
  3. Using improper schedules or human resources,
  4. Allocating an incorrect budget, and
  5. Not applying the required quality measures.

Medical English-Spanish Translation

Although we applaud the US government for wanting to cater to the healthcare needs of millions of Latin Americans in the USA, its execution of the implementation lacked the quality commitment expected in the medical health care industry. When it comes to medical English to Spanish, we know many in the translation and localization industry that can do much better! For a thorough report or to find out what GlobalVision does to avoid these or similar problems with Healthcare Translation Services, contact us today!


Medical Translation

Whitepaper: 5 Case Studies in Medical Translation and Localization

A 10 minute read will help you understand some of the challenges involved in medical translation services and how to overcome them!

You can also register and immediately view the 15 minute free Healthcare Translation webinar.

* How did you learn about us?