Medical English-Spanish Translation Quality Matters!

A Healthcare.gov Important Lesson

Healthcare Translation QualityThe US Government recently released the Healthcare.gov app in Spanish at https://www.cuidadodesalud.gov/es/.
Immediately after its release, NBC News, among others, published an article about the quality and problems that plague the site. We have taken some time to investigate the kind of problems that exist in the Spanish and these are some of the problems that we found:

  1. General Spelling: In many cases, accents were missing and capitalization was misused. For example, the use of the word Medicos instead of médicos.
  2. General Grammar: Missing verb in ¿Mi estado expandiendo el programa Medicaid, should be ¿Mi estado está expandiendo (or ampliando) el programa Medicaid?
  3. Incorrect punctuation: In Spanish, question marks and exclamation marks should begin and end the sentence. These were frequent problems showing lack of any review process, which is essential with EN15038 standards that should be applied to medical subject related s.
  4. Inaccurate use of decimal separators: In the US, we use the comma as a decimal separator. This is not the case in much of the rest of the world where the comma is used instead of our decimal point. Although this app is intended for US use only, it will help to eliminate the comma to avoid confusing legal aliens about the actual intended amount.
  5. 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.
  6. Inconsistencies in the s: Individuos y Familias is used on one page and in other sections on the YouTube video, Individuales y Familiasis used.  Individuos y familias is the correct option and should be used consistently throughout the to not confuse users. Consistency in the is a major pillar of accurate and localization. This is an indication that incorrect processes and tools are used to help maintain consistency, reduce cost and improve quality.
  7. Spanglish use: Verifique la inscripción & pague las primas the character “&” is not localized here. The correct 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.
  8. 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. Only experienced staff should be hired to translate medical terminology.
  9. 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, subjunctive form is needed using viva instead of vive.
  10. Incomplete Localization: Voice in this video is narrated in Spanish which 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.

All the above problems were detected 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. Incorrect 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. Inexperienced translators are used,
  2. An incorrect process and tools are used,
  3. Improper schedules or human resources are applied,
  4. Incorrect budget is allocated, and
  5. Required quality measures are not applied.

Although the US government is applauded 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!

Download – 5 Case Studies in Medical Translation & Localization

Please Share!   Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail