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4 Ways to Measure the Quality of Your Translation Services

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Patients who don't have access to translated information may face unnecessary healthcare disparities

While most healthcare providers have some level of translated language support, these services may be lacking in efficiency, which can detrimentally affect LEP patients. Ongoing measurement of the quality of translation services is key. The question is: How do you measure the quality of the translation services that are being provided? Below is a look at why measurement is important and what healthcare providers can do to determine if these services are efficient. 

Why Measuring Translation Quality is Important 

Even though most healthcare providers either have a translator or contract a language services provider (LSP), not all see the same quality outcome. Many variables can affect the overall efficacy of written translation, including: 

  • The overall quality of the original written content before being translated 
  • Whether the translator has a cultural and regional understanding of the target language 
  • The experience of the translator with both source and target languages 

Simply put, quality measurement is important because it allows providers to assess whether the translation services they have in place are actually communicating the right messages and enhancing patient care. 

How to Assess the Quality of Translation Services 

The best translated content should communicate the meaning of a message to the target LEP patient in a way that they can read and understand, which is what healthcare providers should expect from their translation services provider. Here are four ways to assess the quality of any translation service. 

1. Does the company offer linguists from target countries?

Anyone who is bilingual can be a basic-level translator, but this does not mean the information translated will be accurate. This is exemplified by the fact that "ad hoc" interpreting (when providers rely on a patient's bilingual friend or family member) has been shown to contribute to problems with miscommunication and a heightened risk of medical errors. The best translation comes from a professional who has an understanding of things like cultural differences or regional nuances that can affect how certain words or phrases or used. 

2. Does the translation service follow a QA process with translated materials?

Once a document has been translated by the original linguist, it should be passed on to a second (just as qualified) professional for evaluation and editing. Then, the original translator reviews the document and makes the necessary corrections. From here, a final quality assurance assessment should be done to make sure the content perfectly communicates what needs to be stated. This stringent QA process negates the risk of errors and oversights with the translated document. 

3. Does the translator have an understanding of healthcare information?

It is always best to work with a translation service that has an understanding of healthcare and medical terminology. The more the translator understands the unique terms and phrases, the better they can translate to accurately reflect the message in a different language. Working with linguists who are trained in technical healthcare language is essential to quality translations. 

4. Can the translation service offer quick turnarounds for translated content?

If you need a document translated into a unique language quickly, having access to quick turnaround with a translation service provider is critical. However, not all translation services offer around-the-clock access. A quality translation service provider understands the importance of getting information into an LEP patient's hands as quickly as possible. 

Quality Translation Services With GLOBO

Translation services may only be one piece of the full language services lineup, but it is a critically important service in terms of health equity. If you are looking for a quality translation service, reach out to GLOBO to find out more about our services.


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