The COVID-19 pandemic has underlined a higher need to accelerate digital transformation and public health translation in the healthcare industry. Unfortunately, a lot of organizations had to take a reactive approach, scrambling to get telehealth and medicine services established when they were in peak demand. If you found yourself among that crowd, now is the time to develop a more proactive approach to prepare for the future needs of your community—especially when those needs are incredibly diverse.

Today’s health leaders also need to consider how quickly medical services are moving to digital environments. This is highlighted by the COVID-19 response in many communities where telehealth isn’t just a benefit; it’s vital to ensure the continued safety of the population. To deliver these services to all communities, you have to consider a localization strategy that makes your content accessible, secure, and accurate to a diverse population.

Special Considerations in Public Health Translation

It’s often surprising how well dense medical information can localize. That’s likely because many of these standard terms have roots in Latin or Greek, meaning there’s minimal variation across locales. However, that doesn’t make the entire process easy. Public health translation has several distinct issues that you must consider.


While accuracy is always crucial in translation, nowhere is this more vital than in public health translation. In a public health announcement, directives on symptoms to watch for, where to seek treatment, and preventative measures come fast and often. Small errors can lead to serious consequences, so all content must accurately convey the intended message.


Health information is sensitive and personal. It’s critical that data can’t be vulnerable to those who would want to exploit it. Having a secure, impenetrable system in place between the original content and localization is essential to fix any potential gaps. And these safeguards must occur in an environment where information is almost continually traveling.

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Ease of Use

Too often, public health portals and websites are underutilized because the interface is not user friendly enough. Users may even visit one time and never again. That means that there’s very little opportunity to learn to navigate the content. The translation and user experience must be set up to allow individuals to navigate to exactly where they need to go from their very first visit.

Rapid Changes

In a public health crisis, information comes fast and is updated frequently. Change needs to be anticipated to ensure all new data is translated rapidly and outdated information is removed. The same goes for updated details on infections, exposure risks, and breaking news. Every new piece of content needs an updated translation to ensure all members of the community are up to date.

The public health translation process needs to embrace both content and user experiences. Ideally, the end-user will be able to set the website to their language of choice and navigate it easily, rather than have to hunt down translated content that meets their needs. To manage a task like this, it’s vital to select the right translation service provider and localization management platform.

Choosing a Localization Partner for Digital Health Services

When considering the particular needs of public health translation, it becomes pretty clear that a company or institution needs a sophisticated and efficient way to adapt content. The fallback is often leaving this to an internal team member, but this plan rarely works as they may not have the expertise or time needed to manage such a significant task.

Instead, health care providers can outsource their translation services to create a seamless, practical end-user experience. It’s important to remember that not all the providers are equal. To find the best possible options, you should look for services that offer:

  • Security: A platform for translating content should provide a secure experience to reduce the risk of file compromise and overall vulnerability.
  • Simplicity: The ability to send and receive translated content in a streamlined workflow is a vital part of the localization process. Ideally, the provider will have a specific platform that can be integrated with all your existing programs.
  • Medical expertise: Translators handling public health content need an advanced understanding of medical terminology and conditions to ensure phrasing is accurate and true to its source material. This also involves awareness of and sensitivity to relevant cultural considerations for the target audience.

The need for public health translation has never been so evident as it is right now. As a diverse population struggles to make sense of the pandemic around them, communication must be clear, concise, and accurate in any language. A localization service provider can help you create that clarity to provide information the public needs, in any language.

Bureau Works can connect you with the expert translators needed for your public health translation project. Contact our team for more information.

Published On: May 5th, 2020 / Categories: Business Translation /

Gabriel Fairman

May 5, 2020

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