Lost In Translation: Is Your Healthcare Facility Giving An Unhealthy Message?

The “global village” now being a thriving reality, the burgeoning use of the internet for business purposes means that companies are reaching out to specific segments of the population who rely on their mother tongue to gauge the level of understanding the service provider has of their specific needs – and the caliber of the services themselves.

In this global business context, an unfortunate translation can prove embarrassing – and expensive!

Randomly scanning company web-sites, you’ll find assorted levels of sophistication in translation; where an automated translation system has been used, it is immediately obvious: Grammar is flawed, sentences do not flow,  the wrong verb tenses appear and, in the worst cases, key terminology is misleading.

More than a few high profile publicity campaigns have turned into a fiasco by products being inappropriately named in the target language. In today’s world, it is imperative to be aware of the impact that various layers of meaning can have on brand names, logos, slogans and tag lines. Case in point: the marketing of a car in Spain a few years ago with the name “NOVA” – which literally means “it doesn’t go”.

This difficulty is compounded when marketing healthcare services where grievous errors can occur when entrusting the translation to a non-native speaker of the language: Cognates turn out to mean something else, prepositions aren’t used the same way, and idiomatic expressions become meaningless with spelling errors and un-translated words, producing text no one will bother to read.

Just imagine the reaction of bilingual Spanish/English speakers when presented with a double-sided informational flyer for Home Care services clearly indicating in English a “Great Live-in Incentive Program” that translated on the Spanish side as:

“Gran Programa de Incentivos Para Dormir en el Empleo” (Great Incentive Program To Sleep on The Job) – ouch!

Translation errors, can indeed lead to failure: Failure to make a first great impression in the best cases, and sabotaging the company’s strengths in the worst cases.

Because the possibilities for misunderstanding are endless, ensuring your copywriter is fully bilingual makes economic sense: it significantly increases the possibility that your message reaches the target audience, is properly understood, inspires confidence, and enhances the image of your company.


28. November 2016 by Chumie Drillick
Categories: Advertising, Health Care, Long Term Care, Marketing, Rehab, Social Media | Tags: , | Leave a comment