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Improving the quality of Health care translations

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Clear communication is a cornerstone of patient safety and quality health care. In the United States, there are nearly 24 million people who are unable to speak or understand English, which poses significant communication challenges to health care providers and medical organizations. Quality translated health materials can serve as valuable communication tools for both patients and providers, and can help ensure the delivery of safe, effective and high-quality care. Unfortunately, poor quality translations are pervasive in health care, with many organizations wasting precious resources producing materials patients are unable to understand or use.

To help address this challenge, Hablamos Juntos and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) are releasing the More Than Words Toolkit Series, a first-of-its-kind resource that clarifies the translation process, and provides a roadmap to help health care organizations improve the quality of their translated materials in order to get better results.

Practical Tools Based on Research
Translation involves more than word-for-word replacement. Quality translations require active engagement of individuals and organizations requesting translated materials. The More Than Words Toolkit Series draws on the scientific literature, the experience of 10 Hablamos Juntos demonstrations, and the Hablamos Juntos initiative’s own research on translation quality. As a result, the series provides seven distinct, hands-on tools, including:

Providing Quality Assurance Support 
This resource is designed to assist individuals and organizations in initiating translations of health care text of all types, whether they work with translators or through translation vendors. It also helps organizations evaluate the quality of translations, which requires trained raters. Go to the More Than Words Web site to find trained raters for Spanish and Chinese, and for information about upcoming on-line training to become TQA raters.

We believe you’ll find this resource useful, and that it will allow your organization to improve the quality of translated health information for patients and consumers in your community. Together and over time, we hope it can help improve the quality of care for the millions of Americans who speak and understand little English.