Multilingual communication – the rising trend in healthcare

Multilingual communication – the rising trend in healthcare

The world of medicine is characterised by considerable and constantly evolving complexity. New studies and the latest medical research are constantly being disseminated, as are scientific articles published by leading researchers; new drugs are launched to treat “new” diseases and alternative treatments are ousting conventional ones. Clearly, then, anyone whose work involves healthcare, whether as a doctor, nurse, pharmacist or even an insurer, must keep abreast of the most recent scientific discoveries that allow them to provide patients and customers with greater assistance.

As healthcare becomes an increasingly cross-border affair, it is not just the hospitals, doctors and tour operators who need to be prepared for the arrival of foreign patients; all those who are in some way involved with healthcare – and that includes pharmacists, health insurers and the manufacturers of medical equipment – are becoming increasingly aware of this reality and are starting to pay particular attention to multilingual communication.

Multilingual communication in healthcare – a necessity or a bonus?

Imagine that you could only talk to one single person for the rest of your life; do you think you would be able to live life to the full? Of course, the answer would be “no”, because you would be limited to the experiences, knowledge, stories, culture and behaviour of a single personality. The same thing happens when you restrict communication to a single language; you immediately erase the opportunity of sharing, conversing or even doing business with someone whose language and culture are different from your own.

In order for the medical information that is published on a daily basis to be accessible all over the world, translation is a constant necessity. Anyone in a leadership position in healthcare and related industries will acknowledge the role of international technical communication in their workplace and, consequently, the importance of working with a network of specialised translators. This is because the medical topics and documents involved imply the use of extensive vocabulary that patients need to be able to understand in their own languages; documents such as monographs, protocols and scientific articles, drug information leaflets, product licences, and instruction manuals and clinical trials.

Many of the documents impart new knowledge that responds to the questions and uncertainties of many patients about the causes and mechanisms of their diseases and, above all, the new treatment options. Naturally, these questions should be answered in the patients’ own languages, since patients are entitled to receive information that could improve the quality of their lives. And that information must also be expressed in such a way that it can travel the world and be shared. Which is why translation in this field is a priority.

Standards have been changing too in the ways in which information reaches healthcare consumers and this change is the result of expectations having become more technological and social.

Multilingual communication – because proximity matters

People are changing the way they interact with companies as consumers. And healthcare is no exception. The relationship between the two sides has become closer and involves more mutual assistance; consumers expect the company to be available at any time to answer their questions and in their own languages; it is a relationship of greater proximity.

Consumers are now contacting companies in new ways. Apart from face-to-face contact and telephone calls, people can now use apps for smartphones and tablets, user accounts on multilingual websites and social media, all of which are becoming increasingly popular as ways for patients to interact with providers. Which, in turn, means that healthcare providers, insurers and other companies involved in the health sector must take the opportunity to communicate with patients through their chosen media. Did you know that more than 70% of people research their options before making a decision related to their health? And that they take the reputation and experience of the medical service into account when making that decision?

In order to become more interactive, companies need to invest in innovation. You may not be aware of it, but there are increasing numbers of specialists in digital marketing who combine technology and multilingual content that can help project an image of a personalised service that takes patients’ wishes and opinions into account. You can be absolutely sure that multilingual communication is no mere luxury; it is a necessity.