Case study: Localisation for health awareness

Translating health awareness campaigns into different languages helps to ensure important messages are received by everyone in the community.

Our Languages team were therefore only too happy to support a client’s request to create different language versions of crucial campaigns such as breast cancer awareness, cervical screening and preterm labour advice.

Each week we’re asked to translate a wide range of materials into different languages, to help organisations who operate across varying industry sectors. Healthcare is an industry sector where it’s extremely important that the information being shared is being properly received, especially when running awareness campaigns to help people have a better understanding of potential health concerns.

For the health awareness campaigns to be as effective as possible 3-5 language versions would be needed, depending on the campaign. This would help to ensure the campaigns were more inclusive within the local community and the important messages weren’t lost in translation.

5 documents needed translating, equating to around 5,000 words – each language however meant a different culture, so care was needed to check direct translations wouldn’t cause offence. In parts, some words had been translated previously by another party, which our translators were asked to check to ensure the language used was appropriate and shared the same intended meaning.

Where the original document contained information such as tables where the text was not editable, this needed to be manually extracted to allow our linguists to create bilingual versions.

By using localisation instead of direct translation, sentences can be flagged where the phrase shouldn’t be used in the language the material is being translated into – or where it would not be culturally appropriate.

This can be managed in two ways, as Languages Consultant Charlotte Davidson explains.

“If a translator has highlighted a term for review where they have identified that it is incorrect or inappropriate, we have two options for how we share this with clients. We can update the term in the document or provide a bilingual table for them to reference. We’ll include an explanation about why we’d recommend the term shouldn’t be used, and provide a more suitable option as an alternative.”

A great example of why localisation is important, was the translation work undertaken on the breast cancer awareness campaign.

The analogy of lemons was used to describe texture and appearance of the body, to give people something similar to compare against. This text needed to be treated sensitively in the target languages to ensure that accurate meaning was conveyed in a similar informal way, without causing offence in the target cultures.

To complete all the translation work needed, a team of 5 linguists worked on the project. Having given the client a lead time of 1-2 weeks to complete the work, this was effectively achieved including an in-depth review of all material to ensure all translation work was completed. As well as a thorough proofread to ensure final translations were ready to add directly into the campaigns.

Whichever sector you operate within, our talented team of linguists are able to provide translation work in more than 135 languages. If you need support, get in touch to request a quotation.