Merrill Brink News Reviews and Opinion on May 14, 2015: Why It’s Important to Localise Medical Translations for Latino Cultures and Latin American Audiences

Share Article

http://www.merrillbrink.com -- To ensure that these and other factors are effectively addressed in your localised medical materials, partner with a language services provider that has professional translators familiar with the health care practices and localisation requirements in your target market.

News Image
Although each country has its own unique traditions and attitudes, keep the following Latin American cultural characteristics in mind to establish a foundation for good localisation practices in your medical communications.

Today’s health care product and service providers understand the powerful influence that can be gained by communicating with clinicians and patients on a “personal” level – it’s one of the most effective means to win customers and make your organisation stand out from the competition. However, the best medical communications also address cultural attitudes toward health care professionals and local traditional medical practices that are important to Latino cultures.

Although each country has its own unique traditions and attitudes, keep the following Latin American cultural characteristics in mind to establish a foundation for good localisation practices in your medical communications.

Make Your Communications Family-Focused
Culturally, people in many Latin American countries place more value on what benefits a group such as one’s family rather than on what benefits the individual. Family-like connections and loyalties can extend to nonrelatives, and friends may often be referred to as compadres or comadres in these collectivist cultures. 1 It’s not surprising, then, that this emphasis on family, or familismo, can be seen in the attitudes many Latinos have toward health care.2 Family serves as a critical support system. Family members help each other and are mindful of their obligations to the larger family unit. With regard to important health-related decisions, Latinos tend to involve family members, both to ensure that the treatment will interfere with familial commitments as little as possible and also to receive emotional solace. For these reasons, it’s important to acknowledge the family’s role in health care discussions and outcomes when translating your company’s medical materials for Latino cultures.

Respect for Physicians
In contrast with the high level of involvement and interaction Latinos engage in with their family members, they typically maintain a respectful distance between themselves and those in positions of authority. The cultures in most Latin American countries receive above-average scores on Hofstede’s “power distance” dimension, indicating that people in those countries do not often question professionals such as physicians.3 Indeed, in these cultures, medical visits tend to be shorter than medical visits conducted in low power-distance cultures, likely because less information is exchanged during the visits.4 You may need to localise your company’s health care materials accordingly to account for this respeto Latinos have toward their physicians and the reluctance they have to challenge professionals.5 For example, references to conversations between patient and physician, particularly when relating to a lack of compliance or resistance to prescribed treatments, may require editing to fit Latino norms.

Incorporation of Folk Terminology and Treatments
Latinos respect physicians and modern medicine, but they also value folk and alternative health care treatments. Folk healing traditions found in Latin America include Curanderismo in Mexico and many other countries in the area, Santeria in Cuba, and Espiritismo in Puerto Rico.6 Practitioners frequently prescribe natural treatments such as teas, herbs and massages in these traditions. They also tend to ascribe folk-influenced labels to various health conditions. For example, anxiety or post-traumatic shock may be seen as an effect of susto, or “soul loss,” rather than a physical reaction to an emotionally stressful event.7

Many illnesses, regardless of how they are named, are deemed either “hot” or “cold,” with “hot” treatments prescribed to treat “cold” conditions and vice versa.8 In consideration of this pervasive folk influence on Latin American medical practices, it is important to research the healing traditions in the target country and mention them where appropriate when translating medical materials.

Accounting for such Latino cultural characteristics in your medical translations will help Latin American patients and health care professionals identify more closely with your company’s products and services. To ensure that these and other factors are effectively addressed in your localised medical materials, partner with a language services provider that has professional translators familiar with the health care practices and localisation requirements in your target market.

References
1 Geert Hofstede, Gert Jan Hofstede, and Michael Minkov, Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010): 111.
2 Karen Peterson-Iyer, “Culturally Competent Care for Latino Patients: Introduction,” Santa Clara University Website (July 2008), Website.
3 Hofstede et al., Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, page 60.
4 Hofstede et al., Cultures and Organizations: Software of the Mind, page 71.
5 Peterson-Iyer, “Culturally Competent Care for Latino Patients: Introduction.”
6 Gregory Juckett, “Caring for Latino Patients,” American Family Physician Website.
7 Ibid.
8 Ibid.

Full article: http://www.merrillbrink.com/medical-translations-for-latin-american-audiences-05112015.htm

About Merrill Brink® International

Merrill Brink International (http://www.merrillbrink.com) is a leading provider of complete translation and language solutions for global companies and law firms, with special expertise in serving the legal, financial, life sciences, software, heavy machinery and corporate markets. A proven leader with more than 30 years of experience, Merrill Brink offers a wide range of language solutions including translation, localisation, desktop publishing and globalisation services.

Merrill Brink is recognised in the industry for its commitment to quality and its pioneering approach of leveraging technology to reduce costs, eliminate redundant processes and accelerate translation life cycles. Merrill Brink is certified to ISO 9001:2008; ISO/IEC 27001:2005 and ISO 13485:2003, and compliant to EN 15038:2006 and ISO 14971:2007.Together, these standards provide assurance that the most stringent process and quality standards for translation are followed. Merrill Brink International is a wholly owned subsidiary of Merrill Corporation.

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Vanessa Lontoc
Visit website

Media