Lost In Translation


Lost In Translation

Tackling The Barriers To Hispanic Good Health

Excerpted From PharmaVOICE - March, 2004

“A Spanish speaker from Mexico may use words to describe parts of the body or for how to take medicine that are very different from the words that a person from Chile would use,” says Elizabeth Elting, president and CEO of TransPerfect Translations.

Ms. Elting notes that only 28% of Hispanics born outside the United States are English dominant or bilingual, compared with 96% of those born in the United States.

According to a TransPerfect survey, 33% of non-English speakers, across all groups, have left the doctor’s office without being fully clear about their medication. Among Spanish speakers: 57% said they found the information accompanying prescription drugs to be impossible to fully understand because of language difficulties; 47% have described a bad prescription experience they have encountered because of a language barrier problem; 44% said they have at one time taken the wrong dosage because they had trouble translating the instructions into Spanish; 29% know of elderly relatives who have taken their medication improperly because they didn’t understand the instructions; 12% said they drank alcohol while on their medication because they didn’t fully understand the instructions; and 8% said they had taken medication and driven a car when they did not understand the information accompanying the medication that cautioned against operating heavy machinery.

—Kim Ribbink

About TransPerfect
With revenue of over $250 million, TransPerfect is the largest privately held language services provider in the world. From offices in 66 cities on 5 continents, TransPerfect offers a full range of services in over 100 languages to multinationals worldwide. With a global network of over 4,000 linguists and subject-area specialists, TransPerfect is the largest translation company to be fully ISO 9001:2008 and EN 15038:2006 certified. TransPerfect is headquartered in New York and has regional headquarters in London and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit our website at www.transperfect.com.

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