Translation software for the NHS

Published 12th March 2012
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Translation software for the NHS

It has been estimated that over £59,000 is spent on translation services daily in the UK within the NHS. A new translation software is said to cut down costs by up to 40 million pounds annually. The software which is launched by a Coventry company has been designed so that it is accessible online on the NHS website. It will allow doctors to communicate with non-English speaking patients directly through an electronic machine translation. It provides translations in 33 languages of which 22 are audio enabled.

This system of translation has been described as ‘potentially life-saving’ in emergency situations. At Lingua Translations we know that literal translations that machines offer cannot replace the power of human translators. When it comes to emergency situations, machine-like software could potentially do more harm than good especially when translating a message in order to save lives. Directed translations focus on interpreting “word-for-word” from one language to another. Not taking into account the ‘sense’ of the original message which can lead to misinterpretations that result in confusion.

El Papa

A great and rather funny example of a translation software fault is the one of an American T-shirt maker in Miami. When asked to print T-shirts with the slogan “I Saw the Pope” (”el papa”) for the Hispanic market to commemorate the Pope’s visit, the T-shirts read “I Saw the Potato” (“la papa”).

It is therefore apparent that any language translation must reflect the original meaning of a message. This is difficult especially in a complicated field where medical terms are used. Auto-translation software are unable to translate grammar and cannot possibly convey contextual meaning therefore cannot match the clarity and accuracy of a human translation.

At Lingua Translations we offer high quality and accurate translation services provided by experienced linguists that without a doubt beat any Translation software available. For more information, please visit our translation services page.

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