22 Sep The role of the medical translator in keeping health tourists happy
The ageing population, long waiting lists fortreatment and the continuous increase in out-of-pocket medical costs are among the factorsleading to health tourism being agrowing market. So, it is worth taking a closer look at this developing industry. Like any fast-growing industry, many diﬀerent factorsaﬀect health tourism, among which quality of service isthe most important.
Obviously, having medical translatorsmakes a big difference in terms of the translation quality since they have a leading role to play in disseminating the results of medical research and publishing new discoveries for the global scientiﬁc community.
Developing the health tourism industry
For many medical travellers, the first point of contact with the hospital or clinic is often its website. Since many of them are seeking healthcare providers overseas, communication in the English language is important and the website can be an important factor in patient choice. A site that has been written in poor English reflects badly on you and the service you offer and can discourage potential patients.
Health tourism has long been viewed as a lucrative business opportunity in developed countries. Shortcomings in the health tourism market may lead to low levels of tourist satisfaction and low demand for hospitals. It seems that the availability of translators specialisedin medical services is one of the essential factors in providing betteropportunities in this ﬁeld.
Further investment is needed to develop the health tourism industry as a whole and the training of professionalmedical interpreters/translators should be seen asthe main focus for this investment.
It is obvious that other health care sectors involved in this industry should do their best to provide higher qualityservices for health tourists. However, translators are in direct contact with the patients,even before they arrive in the country. Moreover, medical terminology is one of the main areas causing problems for non-professional interpreters. It seems thatstrict rules should be established to prevent non-specialised translators operating in the health tourism industry.