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Although English is the most widely spoken language in the United States, in the melting pot that is many rural communities, English is more commonly not the primary language spoken in the home. When marketing your Federally Qualified Health Centers, it is important to note that in many homes, your patients are receiving information translated by one of the younger members of their family who has a more clear understanding of the English language. 

It is not uncommon for even those whose first language is English to get befuddled when reading medical terminology, so imagine what happens when English is not your first language. When we talk about bringing information into the homes of patients and potential patients, it is important to discuss the benefits and tips when developing a multilingual website for your FQHC. 

(Not) Lost In Translation

Creating a website that incorporates translation into several languages makes it easier for your patient base to understand your services in a language that is familiar to them. There are several things to take into consideration and steps to take to ensure that your translated website meets the needs of your community.

  • Choose your strategy and software – Specifically for medical websites, it is important that the translation properly conveys your message. Although there are many free and low-cost website plugins that allow for machine/automatic translation, they are not necessarily effective at translating medical terminology accurately. Improperly locating a negative word (no, not, never, none) drastically changes the meaning of a sentence. For this reason, translating your entire website may not be the most effective method, but rather, creating a page or mini-site for each language allows you to translate the most important information about your FQHC and services to allow your multilingual patients to properly prepare for their visit.

  • Identify Languages – Understand the languages spoken in the areas served by your Community Health Center and make certain that the most commonly used languages are available for translation. In addition to translation tools when creating these sites, you may want to utilize the services of a human translator to analyze the content for accuracy. This step also allows you to optimize typography and visual impact when translated. For bonus points, you can also take advantage of culturally adapted imagery on your translated sites.

  • Make it easy to translate – The design and location of your language selection tool needs to be easy to locate, remember these patients may only have limited understanding of the English language and need to easily identify this tool. Universally, most sites utilize a drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the page and either flags or text to designate each available language.

  • Maximize the Experience – Think about your Call-to-Action buttons. While you may not have a multilingual staff, a “Call Now” button can create a bit of a headache, unless you take advantage of translation services for phone conversations. Forms and chat boxes should also utilize translation tools. Don’t just eliminate them from your translated websites – these patients still need to have the proper tools to interact with your FQHC!

  • Don’t forget about SEO! – There are a few extra steps to optimize your site for SEO integration when you have translated pages. Make sure that your URLs are translated, keywords have successfully migrated, your plugins utilize multilingual SEO, meta descriptions are translated and you’ve used hreflang tags to let Google know which language you are using on a specific page.

Strategy Meeting

Looking for additional help?

Navigating the process of creating a multilingual website doesn’t have to be as difficult as traveling without a guidebook. At Firefly Marketing we are your website partner to position your Federally Qualified Health Center among the multilingual communities you serve!

Let’s Talk!