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From 1995 to 1997, the Multicultural Change in Health Services Delivery Project, a twenty-two health facilities partnership project identified the need for a coordinated effort to address translation needs. The Delivery Project gathered all the health related translated material utilized by the 22 health care agencies in the Project. The translated material ranged from simple, hand written material on paper to sophisticated, formally translated brochures.

A review of a sample of brochures pointed to critical translation errors, which raised liability concerns for hospitals, particularly when translations were undertaken without any standards. Also, a number of hospitals had translated similar brochures (duplication) due to the lack of ongoing consultation with each other. This was neither effective nor cost efficient to the health care system. In light of these findings, a project, Translated Materials in Health Care -a Demonstration Project- was set up with funding from the participating agencies, the Ministry of Health, the Department of Canadian Heritage, and the Vancouver Foundation. The project had the overall goal of improving the standards and procedures for translating patient education and instructional materials. Its specific objectives were to

  • Develop partnerships with health care agencies and community agencies;
  • Develop standards and procedures for translated materials;
  • Establish qualifications for translators;
  • Undertake joint translations of sample documents in several target languages;
  • Review a random sample of existing translated material;
  • Develop a data bank of translated materials; and
  • To explore a sustainable method of collaboration around translated materials.

The project was divided into two phases. Phase 1 included the development of standards and procedures, joint translations, and the assessment of a random sample of existing translated material. Phase 2 involved the development of a database and web site of translated patient education materials. The project obtained further funds from the Ministry of Health and the Department of Canadian Heritage to implement Phase 2.

Project Structure
Evaluation and Communication
1998 - 2001 Update

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