National Academy of Medicine

Beyond Translation: Promoting a New National Standard for Equity in Health Materials Translated from English

September 25, 2015 | Commentary

As of 2011, 25.3 million people in the United States had limited English proficiency (LEP). This number includes people born outside and inside the United States (Zong and Batalova, 2015). Spanish is the most spoken language in the United States after English, with increases in other non-English languages occurring as the United States continues to diversify (Gonzalez-Barrera and Lopez, 2013). This population shift has major implications for health equity and health literacy.

One important strategy to address health equity and patient-centered care is the translation of health materials used by health providers. Translations of health-related materials are not as straightforward as you might think. In this commentary the authors provide their perspective on how to proceed to ensure equity in translated health materials.


Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and not necessarily of the authors’ organizations, the National Academy of Medicine (NAM), or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (the National Academies). The paper is intended to help inform and stimulate discussion. It is not a report of the NAM or the National Academies. Copyright by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.