Translating Health Information Effectively for Latino Populations
California is the state with the most Latinos, constituting over one third of California’s population. The majority of Latinos, the fastest growing minority group in the United States, does not speak English at home. With lower levels of education, English-language proficiency, and health literacy, Latino people need health information they can understand. Literal translations of materials from English to Spanish without tailoring are common and often result in products containing egregious inaccuracies and awkward language usage that can also be out of context. In a medical setting, these errors can compromise health and be life-threatening. This commentary and tool provides examples of “translations gone wrong” and tips to follow to help make Spanish-language products and interpretation services more culturally and linguistically appropriate.