Surgical precision from Arabic to Tigrinya – Supertext for the Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

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Supertext is ensuring reliable patient information in 13 languages.

In truth, it was just one more project in the longstanding collaboration between Supertext and eastern Switzerland’s central hospital. But what a project! In January 2018, Supertext translated the health and anesthesia questionnaires that are used before every procedure into no less than 13 languages – from Albanian and Arabic through to Somali, Tamil and Tigrinya.

Thirty people for two documents

More than 36,000 patients are treated every year in the Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen, and they speak plenty of languages between them. But when it comes to quality, they are all on the same page. The translations didn’t require creativity, but rather surgical precision: a clear-cut result was needed, in which every word was carefully weighed. The challenge was that in addition to the very specific language combination, the individual translators also needed extensive experience with medical terms – from epidural anesthesia to peripheral nerve blocks.

The only way to achieve this? With an extensive pool of specialist native speakers from around the world. And with a language manager who knows the strengths and weaknesses of everyone involved, who can select the right people and keep track of the quality of every step. We all know that two pairs of eyes are better than one, so every document went through a second round of proofreading. This meant that by the end, almost 30 language experts had worked on the two documents – a new Supertext record.

“Health knows no language boundaries”

“Health knows no language boundaries: if someone needs an operation, they also need reliable information – no matter whether they speak German or Tigrinya. That’s why we wanted to offer the most important procedure documents in as many languages as possible. Thanks to Supertext and Jenny Herzog’s masterful project management, it worked seamlessly for us.”

Rosalia Mittelholzer, Corporate Communications, Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen

Cover image via Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen



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