12 noon - 1pm BST (GMT+1)
Friday 29 April 2022

When and how can online translation tools (not) help us bridge the language and cultural gap between patients and health and social care professionals?


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Health and social care professionals are increasingly more likely to provide care to people with whom they do not share a common linguistic, cultural and/or ethnic background. Although professional interpreters might be requested to enable understanding and facilitate communication, they are not always the means of choice, as both patients and health/social care professionals are likely to use other means, such as translation technologies (e.g. Google Translate) as well for a variety of reasons.

In this workshop we will take a closer look at the affordances and risks of translation technologies in health and social care communication as evidenced in research and professional practice and will approach them through the lens of person-centred communication, shared decision making and patient autonomy.

We will conclude with a set of recommendations which health and social care professionals, patients, carers and language service providers may find useful to consider when seeking to bridge language barriers in healthcare communication through digital communication technologies.

  • Participants will gain an awareness of the affordances and potential risks of using online translation tools in healthcare settings.
  • Participants will feel empowered to weigh up the benefits and risks of online translation tools when seeking or providing healthcare services.
  • Participants will be able to make better-informed decisions when considering the use of online translation tools and how these can affect shared understanding, patient-health/social care professional relationship, consultation and patient outcomes.