In the fractions of seconds it took my English-starved brain to process words like “Césarienne,” Dr. Martin had already spewed 15 more. This was a conversation I desperately needed to understand.

The new article really sets the scene from the patients point of view when dealing with medical issues. It also bears out our research at a Coventry hospital gynecological and maternity unit where patients found Clairetalk to be invaluable.

Using an interpreter can be an issue when the interpreter is male, when we are doing intimate examinations or discussing sensitive issues. The women can be less forth coming with information. NHS staff feedback re Clairetalk

The patient in this article clearly cites incidences where she feels the experience could have been improved but also where Education embracing bilingualism could also support more children in schools.

Six years ago this week I was sitting naked in a doctor’s examining chair, nine months pregnant and attempting to understand what my French-speaking OB-GYN was talking about.

It was an unsettling experience indeed, the naked and enormously nine-month-pregnant part, since it was a rude awakening to learn that the French don’t seem to care that those flimsy paper coverups exist. After spending half of my pregnancy and giving birth to my first child in France, and thus spending an exorbitant amount of time naked on examining tables, I vowed I would never take disposable exam gowns for granted again.

My modesty aside, the experience was most disquieting due to the fact that French words were rattling like pinballs inside my head. In the fractions of seconds it took my English-starved brain to process words like “Césarienne,” Dr. Martin had already spewed 15 more that I didn’t have the time or mental fortitude to translate. And this was a conversation I desperately needed to understand.

Two weeks before my due date, I sat in that chair as my already frazzled language-learning synapses grasped frantically at every four or fifth word I could comprehend. Painstakingly, after many sheepish requests that he “Parlez plus lentement, s’il vous plait” (speak slower, please), I was able to stack together enough of the puzzle to understand what he was telling me.

(Dr. Martin spoke one word of English: naked. So the beginning of the appointment had gone well. He pointed at me and commanded, “Naked!” so that’s what I did. It went downhill from there. Dr. Martin made it clear that he found it utterly annoying that an American woman would come to France and need her doctor to speak English. Some things, I discovered during our winter in France, need no translation.)

My “accouchement” (birth) would be “anormal” (abnormal) because the baby soon to be  known as Elodie was “au siege” (breech), and I would need to plan for a “Césarienne,” (C-section.) It would be next week, on Fevrier 22, merci et au revoir!

It was certainly my choice to put myself in the uncomfortable position of being giant-bellied and stark naked in a country where I spoke the language as well as a native 2-year-old. So I took the mental battering as well as I could, considering our circumstances, and now that I look back, I’m more grateful than ever that Craig and I were naïve enough to think that having a baby in France would be “pas de problem.”

I have a beautiful daughter with a French name and birth certificate, and, in addition, a much more acute appreciation of the need for learning a second language.

Last month, the Telluride School District’s Global Fluency Committee gave a presentation on incorporating bilingual education into the elementary school curriculum. More than half of the world’s population (65 percent) are bilingual or multilingual. Young children learn languages easily, and learning another language has been shown to enhance a child’s proficiency in his or her native tongue, we learned.

While in France, I noticed that nearly everyone in Tignes, the ski resort where we lived for a season, on Ski Patrol exchange, spoke at least enough English to get by. Nearly half of that resort’s visitors come from English-speaking countries, so speaking English is just a part of doing business. I also observed, with much awe, that the children in the Tignes preschool were already being given lessons in English.

As it turns out, France isn’t the only place where non-native languages are quickly gaining traction.

School-age children who speak a language other than English at home are one of the fastest-growing populations in the United States, studies suggest. Their numbers doubled between 1980 and 2009, and now comprise 21 percent of school-age kids.

There were 4.7 million students classified as “English language learners” – those who have not yet achieved proficiency in English – in the 2009-10 school year, or about 10 percent of children enrolled, according to the most recent figures available from the U.S. Department of Education.

Bilingual education has long been a hot-button issue in America, raising issues like immigration and civil rights. California, Massachusetts and Arizona have actually banned bilingual education, claiming that it hinders, rather than helps, students who lack proficiency in English.

Thus far, much of the bilingual-education debate has centered around whether or not bringing  non-English speakers to English proficiency is the duty of the public school system, and if so, how can it best be done. Statistics show that many schools’ non-English speakers actually fare worse in standardized tests when educated under a bilingual system.

Yet proponents of bilingual education counter that the schools boasting the highest percentages of non-English speakers, which offer some form of bilingual education, are usually located in the lowest-income school districts and thus face an array of roadblocks to offering quality education overall, including large class size and insufficiently trained teachers.

The bilingual education debate isn’t new. In response to a growing outcry that non-English-speaking students weren’t getting an equal education due to a dearth of teachers and programs promoting multilingual studies, Congress passed the Bilingual Education Act in 1968. Later, the National Advisory Council on Bilingual Education was formed to articulate a plan for a national policy in bilingual education.

In the language of the federal law: “Where inability to speak and understand the English language excludes national origin minority group children from effective participation in the educational program offered by a school district, the district must take affirmative steps to rectify the language deficiency in order to open its instructional program to these students.”

Yet a part of the debate that seems to be emerging more recently centers around the idea that bilingual education can benefit students other than those who don’t speak English. English-speaking students, when educated early under a truly bilingual program (in which 50 percent of class time is spent speaking English and 50 percent speaking another language, like the system TSD’s Global Fluency Committee has proposed,) have been shown to excel in their native language as well as a second language. As bilingual graduates, they enter a growingly diverse world job market better prepared. And though studies can’t prove it, I’m willing to bet that on average, citizens who speak another language would have a healthier respect and understanding of other cultures.

Let’s end the debate and start seeing the world, and our children’s place in it, for what it really is: Culturally and linguistically diverse. Let’s raise our children with not just a healthy respect for other cultures and languages, but with a solid comprehension of those cultures and languages. And that means educating them early in the languages of other cultures.

I heartily applaud the Telluride School District’s Global Fluency Committee’s forward-thinking approach to closing the multilingualism gap that currently exists between American students and the rest of the world. Let’s raise up all of our community’s students, by offering them the chance to speak the all-inclusive language of cultural acceptance.

What do you think? I am sure our doctors dont have the same attitude as the patients doctor all I have met want to support their patients the best way possible.

For Health providers if you want more information about Clairetalk go to the website and choose Healthcare

For education if you want more information about Talking Tutor, Text Tutor and our award winning two can Talk again choose and choose Education.

or email us at or call

NHS pricing guidelines

NHS pricing guidelines

Instant Translation at the tip of your fingers

EMASUK has voice translating software that lets you communicate and understand other languages in real time. If like me you cannot speak many languages but you or your staff need to communicate with patients, clients or customers who speak Polish, Lithuanian, Romanian or any of the 20+ others, then this is a solution for you. It keeps you in charge of the conversation just like when talking to same language clients etc.

Many suggest the use of dictionaries but I have found them clunky and wasteful of time as well as stuttering the conversation. If we bear in mind that  language translation, especially when you take into consideration accents and local jargon, is never perfect,  with EMASUK tools you can understand and make yourself understood well enough using the  products to suit your needs 24/7 at an upfront  yearly cost.

For further information see or contact us on 0845 862 5400

Cancer prognoses lost in translation – How ClaireTalk and Two Can Talk can help.

Today I have found a news item from Australia which I hope does not lessen peoples information about how sick they are. Titled Cancer prognoses lost in translation in Oncology news and written by David Brill it tells how they have researched and patients do not always get the full story infact the research shows that less than 50% of all translations were accurate enough.

What if you or your family member didn’t know how ill you were and didn’t follow up doctors appointments etc. it could be fatal. This research shows that it is  a possibility due to translators either I guess by sympathising and trying to be nice or just not having the cognitive academic skills and linguistical knowledge to deliver the information.

“I give a very detailed explanation of what I am doing and sometimes the conversation between the interpreter and the patient is so short that I wonder what has been said because they can’t possibly have communicated everything that I have just said.” nurse at Coventry hospital

By using Two Can Talk within Claire Talk health professionals can overcome this as they can communicate exactly what they need to say in this sensitive situation.  It is clear to them if the patient doesn’t understand and they can use appropriate words to get the information over rather than leaving it to a third party.

Sadly this story is all too similar to the story blogged recently where the patient had lost her baby and the nurse had explained what had happened, why it had happened and there was nothing that the mother could do and the translator just translated the baby is dead.  This proved to be distressing for both the mum and nurse weeks after the event…Its just not humane, what we need to do is ensure healthcare professionals get the tools they need to do their job particularly if they need dual language tools and systems to cope with communication with all of their patients.

See more quotes and information via our reseller

Healthcare professionals can find out more about this oncology story here.

Uncomfortable truths about patients’ cancer prognoses are getting lost in translation, with interpreters commonly “softening” or even “blocking” the doctor’s words, Australian research finds.
The in-depth analysis of consults with non-English speaking patients found 50% of prognostic information given by oncologists was altered when being translated, even by professional interpreters.
Just under one-quarter (23%) of information was never translated at all, while 27% was translated with the message subtly altered— typically making the outlook sound brighter than it really was.
“We found many examples of both professional and family interpreters changing the doctor’s message, usually to soften the news and occasionally to hide a poor prognosis completely,” the Sydney researchers said.

“In an emergency situation it is invaluable, when even if you can get an interpreter it takes at least an hour and that is just too long. In those circumstances the online tool comes into its own.”

‘Communication with people who may not speak English or have limited English skills can become a barrier to receiving services like health care’ Brenda Zion, executive director of OneMorgan County in todays news article.

This is not necessarily the case with Clairetalk, as this innovative bespoke service allows healthcare officials, doctors, nurses and patients with their families are using it to discuss medical matters, primary care, support and appointment making.


The savings for one ward alone is that of four nurses or in excess of £100,000.

Here is an extract

Expectations and anticipated outcomes

The expectation was that while the online translation tool could be used in diverse situations, it may not be suitable for ‘sensitive’ conversations where a face-to-face interpreter would still be required.

It was anticipated the Women and Children’s Division might save 10-20% on the monthly Departmental spend on live interpreters.

What really happened?

Nurses quickly learnt the online translator was very easy to use in increasingly sensitive situations: for example obtaining consent for a Caesarean operation in the early hours of the morning; offering support and guidance to young mums and even consoling and advising those who had lost their baby. UHCW nurses still had the option of using a face to face interpreter when necessary but, increasingly found ClaireTalk met their needs – and those of their patients.

Throughout the trial and intensive use of ClaireTalk, Nurses feedback was used to develop and improve the tool’s capability and functionally to enable even easier communication between  staff  and patients.

ClaireTalk Online Translation Tool For example, staff working under pressure can make ‘typos’ so it is now easy to correct a statement or question containing an error without having to type it all over again. Staff can also ‘grab; commonly used statements and questions that are specific to their department from a customisable database

As for savings, the monthly spend has fallen by over 30% from the average bill. In the highest using department, costs have fallen by over 60%. Even greater savings are expected as use of the new facilities in ClaireTalk takes off.

Staff are so comfortable with the tools they use them readily; for many they are now embedded in everyday practice.


See more of the case study at  –

to find out more contact David on 024 7601 61 62


5 ways translation technology can improve healthcare

Apart from this story coming from the US the rest could just as easily be applied to Clairetalk in the UK, and it could be applied to any of the countries whose languages  clairetalk supports.

If you don’t already encounter multilingual patients in your practice, there’s good reason to believe you will at some point in the future: 47 million U.S. residents don’t speak English as their primary language. In fact, requirements at the state and federal level demand that you find ways to communicate with limited English-speakers.

Among those solutions are technologies that offer speech-to-speech and text-to-text communication from one language to another, said Jonathan Litchman, senior vice president, Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC). “Multilingual communication solutions [are having] a huge impact on the healthcare industry,” Litchman said. “Not only does i[the technology] remove the language barrier between patients and their physicians, it also reduces the cost of medical interpretation and time associated with it, while increasing productivity and accuracy.”

Litchman outlined five benefits translation technology brings to healthcare.

1. Reduced costs Healthcare translation technology can significantly reduce costs for hospitals and providers in their interpretation needs, while also boosting productivity. “This sort of technology is the low-hanging fruit CFOs and senior admins hardly recognize,” Litchman said. “That cost saving can be leveraged to be used for more critical, clinical applications that are much more sensitive to cost-cutting.”

2. Reduced administrative and staff burden Many healthcare organizations have a limited number of people available for interpretation, especially on an immediate basis. “The wait time for interpreters can sometimes be upwards to 25 minutes,” Litchman said. Speech-to-speech technology can solve this the wait time problem, which places less of a burden on staff while increasing patient throughput. “That level of healthcare productivity is really a goal for most hospital administrations. It’s something that’s highly sought after: reduce costs of translation and save money? That hits a benefit twice.”

3. Increased quality and accuracy Accuracy can be a major problem when it comes to translation and interpretation. “Usually the interpreters aren’t the ones also filling out the paperwork. It’s important to make sure that what was said in one language is accurately being reflected in another language,” explained Litchman. Inaccuracy can have significant implications on insurance reimbursement, billing and healthcare record management. “As a patient and physician are sitting side-by-side having a conversation that’s being recorded in both languages on a screen, they can see if there’s a mistake or if something needs clarification. There’s no wait time; immediate corrections can be made with people involved.”

4. Mobility Another benefit of healthcare translation technology is its mobility. Consider the back-up hospitals can face at an emergency department admissions desk due to lack of available interpreters. Having a translation product brought to the ER when needed can reduce wait times for patients. Instead of having to wait for an interpreter to be found, the technology is already available in the hospital. “It would increase the quality of patient care, throughput, and overall healthcare experience, which means patient satisfaction goes way up,” said Litchman.

5. Clinical applications
 Technology like this isn’t just beneficial for the administrative side of a healthcare organization; it also makes a big difference on the clinical side, too. “You have three people in a conversation – the person speaking the foreign language, an interpreter and the physician. It seems like communication should flow freely and evenly in a situation like this, but great nuances can be missed,” Litchman said. Having two records in front of a physician, one in the patient’s language and a translated version, allows medical practitioners to see whether the questions they’re asking are truly being understood by both the patient and the interpreter. “This technology allows us to capture the spirit and intent of a physician’s effort to communicate with a patient while avoiding the game of ‘Telephone,'” said Litchman. “The message isn’t going to get lost along the way.”

I couldn’t have said it better.
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