Tradassan: an app to facilitate communication with foreign patients
First was Hipot-CNV, a mobile application that offers an alternative non-verbal communication to patients with speech disorders. Now a nurse from Lanzarote called Manuel Verdugo returns to venture into developing an app to improve the interaction between the healthcare professional / administrative and patients, although in this case to solve the language barrier. TRADASSAN (TRADuctor para la ASistencia SANitaria / Translation for healthcare) is now available. The creator has shared some details of his project:
"Despite the great reception given Hipot-CNV, which already has more than 4,000 downloads, I realised I did not meet one's expectations of a translator for the majority of healthcare users.
Once the Canary Islands Health Service evaluated the advisability of investing in new technologies with the creation of health apps, I proposed developing TRADASSAN, initiative presented as Oral Communication in Infors@lud 2014 Conference, in area of Inforenf, and was awarded as 'most innovative project' of the conference.
The design work began in October 2013, while oral communication was preparing to present at Inforenf. Low awareness of languages that has the generality of health personnel and the significant volume of quotes from non-Spanish speaking foreign users throughout the Canary territory (1.4 million in 2013) indicated the need for an application of this type.
Similarly, the assessment of demographic studies conducted on foreign tourist population and the resident population in Canary Islands allowed me to define the minimum language should lead the first version (English, French, German, Chinese and Arabic).
The design of an offline application for translating medical terms means big technological difficulties and the need for expert translator’s collaborators, ideally inside the sanitary environment. Hence the second part of the process takes me to contact colleagues with expertise in languages that may make written translations. Finally I found that person (which, as we say in the Canary Islands, 'is a prop', a crack). I mean Pilar López Godoy, nurse of emergency department of the Hospital Doctor José Molina Orosa in Lanzarote, who made translations from English, French and German in record time, to submit a demo for Inforenf Congress. Expressions of Chinese and Arabic, meanwhile, is initially translated with Google Translator, and later, Laura Parrilla Gómez, PhD in Translation and Interpreting at the University of Málaga, coordinated translations and helped in the search for experts in these two languages due to the complexity arising from the many variables in their interpretations.
From the demo in March 2014 until the final version available now, TRADASSAN has evolved: have made design modifications; new features, such as terms search; performance improvements; and the search and creation of commonly used expressions to sanitary level (we currently have over 700 expressions by language).
One of my priorities was to minimize the risk of error in the contents of the application. The reliability of a health app in which the patient is directly involved, and you can even make clinical decisions based on questions and answers from a translator, you can’t overlook. This responsibility also led me to contact other graduates in translation and interpreting professionals and native speakers of different languages.
Achieve a balance between sound quality and weight of audio files including translations also meant hard work. The app has over 4,000 audio files for all languages, and Castilian voices that allow medical personnel of foreign countries can use the application; in this sense, I think TRADASSAN can be an invaluable tool for our trips abroad.
The similarities with other apps like 'Medical Spanish: Healthcare Phrasebook with Audio', 'Pocket Medical Spanish with Audio', 'AUDIO-Medical Spanish' or 'Universal Doctor Speaker' are obvious. All share a common goal and is structured in a standardised professional language terms. However, TRADASSAN has been developed entirely in the Canary Islands Health Service and has drawn upon the proposal of an employee (in this case one nurse), which gives it a special value. Furthermore, we believe it provides a modest and cost-free alternative for the end user, and we hope that is useful to all workers in the National Health Service that should providing care for tourists or foreign residents in these languages. Our future commitment will keep working on it, with the addition of new languages and specific packages with new phrases, such as those involving Obstetrics and Paediatrics, which are already available”.