How to Ensure Effective Dental Translations?

By: Salman Saeed Posted on Tue, 26-09-2023

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The field of dentistry is a complex one. Although dentists are responsible for providing seamless services to their patients, certain barriers can hinder this smooth service. Translation and interpretation in dental practices and services have long been a problem for many dentists worldwide. Perhaps this is the reason why there are some tips on how to ensure effective dental translations can go a long way in ensuring smooth patient care for dental patients. 

Dentists across the world treat patients belonging to different cultures and languages. This is the reason why it is crucial for a dentist to employ translation services. It would help them bridge the gap between their languages and the patients’ languages.

Although treating a patient who speaks a different language may seem like a big challenge, it is actually easy to achieve. All you have to do is hire a professional translation partner to ease the translation challenge for you. 

Here, we will share some tips that will help you connect and communicate with your patients without worrying about language barriers. But, let us explore the benefits of taking professional assistance for dental translation first.

How Dental Translations Are Beneficial?

How Dental Translations Are Beneficial

Multilingualism in the medical field is an opportunity not to be missed by doctors and healthcare professionals. As the population increases, you can expect patients of different languages to visit your clinic. Do you speak more than one language? You may be in a favorable position to treat patients who speak multiple languages. However, if you do not know any other language besides your own, you may require professional help.

Here are all the benefits you can gain from dental translations:

1. A chance to get more patients

If you can communicate in your patients’ language, you stand a better chance of getting more patients in your clinic. Suppose there are only a few dental practices in your town. All of them compete for the same clientele. Now suppose there is only one dental clinic in town that has an advertisement sign providing dental services in the Spanish language. Without a doubt, Spanish-speaking patients will visit for dental treatment at this clinic. 

Now suppose that a patient understands and speaks only the French language and you provide your dental services in the English language. When you communicate the dental procedures or the medication the patient should take, he will naturally be unable to comprehend a word. Here, a French dental translator or an interpreter can make this communication easier by translating instructions from English to French. 

2. Establishes a connection with patients

As a dentist, it is imperative for you to connect with your patients on a deeper level. This is because when a patient sits in that dental chair for a procedure, he loses his power of speech temporarily. The only interesting thing that can keep him going is the chat that the dentist delivers. If the dentist speaks in a language that the patient cannot understand, he will be unable to understand the dentist’s chatter.

Being multilingual or getting dental translations can greatly aid you in connecting with your patients at a deeper level. It might even ease the pain of the dental procedure. Furthermore, by establishing a connection with your patients, you can get a chance for a reputable dental and medical service for your patients. 

Helps to recruit multilingual staff

If you are a dentist, you probably have an idea of how hard it is to:

  • Build up your dental practice
  • Keep track of the latest dental surgical procedures
  • Learn new languages at the same time

To make your job easier, you can hire staff that speaks and converses in more than one language. Getting a multilingual staff member can greatly help you in communicating all the details of your dental procedure to your patients effectively. If you reside in a city with a sizeable foreign language-speaking population, hiring a multilingual staff member can help you with a smooth dental procedure. A bilingual staff member can also take calls from your prospective patients and secure appointments with them easily. 

3. Aids in smooth advertising

Want to provide your dental services to a foreign-language population? Translate your website and content into multiple languages. Your dental website can be translated to cater to a wider audience, possibly one that is located in another region or country. Likewise, translation is needed for dental software. You may even consider getting your advertisements and brochures translated into multiple languages. It will help to communicate your services to a greater number of people.

Translation of website and print media is not the only opportunity you can use to connect with a wider audience. You can also get your advertisements translated into multiple languages in order to communicate with the audience. If your dental practice has a Facebook page, you can publish or translate posts into the language that your patients speak. Other than that, you can also use translated informed consent forms in other languages to make the paperwork easier for patients. 

4. Aids in acquiring dental equipment

Being a dentist is a hard job, especially if you want to keep your dental practice running along with connecting with your patients. To ensure your practice is smooth and productive, you may need surgical and dental types of equipment from other countries. This is where you will need to connect with people and companies that speak other languages. In this way, you will be in a better position to acquire dental equipment from foreign companies.

5. Helps you to specialize in dental practice

As a dentist, specialization in dentistry is a part of your profession. If you speak more than one language, you can get your dentistry specialization from foreign universities as well. Other than that, if you have the support of a translation agency, you can also get your specialization from online universities in different languages. Remember, being multilingual will enhance and widen your skill set. It will allow you to deliver better dental services to a greater number of patients. 

Moreover, you can also equip yourself with dental technical knowledge from other countries or medical institutes. It can aid you in participating in international medical and dental conferences and forums.

Tips for Dental Translations

Tips for Dental Translations

Now that you know the many benefits of getting dental translation services, here are a few tips for you. These can help you and your patients be better prepared for a successful dental procedure, especially if your languages are not the same:

1. Get the help of an interpreter

If you want to work with an interpreter during your dental procedures, there are a few tips to ensure smooth communication with the patient. Be sure to speak directly with your patient and his/her family, instead of talking to the interpreter. Do not look at the interpreter and ask them if they can ask a patient about something. Instead, look at the patient and ask the question you want to ask directly. This will keep the conversation patient-centric and help you to build your reputation well, allowing you to connect with your patients. 

As a dentist, keeping the patient engaged and making them feel like your main priority should be your top concern. If you focus too much on the interpreter, your patient may feel disengaged from the conversation. It is best to have an interpreter available in person, via video chat, or by phone. Although you may not need to hire a professional interpreter, it is recommended to have a staff member who can converse in multiple languages. When conversing with an interpreter, speak slowly and clearly to ensure the information you are trying to communicate is conveyed properly and understood as well. 

2. Be prepared beforehand

Being a dentist requires a proactive approach, especially when you have patients who speak other languages. Be prepared beforehand and plan which translation service you have access to and how you can easily access this service. Understand that getting hold of a translator can be tough and time-consuming. It is better to try and book a translator in advance for accurate translations. It will help to avoid any delays for your patients. Other than this, you can also work with your reception team beforehand. This team can ask your patients if they want a translator before making an appointment and registration. 

3. Understand the requirements

Before you venture into hiring a translator to aid you during the dental procedure, it is important to know the requirements beforehand. In order for the consent to be valid, it is necessary that the patient understands the information before communicating his decision. In order for this to happen, it is essential not to use a biased source for translation.

Some relatives of the patient may volunteer to do the translation for you. Avoid falling into this trap as it might lead to false translations. Although it might seem convenient to get the help of a relative, there is no way of ensuring the information conveyed to the patient is not changed in some manner. The same goes for colleagues, as they may also change the information being conveyed to suit their own motives.

Even though colleagues can sometimes offer help, there is a risk of misinterpretation and mistranslation. This is because their own knowledge of dental practice may influence the translation. This will not be suitable for a patient they have not examined. Tread carefully when choosing a translator for your dental services. It’s recommended to choose professional dentistry translation services for a hassle-free experience.

4. Learn the basics

Although you can always hire professionals to do the translation job for you, it is better if you are familiar with some basic greetings or words of a foreign language that your patient knows. Learn small phrases such as “Hello, how are you?” or “Thank you”. Speaking even a small phrase of greeting can put a patient at ease and allow you to make a meaningful and deep connection with the patient. It can also build a favorable reputation for you and your dental service. Learn the basics of any language online through applications and programs. Apply to learn a few common phrases and terminologies related to dentistry. It will help you convey medical information to the patient easily and effectively. In case you are performing an oral examination, you should know which phrases to use to ask the patient to open and close the mouth.

5. Make use of written material

Apart from using oral interpretation services to convey information, written documents are also important in ensuring smooth communication. You should always have translated documents ready for your patients after their procedures. These written documents are necessary so that your patients are aware of the at-home care and after-care and prescription directions. Many medical translation services are available that can have all the written content translated for you. Other than that, you can also hire a person who can translate and write the information related to your procedure. Such a person can translate your after-care documents as well as type them for your patients.

6. Be creative in communication

Communicating and conveying information to a foreign-language-speaking patient can be a daunting task.  That’s why you should always have a translator ready on the phone or at the practice before proceeding with the appointment. 

If getting a translator ready beforehand is not possible, you can always use creative means to convey your information to your patient. You can use a “number finger” system with your patient. For example, if your patient wants to ask a question, you can get them to point one finger up during a session. You could also convey to them to get three fingers up if they are not feeling well.

In order to be creative, it is first important to convey different signals to your patient even before the procedure starts. For example, if your patient is having chest pains but does not know how to communicate this, it may have devastating consequences. You can convey to the patient at the start of the appointment to hold up three fingers if he is having chest pains. Doing so will ensure the situation does not get out of hand in case of an emergency. It may also give the patient a greater sense of control.

7. Plan together with your team

Demonstrating teamwork before and during your dental procedure can be helpful in ensuring a good reputation for your dental service. If you know one of the staff members or nurses knows the language that your patient speaks, consider planning beforehand and work with them before the appointment. An unbiased colleague can help in ensuring smooth communication with a patient throughout the procedure. Nevertheless, you can try to widen your team to include translators and interpreters who can easily communicate in the language of your patients.

8. Keep a check 

It is important to keep a check on your patient during and after an appointment. Never assume that your patient understands the information that you are trying to communicate. Use a teach-back method in order to ensure you and the patient are on the same page. Allow the patient and his family members to convey back the information you have just given to them. By using this method, you will be able to know if they understand your procedures and after-care instructions. 

9. Get help from dental translators

Translation of dental material and content can be a tough and daunting task for you. This is why it is always better to take the help of competent translators or professional translation agencies with expertise in medical translation. A dental translation agency will help you in communicating instructions to your patients during an appointment. It will also ensure all the services related to dentistry are translated accurately. 

For example, if you plan on establishing communication with a firm supplying dental equipment, you can hire a translation agency. A professional translation agency will also translate other marketing material for your dental services. These can include websites and software.

Moreover, with the help of a dental translation partner, you can ensure hassle-free and smooth communication with your patients for a beneficial dental procedure.

Key Takeaway

Dental procedures and practices are an important part of the medical field. To ensure smooth dental procedures, it is crucial to establish communication with your patients. However, in cases where the patients do not speak or understand your language, you may need the support of a dental translator. Here a certified dental translation agency can help to interpret or translate the dental information for you. By getting this information translated into the language that your patient speaks, you can ensure uninterrupted dental service for your patients.