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  • Writer's pictureAna Catarina Lopes

Why medical tourism needs translation services

Updated: Sep 27, 2021

In recent years medical tourism has become a real trend and the healthcare industry has adapted itself to the demands of patient-travelers. To reach your target audience and clearly convey what you offer as a medical tourism destination, you should work with a native translation provider. Let’s see why.

Why medical tourism needs translation services

Nowadays, many long-time holiday destinations offer top-quality healthcare facilities to their visitors, where they can find specialized professionals and state of the art medical equipment.

Medical tourists are patients with chronic conditions who wish to travel and enjoy a vacation with the peace of mind of knowing they will have access to modern medical facilities that offer them top-quality care if they need it, patients who need long-term or temporary care and seek treatment in a more enjoyable location, and patients with a condition that requires specialized healthcare professionals and equipment that are not available at their home country.

The most advanced technology and better-quality care, quicker access to necessary or elective procedures and lower cost – these are the main criteria for choosing a medical tourism destination. However, there is another factor that may play a major role in medical tourists’ decision – language.

What is the role of a linguist in the medical tourism industry?

It seems an easy task: a healthcare company offering medical tourism services writes their copy and has it translated into the language of their target audience, right?

Not so fast.

You and your company know what you offer to your patients, but do you know how to make it appealing to your different audiences?

Probably not. This is when transcreation and cultural consultancy come in handy. A transcreator will make your copy appealing to your target audience in their native language, ensuring the text is not only linguistically correct but also culturally relevant.

You are providing more than medical care; you are also offering the opportunity to rest and enjoy time-off during treatments or recovery. Usually, patients are accompanied by a friend or relative and they will want to enjoy all that the destination has to offer.

Make sure all your marketing materials, such as your website, brochures, social media campaigns, are fully adapted to your target audience and you’ll become a top-choice medical tourism destination.

As an added bonus, consider making interpreting services available to your guests. Having the assurance that there will not be a language barrier, particularly at crucial times such as visits and tests, will certainly help your target audience choose you as their destination.

Don’t sell your fish to the wrong audience!

Here’s an example of what you would need to consider when adapting your marketing materials to different target audiences:

In Portugal, medical tourism plays a big part in the economy of the Algarve. For decades, this region has been visited by tourists coming from northern and central Europe in search of a sunny destination to play golf, go to the beach or even a countryside tour while enjoying the local food.

For domestic tourists, the hot weather and distinctive fish-based gastronomy would be the top things to include in Algarve’s marketing materials.

However, if you base your advertising efforts on these features when addressing the British or the German tourists, you will probably find out that your campaign isn’t working as it should. As any local will tell you, British people are not so keen on trying different things when it comes to food, and German tourists are not big fans of anything that used to live in the sea before you find it in your dish.

Also, summertime in the Algarve can get really hot, with temperatures reaching nearly 40°C, which may not be that much enjoyable for someone coming from colder countries. That’s one of the reasons why international tourism peaks during Spring and early Autumn, rather than in the Summer months.

As you see, there’s no “universal copy” that fits the bill for all your potential guests coming from different parts of the world. If you rely on the expertise of a native translation provider, you’ll get a better outcome as a medical tourism destination.

When you offer top-quality medical care, an appealing copy will bring patients right to your door.


About the author:

Ana Catarina is an English to Portuguese translator specialized in Healthcare and Marketing. She helps foreign companies to launch their brand and products in the Portuguese market by translating, localizing and transcreating their client-targeted contents to make them appealing to the Portuguese public.

1 Comment

Betty Ingram
Betty Ingram
Aug 31, 2022

I appreciate your guidance, it is too much informative. BTW in a recent research an article is written on top 5 medical translation agencies here is it's link: I hope it will be beneficial for the readers of this article.

Med & Mark - A blog about medical and marketing translation
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