Why create a Spanish version of your website?
The demand for Spanish online health information is increasing. Hispanic usage of health care websites is growing twice as fast as the general market. In September 2011, a total of 17.2 million Hispanics visited a health related website; this represents 52% of all online Hispanics and an annual growth rate of 31%.
Spanish is the second-most spoken native language throughout the world behind Mandarin. It is also the third-most spoken language in the world. The Hispanic population of the United States is increasing making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority.
In 2010, largest prevalence of diabetes were among Hispanic compared with prevalence among white, non-Hispanic and Asian adults. Making information accessible to this population therefore presents a great opportunity for health care providers. Increasing access to health information in their language can help prevent and manage diabetes as well as other health conditions.
Spanish speaking patients not only have a language barrier when communicating their health needs but also have the barrier of accessing health information in their own language. Even when there is information available sometimes this information is not translated correctly and is not culturally appropriate.
From my experience as a bilingual health educator and my learnings from Mass Communication in Public Health course here are 3 tips on how you can create a Spanish version of your website and engage your new audience.
- Translate information in a way that meets your audience needs: It is very important to identify your key target markets to ensure that the Spanish you are using is appropriate. Spanish language can vary from country to country and culture to culture. Going with a professional translation agency and looking for a native speaker to ensure the language is localized is highly recommended. Recently the American Diabetes Association made the switch from Spain Spanish to a more Universal Spanish form of language.
2. Create a website that offers easy to understand health information: Provide access to download PDF files of educational information or insert health education videos. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is a great example of this.
3. Connect with your audience via testimonials or sharing of real life stories: The National Center for Farmworker Health is a great example of how testimonials/stories from the field can help connect your audience. The diffusion of innovations theory indicates that potential adopters evaluate an innovation on its relative advantage. The perceived health benefits gained by the proposed healthy behaviors relative to current behaviors. Sharing of stories can help this potential adopters evaluate the benefits to a change in lifestyle or adherence to medications.
Feeling inspired and wondering how to start a website? The following is a list of low cost vendors free tools on the Web today that offer do-it-yourself technology to help you build your first website and/or create multilingual websites: Wix, SquareSpace, GoogleSites, Weebly, WordPress.
The Texas Medical Association placed together a list of Spanish Language Health Sites that provide good examples, click here to view list. This website also provide useful Spanish educational resources.