Google Translate is still missing medical instructions
Google Translate is still missing medical instructions

According to a new study published last week, for those who don't speak English, Google Translate is still not reliable enough to be used for medical purposes.

Sometimes this works because the service is more accurate when translating emergency exit instructions into Spanish.

However, this is not usually the case, especially when using a less well-known language. The study found that the Armenian language has only 55% accuracy.

This is a big problem when it comes to health information and medical instructions because any misunderstanding can be dangerous.

Study author Lisa Diamond said all you have to do is make a mistake that confuses patients, so they stop taking blood thinners or lots of blood thinners and eventually face a medical emergency. Cancer Center

Federal guidelines require hospitals and medical facilities to provide translation and interpretation services for patients who do not understand English.

The guidelines are designed to meet urgent needs because these patients are at a greater risk of medical complications as they may not understand the medical advice provided by the doctors.

However, due to the high cost, many hospitals do not provide translation services for every patient in need, and many medical institutions have made great efforts.

Additionally, if hospital staff have interpreters or use an interpreter for verbal communication, they are unlikely to translate written instructions.

UCLA Health, associate professor of emergency clinical medicine and co-author of the study (Breena Taira), said there is a huge gap in the ability to provide written information to patients.

Tyra explained that it is becoming increasingly common in the medical world for doctors to use Google Translate.

This new study evaluated 400 emergency room export instructions that were translated by Google Translate into seven different languages: Spanish, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tagalog, Korean, Armenian, and Farsi.

Native speakers read the translation and rate its accuracy. Generally, the accuracy of translated instructions is over 80%.

This is an improvement in 2014 when analysis found that Google Translate's medical information accuracy rate was less than 60%.

Google Translate improved with the new algorithm in 2016. A 2019 study found that the accuracy rate for the Spanish language is as high as 90%.

This new analysis found that accuracy varies from language to language as the accuracy of Google Translate in Spanish is over 90%.

Tagalog, Korean and Chinese range from 80% to 90%.

Persian accuracy decreased by 67% while Armenia accuracy decreased by 55%.

In one example, Google Translate translates “You can take ibuprofen if you are in pain” into “You can use anti-tank missiles as often as you need” in Armenian.

Additionally, generally correct languages ​​(such as Spanish and Chinese) can contain errors in Google Translate that can confuse patients.

"According to your instructions, your coumarin levels are very high today. Do not take more coumarin until your doctor checks the results and translates them into Chinese." Patients taking the blood lipid-lowering drug coumarin. Do not use soy until your doctor verifies the results. ''

According to Diamond, one of the main problems with using machine translation is that the context cannot be interpreted and the program may not be able to recognize words as drug names.

Machine translation software can be improved to the extent that it can accurately and securely translate medical information. However, depending on how it works today, there is still a long way to go.

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