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Use of machine translation in healthcare

At a glance


The current migration crises as well as the necessity to recruit healthcare staff from abroad highlight the need for healthcare providers to deal with language barriers in a way that is efficient and patient-centred.

Machine translation (MT) opens up new possibilities for multilingual communication and is increasingly being used by healthcare professionals. Despite its potential, though, this use can include risks such as erroneous and disruptive communication, leading to less trusting relationships with patients and lower healthcare quality.

To date, recommendations on the use of MT in this setting are scarce and rarely evidence-based. In this project, we will interview healthcare professionals about their use of MT and test available tools for their suitability in healthcare. The goal is to determine professionals’ needs with respect to languages and MT applications, with a view to improving these digital tools, and to derive a set of recommendations for using MT to fully exploit their potential in healthcare.