Most hospitals now service patients in at least 3 languages. The need for wayfinding in several languages has become well known in the industry. “Multilingual signage has become standard as healthcare facilities adapt to the population’s growing cultural diversity,” writes Healthcare Design magazine. Additionally, any multi-language wayfinding system requires set up by experts as there are many nuances that must be dealt with. “Translation of common terms requires not only literal but also regional awareness—Spanish is spoken differently in Texas than it is in California, for instance. And context is key; terms that are sensitive to patient needs and perspectives must be considered as a part of any wayfinding program.”
Now that facilities understand the requirements of multilingual signage, there are a lot of questions that pop up:
- How do you even start a project like this?
- How do you achieve this type of support for languages without all of the administrative burden?
- How do you make it clear and not cluttered for everyone involved?
- What is the best solution?
- How can it be done easily and effectively?
In order to answer those questions best, it is always useful to start with an example. Recently, a client of ours presented a project to us that had some rather unique requirements for their touchscreen directory systems. This client’s facility is host to a diverse set of visitors, creating a situation in which multi-lingual translations were very important to them. They required that their interactive directories would display in three languages: English, Spanish and Hmong. Furthermore, they have an older building with floor plan layouts that can create a bit of confusion for people that are visiting for the first time in a most cases.
Our Sales Rep, Travis, provided a demo of the software and had a Support Team member talk with their IT group to ensure that this type of a display would meet all of their needs while remaining easy to manage. The biggest obstacle to finalizing the deal was the fact that we needed them to provide their own translations for us. But that ended up being easier for them to complete on their own than they had expected. In addition to their custom functionality, the customer also decided to display our TouchSource Live News, Weather, Amenities and Traffic, to enhance the user experience.
Liz, our content manager, maintained regular contact with the customer in order to obtain their directory listings, as well as the maps, and worked hard to help them meet their target date. Liz worked with Nicole in Production to provide the design and layout, getting step-by-step approvals for each development milestone. Focusing on the most important aspects – photos and logos, listings for directory/search capability, and floorplan graphics for wayfinding/mapping functionality – helped to keep things simple, and allowed us to arrive at project completion in a timely manner.
The translations were the last piece of content to arrive. While we waited for that piece, Nicole set up the project with test listings in Spanish and Hmong, so that when we received everything, the project could stage quickly. All three languages needed to display on the wayfinding maps, and Nicole employed a method of enabling the chosen language throughout all aspects of the program using JQuery. For updating in the future, the customer would need only to enter their translations into separate fields for each listing.
Our client received their systems in time to meet their deadline, and we were able to work with them to achieve every aspect of their project requirements. It was a solid team effort, and we look forward to offering a fast and easy solution for any healthcare customer requiring two or more languages on their interactive building directories and digital signage in the future.
Now that our process has been streamlined, contact us to learn more about how we can help with your multi-language wayfinding needs!
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“At first I was wary about ordering an electronic directory but after working with your support team we absolutely love them and it’s always so nice and easy to work with support from your company.”Property Manager, Cincinnati, OH
“After working with old-fashioned directory strips, I can’t believe
how easy it is to update my TouchSource Directory from my desk!”Property Manager, Seattle, WA
“I’ve been thrilled with the product. I can’t tell you how great it is to log in, type out an entry, and then have it appear. Ordering little plastic strips (that can cost an arm and a leg), getting the formatting right, getting them installed – I’ll never go back! You’ve earned a very loyal customer.”Tenant Coordinator, Washington, DC