Google Translate still isn’t good enough for medical instructions

Google Translate still isn’t good enough for medical instructions


Illustration by Ana Kova

Google Translate still isn’t reliable enough to use for medical instructions for people who don’t speak English, according to a new study published last week. Sometimes, it works: it was the most accurate when translating emergency department discharge instructions into Spanish. But a lot of the time, especially with less common languages, it doesn’t — the study found it was only 55 percent accurate for Armenian. That’s a big problem when it comes to health information, where any misunderstanding can be dangerous.

“All you need is one error that creates confusion for a patient, and they don’t take their blood thinner or they take too much of their blood thinner,” says study author Lisa Diamond, a health disparities researcher at…

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