The production process involves three steps.

1 Choose a Translation Option

There are two ways to approach the translation of a health resource. Both approaches require NAATI-accredited translators and checkers (or ‘recognised’ translators if the language is not yet accredited via NAATI).

If you choose to use an agency to produce your resource, check if they can demonstrate experience in health translation and in multilingual typesetting and printing.

Top Tip: MHCS uses only NAATI-accredited translators and checkers for all accredited languages, and NAATI ‘recognised’ translators for other languages. 

Option 1 Provide a Suitable English Version to the Translator

In most cases, you’ll need to rewrite the resource in clear, cohesive and unambiguous English to meet the needs of your target audience. For more information on suitable English, see Planning & Budgeting.

Ensure the English version is finalised before sending it to the translator, as any re-translation work will incur an additional cost.

Option 2 Provide Essential Elements to a Bilingual Writer

It’s often better to provide the health information you want to convey to a bilingual writer (eg via dot points) and brief them to write a cohesive resource presenting the information in the most effective way for your audience. Very often translators offer this service.

Top Tip:

MHCS offers end-to-end translation services for health resources using both of these approaches.

2 Translate

Provide your translators with a clear brief on the exact requirements, along with contact details for translation questions.

As with producing English resources, don’t include information that may change in the near future such as names or individual phone numbers in the resource. Ensure you have permission to use copyrighted text and images and appropriate consent for images of individuals, and that photographers are credited.

If you are coordinating the project, a job sheet can be useful, including dates and contact details for each language version as it moves through the translation process mhcs-external-translation-request-form

Translation is an Art

Translation is a complex process. Languages rarely drop into equivalence and where there is no exact correspondent in the other language, translators may need to:

  • choose appropriate substitutions
  • rearrange word order
  • use other linguistic devices
  • include explanatory phrases.



Top Tip: The NSW Standard Procedures for Working with Health Care Interpreters offers helpful guidance.

3 Design

Once you have appropriate text in the community language, it’s time to design the resource. Make sure you:

  • include the date of production, details of who owns the publication and who is responsible for the content.
  • include the title heading and sub-heading in the community language first, with English following in a slightly smaller font. This will help English-only health staff identify the publication and use it effectively.
  • clearly identify the name of the language in its script and in English, for example, ‘Italiano, Italian’ on every page. This should appear in the top left.
  • Identify any words to be included in English, for example the names of community health centres, addresses, etc.
  • number each page

MHCS Production Process

When MHCS receives an inquiry, the client is contacted within five working days to discuss:

  • language and translation, including how well the chosen languages match community needs
  • appropriateness of English text.
  • possible dissemination channels for the resource, including on the MHCS website

MHCS provides the client with a proposal including required formats, timelines and an estimate of the costs.