Summer Travels: Seeking Medical Care in Foreign Countries

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Summertime is here (along with the heat wave!) and that means vacations are starting for many. This also means it’s peak tourist season as many of us will be traveling to different places around the globe, hoping to find that particularly special escape from our daily lives. So what will it be this year – are you off to a hot or cold destination?

No matter the destination (or the weather), there is one thing every traveller thinks about, especially if they’re traveling with their family to foreign destinations – safety. Do you have the tools and information you need to travel safely and securely? One important aspect of safety is our health. Research has shown that roughly half of overseas travelers develop medical problems during their journey. What would happen if you or a loved one got sick? What if you had to seek medical care in a foreign country?

A multilingual healthcare communication solution in your pocket

Our team here at UniversalDoctor thinks about this constantly, always looking at how we can use our core strengths to help you stay in good health, even abroad. That’s why we developed a mobile application that uses the technology of our multilingual software system for Hospitals.

It’s called:  UniversalDoctor Speaker: Medical Translator with Audio

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What does it do?

Well, it’s the most comprehensive mobile medical translator app –  with thousands of sentences and native audios in 13 languages to facilitate medical visits in over 120 countries. That’s over 60% of the world’s countries! It covers every step of medical visits, whether you’re in a hospital or primary care clinic, starting from accurately explaining your symptoms to understanding your diagnosis and treatment. How do we do this? By providing translations from both the patient side and the doctor side that are organized in a way to facilitate multilingual communication between you and a doctor.

That’s not all, the app also features:

  • SEARCH – a search function helping you find the phrase you need in an emergency,
  • TRANSLATE YOUR HEALTH – the capacity to translate your medical conditions, allergies and prescriptions,
  • OFFLINE MODE – the app works entirely offline so you don’t need any connection or data plan to use the app.

And best of all, it doesn’t add any weight to your suitcase as it operates directly from your mobile device (iPhone or iPad… Android version coming soon!).


Now you may have noticed that we said 13 languages earlier, but there are 12 currently in the app… that’s because we’re just about to launch a NEW language that has been in very high demand by our users and will come in very handy during the upcoming vacation season!

Keep your eye on this blog to find out which new language we’re adding very soon…


UniversalDoctor Speaker (iPhone/iPad) Free for a Short Time Thanks to Hospital Clinic of Barcelona


The Hospital Clínic of Barcelona, a teaching hospital founded in 1906 that belongs to the Catalan Public Hospital Network (XHUP), is implementing UniversalDoctor Speaker for Hospitals (web version) in their hospital.

We are happy to be offering the staff of their hospital the mobile version of UniversalDoctor Speaker (iPhone and iPad) for free for a short a time. The mobile app can be downloaded by anyone from the link below, so be sure you get it soon!

UniversalDoctor Speaker for iPhone and iPad – Free

Hospital Clinic serves a population of 540,000 inhabitants.

Doctor and Medical Interpreter Video Reviews of UniversalDoctor Speaker

At the Geneva Health Forum, we were fortunate to receive two video reviews by Dr. Gimeno (Spanish) and Barbara Navaza, Medical Interpreter, (English) of UniversalDoctor Speaker, explaining the benefits of using the tool in their different lines of work. You can watch the videos below.

We’re always looking for and appreciate feedback on UniversalDoctor Speaker to improve it for your needs! Leave a comment if you have a suggestion.


UniversalDoctor Project Team


UniversalDoctor Upgrades to 12 Languages with Addition of Polish


If you have never been to Poland, now might be the time to travel there with peace of mind. UniversalDoctor Speaker for iPhone and iPad has just been upgraded to now offer 12 languages, with Polish being our newest addition. Polish is the 2nd most widely spoken Slavic language, after Russian and before Ukrainian.

Poland is one of the most linguistically homogenous European countries with nearly 97% of Poland’s citizens stating Polish as their mother language. Outside of Poland, there are roughly 20 million people of Polish ancestry living abroad, making the Polish diaspora one of the largest in the world. In England and Wales, there are over 500,000 people who consider Polish to be their main language. Other major Polish diasporas can be found in Germany, Ukraine, Belarus, Lithuania, France, Sweden, Ireland, the United States, Canada and Brazil… just to name a few!

As a patient who is traveling, or a healthcare professional who is often treating Polish people, UniversalDoctor Speaker can help facilitate medical visits between Polish and the 11 other languages in the application (English, French, Spanish, German, Russian, Romanian, Portuguese, Catalan, Chinese, Japanese and Arabic).


UniversalDoctor Speaker: Medical Translator with Audio


Don’t let a health problem or chronic condition keep you from traveling to new places with foreign languages. Download UniversalDoctor Speaker today to have a mobile medical translator in your pocket with 12 languages (and more coming soon!). You decide the language you want to communicate in by choosing the patient language and the doctor language.





Immigrant and Migrant Health: Growing Need for Medical Interpreters


What if you were in a country where you didn’t speak the local language? Imagine getting sick, going to the doctor and not being able to describe your symptoms properly, or worse, misunderstanding your diagnosis or the treatment options available to you.

As immigrant populations grow, so does the need for interpreting healthcare and medical services in hospitals and clinics. Language and cultural barriers can be big obstacles for understanding a patient’s needs, communicating medical issues and delivering good health care. In the worst case scenario, these barriers can lead to errors in treatment and care. Medical interpreters play an important role in ensuring accurate health care communication between patients and health care professionals.

This is why we’d like to highlight the work of the International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) and their recent IMIA Conference 2013, which is the largest conference on medical interpreting, held on January 18-20, 2013.

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The International Medical Interpreters Association (IMIA) is an international organization with over 2,000 members providing interpreting services in over 70 languages. They are committed to the advancement of professional medical interpreters as the best practice to equitable language access to health care for linguistically diverse patients. Members of IMIA are added to their searchable international registry of medical interpreters, connecting interpreters to where they are needed. IMIA is now rolling out oral certification exams in Russian, Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese and Korean, and offering free membership for minority language interpreters. To learn more, see the announcement here.

The 2013 IMIA Conference was kicked off with a Medical Terminology Boot Camp, followed by 2 days of sessions. The keynote was given by Guadalupe Pacheco, Senior Health Adviser to the Minority Office of Health, US Department of Health. Sessions touched on certification, implications of social media and apps as tools in the Interpreter profession, a National Coalition of Interpreter Associations, and more. (To learn more about the Conference, download their brochure & visit their website.)

How can UniversalDoctor play a role in supporting medical interpretation to enable good communication and delivery of health care to linguistically diverse patients? Though the main aim of our medical translator mobile app – UniversalDoctor Speaker – is a travel health tool, it can also serve as an educational tool for interpreters looking to gain medical certification and practice their abilities. Let us know what you think of our app in the comments! How could we improve it as an educational tool for interpreters to support their work?


For more info on how medical interpreters support healthcare for all, view the articles below:

Growing immigrant population spurs demand for medical interpreters [Kaiser Health News]

Medical interpreters help patients, doctors communicate [USA Today]

Language services are an essential health benefit, too [Mercury News]

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