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Engaging Ethnic Communities: Why go multicultural with new media?
As we know, the U.S. has become increasingly diverse. In 2008, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the minority population is an estimated 104.6 million, or 34 percent of the population. Additionally, the Bureau reported that 44 percent of children under age 18 are now from minority families. Not surprisingly, Latinos make up the largest and fastest growing minority population followed by Asians. (See chart below)

Types and trends of new media usage
Looking up healthcare information is one of the three top online activities in the U.S. In fact, 132 million Americans are online today and almost 80 percent of them are searching for health information. Some other interesting trends from a recent by Pew Internet Research Study include: Seven-in-ten adult internet users, or roughly half of all U.S. adults, have used the internet to watch or download videos. Half of online users share videos. In 2009, nearly 9 out of 10 U.S adults (or more than 270 million people) subscribe to a mobile service compared with 77 percent of Americans who use the internet. Who’s looking? Compared with all other racial and ethnic groups, Latinos increasingly turn to the internet for health information. Other non-Hispanic populations (Asians, Native Hawaiians, Pacific Islanders, American Indians, Alaskan Natives, and people who named multiple races) also frequently look to the internet for health information. In addition, more Latinos (62 percent) access the internet via a handheld or wireless device compared to whites. And according to a 2009 study by Florida State University Center for Hispanic Marketing Communication, certain minorities visit social networking sites more frequently than non-Hispanic whites. (See graph on next page)
Q: What is new media? A: Online, digital and mobile ways of connecting and receiving all types of content or information. It’s about getting whatever information you want, whenever and wherever it is convenient for you.

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Additionally, some ethnic minorities tend to be drawn to collectivistic values and often look to one another to help guide decisions and opinions. They are more likely to leverage social networks to communicate with groups of family and friends who are geographically dispersed. Not always for the young. The largest age group on Twitter in early 2009 was 35-49; almost 42 percent of the site’s audience. The fastest growing population on Facebook is age 55 and older.

What, where and when to use it?
New media is not about tools and technology; it’s about creating venues for exchange and human connection. Tools and technology just facilitate the whole ability to interact. Where is it being used? Given that 70 percent of online adults have searched for health information over the internet, it is no surprise that the number of U.S. hospitals using the popular micro-blogging site Twitter or posting videos on YouTube channels has skyrocketed in the last few years. (See below)

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There is also an increased adoption of video usage in healthcare; anything from compliance and marketing to clinical care and efficiency. Interestingly, multilingual videos have also been rising, with Spanish videos growing more rapidly than in other languages. Online Hispanics in the U.S. are "media mavens," consuming and adopting media and technology at a higher rate than the general population, according to recent research released by Yahoo! Telemundo and Experian Simmons Research. A recent study from comScore reported that 71 percent of Hispanics access mobile content compared to 48 percent of the general market. What about mobile? There is no doubt that mobile is one of the largest growing markets—in fact, there are nearly 4.6 billion mobile phones on the planet covering almost two-thirds of the world’s population. According to the 2007 Pew Internet & American Life Project, nearly 75% of white Americans have cell phones, while 84% of Latinos and 71% of African-Americans have them. The study also shows that certain minorities, particularly Hispanics, are much more likely to engage in mobile activity as a primary vehicle for sending and receiving messages, emailing, taking pictures, and social networking. When to use multilingual new media? New media and multimedia can significantly improve information retention, particularly when dealing with low health literacy and/or multilingual audiences. Allowing the audience to see, hear and read the information can greatly improve their chances of behavior change or learning new health habits. Multilingual media can be used by all types of healthcare organizations for topics such as: Welcome/orientation videos Health and wellness Disease management/education Exam/hospital room Age-specific or habit-related content Pre-diagnosis Post diagnosis /discharge At home or on the go

Healthy Eating in a New Land
Diet changes often mean obesity, Diabetes and other health conditions. New media reaches: • Limited English Proficiency • Low native English literacy • Limited literacy in native language

Source: University of Minnesota Extension's Simply Good Eating Program

Tips for reaching and engaging through new media channels
Pre-project Assessment: Identify your goals/initiatives: Define your scope, clinical areas of focus, internal and external resources, etc. Know your target culture and community: Consider factors such as race, ethnicity, religion, age, and gender as well as cultural health beliefs, customs, and practices. Define delivery methods: If using video, where/how will the video be viewed? If it will be posted online, consider the internet bandwidth and location of your audience (home vs. work).
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Before Translating, Remember: Use professional linguists: Cultural nuances can be lost in direct, word-for-word translations, and using machine translation for critical healthcare communications can be a costly gamble. Utilizing professional translators can ensure the readability, accuracy and effectiveness of your messages. Keep messages clear and concise: Use plain language written no higher than a 6th grade literacy level, and try to focus on key messages or what patients need to know. If “Tweeting” or blogging, avoid jargon: Don’t use a big word where a small one will do; don’t use three words where one will do. If you need to clarify a tweet, link to a blog post or article on your website. Keep word length in mind: Translated text can expand 25-80 percent, so consider word and sentence length in your online, audio or video messages. Video Localization Tips: Include culturally-relevant content: Use appropriate images, colors and symbols that match the target culture and beliefs. To speak or not to speak? Engineering costs increase with voiceover and voice syncing. Consider replacing some audio with animations, subtitles or interactivity which can be more economical and more impactful to your audience. Speak slowly, clearly: Try to speak at a 6th-8th grade level, and avoid lengthy sentences/paragraphs, slang and idiomatic expressions. Translator timing is key: Localized videos can be as much as 50 percent longer than the English videos, so syncing audio and video for the final project should be done and tested meticulously. Assess Results: Determine what will be reported by your community and how in order to assess the effectiveness of your video and elicit feedback.

About viaLanguage
To learn more about new media translation and localization, or how viaLanguage can help ensure you always say what you mean when communicating with your patients, members and community, contact us at 1-800-737-8481 or visit us online at

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