Translations for patient safety communication

Vital documents in the Hungarian health sector


  • Ágnes Horváth Semmelweis University, Budapest, Hungary



vital documents, medical translation, clear communication, patient safety, language assistance


Clear communication is essential to ensure patient safety and quality care, and written communication and translated documents play a crucial role in their provision. Therefore, it is critical to create a list of vital documents and to ensure that they are language accessible for patients who do not speak the local language. The purpose of this study is to identify documents created within the Hungarian health sector, which contain health or legal information that may have important implications for patients’ health, and are also essential for the provision of safe and high-quality health care, and which would also need to be made accessible to foreign patients. The study involved seven health professionals and a medical lawyer. Data was collected using qualitative methods, including semi-structured interviews and an online questionnaire. The data obtained was subjected to basic thematic and frequency analysis. The results show that health professionals consider six documents to be vital for Hungarian health care. In addition to this, a few other non-treatment related documents were identified, whose translation would greatly contribute to effective communication with foreign patients. This study provides a solid basis for the creation of an official list of vital documents for the Hungarian healthcare system and can serve as a guide for other linguistic environments as well.


Download data is not yet available.


Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, AHRQ. 2010. AHRQ Health Literacy Universal Precautions Toolkit. Office of Minority Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Baruch, Erica, and Sherry. F. Walker. 2013. Health Equity and Language Access. How Language Access Issues Affect Patients, Policymakers and Health Care Providers. The Colorado Trust.

Brelsford, Kathleen M., Ernesto Ruiz, and Laura Beskow. 2018. “Developing Informed Consent Materials for Non-English-Speaking Participants: An Analysis of Four Professional Firm Translations from English to Spanish.” Clinical Trials (London, England) 15 (6): 557–66. DOI:

California Health Care Safety Net Institute. 2005. Straight Talk: Model Hospital Policies and Procedures on Language Access.

Cohen, Jordan J., Barbara A. Gabriel, and Charles Terrell. 2002. “The Case for Diversity in the Health Care Workforce.” Health Affairs 21 (5): 90–102. DOI:

Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Health and Human Services Massachusetts Department of Public Health 2001. Best Practice Recommendations for Hospital-based Interpreter Services. Office of Minority Health.

European Commission 2021. Foreign Language Skills Statistics. Eurostat.

Federal Coordination and Compliance Section Civil Rights Division U.S. Department of Justice. 2011. Language Access Assessment and Planning Tool for Federally Conducted and Federally Assisted Programs. U.S. Department of Justice.

Flores, Glenn. 2005. “The Impact of Medical Interpreter Services on the Quality of Health Care: A Systematic Review.” Medical Care Research and Review: MCRR 62 (3): 255–99. DOI:

García-Izquierdo, Isabel, and Vicent Montalt. 2022. “Cultural Competence and the Role of the Patient’s Mother Tongue: An Exploratory Study of Health Professionals’ Perceptions.” Societies, 12 (2): 53. DOI:

Gellér, Balázs J., ed. 2012. Harmadik országbeli állampolgárok hozzáférése az egészségügyi ellátórendszerhez. Tullius Kiadó.

Hablamos Juntos. 2012. Developing the Translation Brief. Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

Hanrahan, Donna, Patrina Sexton, Katrina Hui, Jennifer Teitcher, Jeremy Sugarman, Alex J. London, Mark Barnes, James Purpura, and Robert Klitzman. 2015. “Linguistic and Cultural Challenges in Communication and Translation in US-Sponsored HIV Prevention Research in Emerging Economies.” PLOS ONE 10 (7): e0133394, DOI:

Harsham, Philip. 1984. “A Misinterpreted Word Worth $71 million.” Med Econ 61 (5): 289–92.

HHS. 2003. Guidance to Federal Financial Assistance Recipients Regarding Title VI Prohibition Against National Origin Discrimination Affecting Limited English Proficient Persons.

HHS OMH. 2005. A Patient-Centered Guide to Implementing Language Access Services in Healthcare organizations.

HHS OMH. 2013. National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care: A Blueprint for Advancing and Sustaining CLAS Policy and Practice.

Horváth, Ágnes. 2022. “Patient Safety Communication in Translation: A Corpus-Based Genre Analysis of the Hungarian-English Translation of Informed Consent Forms.” PhD diss., Eötvös Loránd University.

House, Juliane. 1977. “A Model for Assessing Translation Quality.” Meta: Translators’ Journal 22 (2): 103–09. DOI:

Kamaara, Eunice, Camillia Kong, and Megan Campbell. 2020. “Prioritising African Perspectives in Psychiatric Genomics Research: ISSUES of Translation and Informed Consent.” Developing World Bioethics 20 (3): 139–49. DOI:

KSH. 2023. Magyarországon tartózkodó külföldi állampolgárok, az állampolgárság országa és nem szerint, január 1.

Lindholm, Mary, J. Lee Hargraves, Warren J. Ferguson, and George Reed. 2012. “Professional Language Interpretation and Inpatient Length of Stay and Readmission Rates.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 27: 1294‒99. DOI:

Magyar Közlöny. 1997. 1997. évi CLIV. törvény az egészségügyről.

Nord, Christiane. 1997. “Defining Translation Functions. The Translation Brief as a Guideline for the Trainee Translator.” Ilha do desterro. A Journal of English Language, Literature in English and Cultural Studies 33: 41–55.

Oppenheim, Abraham N. 1992. Questionnaire Design, Interviewing and Attitude Measurement. New ed., Pinter Publishers.

Park, Elyse R., Joseph R. Betancourt, Minah K. Kim, Angela W. Maina, David Blumenthal, and Joel S. Weissman. 2005. “Mixed Messages: Residents’ Experiences Learning Cross-Cultural Care.” Academic medicine: journal of the Association of American Medical Colleges 80 (9): 874–80. DOI:

Prata, Ghislaine. 2015. Language Access Policy. Planning & Implementation Guide. Jeffery Hale – Saint Brigid’s.

Regenstein, Marsha, Ellie Andres, and Mathew K. Wynia. 2013. Promoting Appropriate Use of Physicians’ Non-English Language Skills in Clinical Care: Recommendations for Policymakers, Organizations and Clinicians. American Medical Association. DOI:

The Guide. n.d. Think Cultural Health.

The Joint Commission. 2010. Advancing Effective Communication, Cultural Competence, and Patient- and Family-Centered Care: A Roadmap for Hospitals. The Joint Commission.

Wu, Shinyi, M. Susan Ridgely, José J. Escarce, and Leo Morales. S. 2007. “Language Access Services for Latinos with Limited English Proficiency: Lessons Learned from Hablamos Juntos.” Journal of General Internal Medicine 22 (Suppl 2): 350–55. DOI:



30. 06. 2023




How to Cite

Horváth, Ágnes. (2023). Translations for patient safety communication: Vital documents in the Hungarian health sector. STRIDON: Journal of Studies in Translation and Interpreting, 3(1), 5-27.