Lost in Translation


    With the latest Garner research predicting a 50% increase in offshore spending in 2006/2007, with the UK being the biggest contributors, perhaps it’s a good thing that their research also shows a large increase in the use of overseas service providers. Gartner research predicts an increase from the current 13% to a significant 20% of all offshore transactions being handled by experienced offshore service providers, which in light of what’s happening with some of the UK National Health Service BPO contracts, it can’t happen too soon.

    The outsourcing of medical notes to Indian call centre’s to save money and speed up work at the National Health Service in Britain is leading to cases of confusion.

    While some "lost in translation" mistakes are hilarious, trained medical secretaries warn that the consequences could be serious if drug quantities are wrongly heard. A drug for stomach ulcers called ‘Lansoprazole’ was transcribed as the much more familiar holiday destination of "Lanzarote." Information about a patient’s "phlebitis (vein inflammation) left leg" was typed out as "flea bite his left leg." A "below knee amputation" was transcribed as "baloney amputation" and "Eustachian tube (in the ear) malfunction" was given as "Euston station tube malfunction."

    A number of London hospitals are using or negotiating to use the services of an Indian medical company, which employs a pool of secretaries in India to transcribe letters from tapes dictated by consultants.


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