Houston health institute launches advanced translation platform to reach more patients online
The Texas Heart Institute launched a new translation technology on its websites this month that will allow speakers of more than 100 languages to learn from and interact with its digital resources.
Known as a neural machine translation network, the artificial intelligence service has been deployed on THI's texasheart.org and texasheartmedical.org to translate heart-health information in several Spanish dialects, Vietnamese, Chinese, Arabic, and numerous other languages.
Now, when users visit these sites they are presented with a drop down menu of a long list of languages to choose from. Once they make their selection, the website is shown in their native or chosen language in a form that's nearly identical to its presentation in English. These thousands of shifts were achieved through machine translation that predicts the likelihood of a sequence of words in a sentence.
“The Texas Heart Institute remains committed to serving as a trusted source of health information and patient empowerment by simplifying access to our extensive library of knowledge,” Dr. Joseph G. Rogers, CEO and President of The Texas Heart Institute, said in a statement.
Neural machine translations, or NMTs, are considered to be more accurate that statistical translations when translating to and from the English language. Rather than running a set of rules to translate a set of words and phrases in a sentence, known as machine or statistical translations, NMT uses a series of nodes to look at the language as a whole and understand the context to create a more fluent translation.
NMT translations have accuracy scores of 8.3 out of 10, and are expected to improve with more adoption, THI shared from a 2021 study by the UCLA Medical Center. Human translations have accuracy scores of 8.5 out of 10.
According to the institute, the shift aligns with THI's mission of providing access to heart-health information, regardless of language barriers. In 2011, the institute launched heart-health topics and articles in Spanish on its sites. Those pages are among the most used on the side today, the institute says, and people from about 235 countries, territories, and dependencies visit THI's website every year.
Last year, Innovation Map spoke with THI's then-newly appointed manager of innovation partnerships Allison Post, whose mission is to support THI's in-house inventors while making sure it is bringing in the best new external technologies out there to its patients. Click here to learn more or listen to the full interview on the Houston Innovators Podcast.