Software localisation of innovative app designed specifically for young cancer patients

Xploro approached The Translation People in 2020 to assist with software localisation in Spanish, having successfully launched their health platform in the UK and with plans to extend their reach to other young cancer patients across the world. Following his daughter’s diagnosis at age 13, founder Dom Raban was inspired to create an app that informs and empowers, using a combination of cutting edge technology and expert clinical knowledge. His own experience showed that much of the information about his daughter’s treatment was targeted to parents, an approach Xploro sought to change through groundbreaking use of AI, augmented reality and gaming. The result engages children in a familiar format, allowing them to create an avatar to answer questions, raise any concerns and explore a 3D environment showing what their treatment will look like. The award-winning app has been well received by medical professionals, parents, and, most importantly, children, and clinical studies show that it reduces procedural anxiety and improves health literacy. The software localisation project was initially destined for a hospital in Barcelona, with plans to roll out to other regions.

The Challenge

Xploro’s strength lies in its fun and engaging approach and it was essential that this was maintained within the software localisation project. Xploro was looking for a translation services partner that understood the importance of clinical accuracy but was also able to match the child-friendly language and tone of the original English. As part of the gameplay, it was also essential that gender neutral language was used so that it could apply to every user’s treatment journey – a particular challenge for Spanish with its binary grammar system. Likewise, as children can create avatars for the healthcare professionals that are looking after them, it was essential that the language was as gender neutral as possible to cover different scenarios – another challenge for Spanish, given the gendered object pronouns used in the language.

The Solution

The Translation People’s expert software localisation team rose to the challenge. In the initial phase of the partnership, a selection of translation samples completed by experienced translators from the healthcare and medical industry were put forward to a panel of child patients for review. Made up of children with different medical experiences from new diagnosis to mid-treatment and remission, the panel was well placed to advise on their linguistic preferences. Together they selected a translator whose written style not only conveyed the medical information accurately, but in a tone that was engaging and relatable. All translations were then completed with their young end users in mind, with jokes and cultural references adapted for the Spanish market and a strong focus placed on user experience. The Translation People made recommendations for cultural adaptations that were then implemented by the development team ahead of launch. Translations within the software localisation project were adapted to ensure gender neutrality was maintained for all users, whilst other strings that referred to medical professionals were translated in a neutral way to negate the gendered basis of the Spanish language.

The Result

Since its launch in Spain, the app has gone on to help thousands more children with the disease and the company is investigating new markets, including requesting software localisation in English and Spanish for the US, where it will have the greatest reach. Xploro is also partnering with the World Child Cancer charity to distribute it across Africa, leading to The Translation People providing translations in Chichewa, the language spoken in Malawi. Independent research continues to give positive results and the company hopes to extend the platform to treatment of other illnesses and for all ages.

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