All journeys have secret destinations of which the traveler is unaware.

Martin Buber

Dear Traveler,

While I was living abroad, I once had a filling that cracked. Aside from being worried about what had happened to my tooth, I was also unprepared to seek dental treatment. Thankfully, a local friend advised me to talk to his family dentist for treatment. Before going to the doctor, though, I spent some time studying the vocabulary around oral medicine, with terms like teeth, gums, cavities, anesthesia, and fillings.

With that vocabulary, I was able to describe my problem to the dentist and the office team. Since that time, software developers and medical providers have realized the need for effective medical translation. There are now applications available to help with terminology, translation, and planning of medical procedures. For me, one of the most important features is being able to understand medical jargon, diagnoses, and treatment plans so you can make informed decisions.

Here are some of the more effective apps I have seen available for computer and mobile devices:

  • iTranslate medical – this is an application that can help you communicate with your health providers
  • Dr Near Me – this includes both local and online English-speaking doctor visits. According to their website, they support a wide variety of expat health insurance.
  • Air Doctor – this is an online app that helps you find in-person and telemedicine doctors that speak English, are local, and in various specialty areas.
  • Google Translate -Many languages available in this app include medical translation components.

I’ve also found that many expat insurance companies and systems offer online tools for booking appointments, receiving documents, and communicating with healthcare providers. In many cases, the languages that the doctor speaks will be listed as well, so you can more easily plan your medical visits.

As with my dental visit, you will need to do some research to prepare for medical treatment abroad. However, you may be able to find expat-friendly healthcare services. I would also speak with some local expats to see if they have any additional ideas related to healthcare providers and insurance plans.

Keep exploring!

The Clever Expat

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