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Language Barriers in Health Care : Apps

This guide provides accurate and reliable resources for nurses and health care professionals to use when encountering situations with non-English speaking patients and how to expand that communication barrier.


Medical Spanish- AAC Edition /MP3 Edition (FREE!)

These podcasts are made with all health care professionals in mind. Some are dialogues, some focus on vocabularies and others will discuss a medical topic in Spanish. The transcript appears on your iPod so you can follow along. The AAC version breaks into sections for easy rewind and review. Click on the links below to listen to the podcasts!

Abdominal Pain - Intro
Asthma Dialogue - Intro
Asthma Questions - Intro
Car Accident - Intro
Carpal Tunnel Syndrome - Intro
Diabetes - Intro
Gynecological Exam - Intro
Lab Reception - Intro
Stroke - Intro
Treatment of Chest Pain - Dialogue


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Canopy Medical Translator: (FREE!)

Considered one of the best free medical language guides, this app is a tool designed for health care workers needing to translate for non-English speaking patients. Communicate quickly with patients using translated medical phrases in Spanish, Chinese, Arabic, Hindi, Korean, Malay, Portuguese, Russian, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and more. Show phrases with text, and play with audio.


Emergency Medicine Spanish Guide by Mavro: ($6.99) (Apple product)

Considered the best selling Medical Spanish guide, this app is a tool designed for non-Spanish speaking health care professionals to quickly ascertain vital medical information from their Spanish speaking patients.

MediBabble Translator: (FREE!) (Apple product)

MediBabble is a robust history-taking and examination application designed to improve the safety, efficiency, and overall quality of care for non-English speaking patients. A timely and accurate history is the cornerstone of medical diagnosis and treatment; the relative difficulty of obtaining one with non-English speakers is a significant barrier to care. MediBabble currently downloads with Spanish included, with additional languages (Mandarin, Cantonese, Russian and Haitian Creole) available as free downloads from within the application.

Medical Polish: (FREE!) (Apple product)

Communicate with your Polish speaking patients effectively at the point of care with Medical Polish. The application features 11 categories, organized smartly after their own inherent logic: Patient History and the Examination-categories are organized by their natural progression in a clinical setting; Head to Toe is organized – from head to toe; while still others, like Symptoms and Diseases, are organized alphabetically.

Spanish-English Medical by Vox: ($49.99)

This app contains 77,000 medical terms. Spanish and English conjugations for thousands of verbs are built into this app. Instant search results display the word you need, along with related words and similar spellings. Browse through recent look-ups in the history view to jump back to a previous search quickly. And translate numerals into Spanish and English text. 

xprompt Multilingual Assistance: ($3.99) (Apple product)

xprompt® enables the dialog between medical care staff and patients who don't share a common language. The basic usage of the app follows these steps: 

  • Choose a language for care staff and a language for patient 
  • Care staff sees a menu with comprehensive medical questions and instructions 
  • xprompt® shows the phrase in the patient's language in text and audio 
  • Patient can then use the same device and switch to his/her patient phrases 
  • xprompt® shows the patient's selected response phrase in the care staff language (again text and audio)

All audio languages are in high quality, and were professionally recorded. xprompt® comes with three languages pre-installed: English, German, and Spanish. (Does not include Polish.)