Obamacare's Spanish Website Is Written in Spanglish

Your News Companion by Ben Mathis-Lilley
Jan. 13 2014 10:51 AM

Obamacare's Spanish-Language Website Is "Written in Spanglish"


Screenshot from cuidadodesalud.gov

Obamacare's website woes weren't limited to the federal English-language healthcare.gov. As the Associated Press pointed out this past weekend, they also extended to its Spanish-language sister site cuidadodesalud.gov—a website the administration launched last month to reach out to Hispanics but one that apparently was created with little if any supervision from actual Spanish speakers:

[T]he translations were so clunky and full of grammatical mistakes that critics say they must have been computer-generated.... "When you get into the details of the plans, it's not all written in Spanish. It's written in Spanglish, so we end up having to translate it for them," said Adrian Madriz, a health care navigator who helps with enrollment in Miami.

One giveaway that the site's architects may have been relying a little too heavily on Google translate was the domain name itself, which the AP notes can literally be read as "for the caution of health." The site also shares some less-than-desirable similarities with the troubled healthcare.gov, including the failure to work correctly on occasion and the fact that some links on the site simply redirect to English-language forms that would likely be less than helpful to a Spanish speaker.

The administration says that they're working to fix the site's bugs and grammatically questionable language. Those fixes can't come soon enough. As Wonkblog points out, Hispanics are particularly crucial to the success of Obamacare: About 15 million Hispanics don't have insurance, good for a rate of uninsurance of about 31 percent. Making the demographic that much more important is the fact that the median age for Hispanics in the United States is 27, a full decade younger than the rest of the population—meaning many of those uninsured Hispanics are the young, healthy applicants that the administration is counting on to enter the insurance pool.

***Follow @JoshVoorhees and the rest of the @slatest team on Twitter.***

Josh Voorhees is a Slate senior writer. He lives in Iowa City. 



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