Sebelius Excuses Sloppy Spanish Translations on Obamacare Website

Tuesday, 18 Feb 2014 12:29 PM

By Melanie Batley

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Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius excused translation mistakes on the Spanish-language version of the Obamacare website, explaining that insurance terminology is "arcane" and therefore difficult to translate.

The comments came after a local Florida news station questioned Sebelius over the mistakes and poor quality of translations on the Spanish version of the Obamacare site, CuidadoDeSalud.gov, according to The Weekly Standard.

"Terminology in insurance is pretty arcane, even in English, and they probably did not have the smoothest translation into Spanish," Sebelius said.

She added that the translations were not done by a computer but by a team of experts tasked with a difficult job.

In the report by WFTV News, numerous translation mistakes were found. In one case, "monthly payment" was translated as "female cousin." In another instance, "out of pocket costs" was translated as "cost of my pocket."

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This is the latest in a number of blunders for the Spanish version of HealthCare.gov. The site was not ready to be launched at the Oct. 1 rollout, leaving Spanish speakers unable to enroll in the new healthcare program online, even though Latino citizens face the same deadlines as English speakers.

Sebelius continues to be under fire by congressional lawmakers who are investigating the botched rollout of the healthcare program, as they examine what she and other senior members of the administration knew in advance of the disastrous launch.

One report this month indicated that Sebelius met with President Barack Obama 18 times in the run-up to the rollout, raising doubts about the truthfulness of her account that she and the president had not been aware of the impending problems before the launch of the site.

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