“Mamma consapevole” (Aware Mum) is a pamphlet produced by the Pescara AUSL local health authority to give every woman the chance to face her pregnancy with awareness and peace of mind.
The document contains useful guidelines on the stages of pregnancy, advice on the best lifestyle to adopt, and information on the services provided by Pescara’s AUSL to any Italian or foreign mother-to-be.
AUSL Pescara made an inclusive choice from the outset: to aim to concretely reach every woman living in the area, regardless of all language and cultural barriers.
AUSL Pescara entrusted interlanguage with the translation of “Mamma consapevole” into six languages: English, French, Spanish, Chinese, Arabic and Ukrainian.
There are nearly 3 million foreign women living in Italy, most of them of childbearing age and with a higher fertility rate than Italian women.
The fact that they are present in such significant numbers is what prompted AUSL Pescara’s first considerations on the importance of protecting the dignity of every woman faced with motherhood.
Confronted with pregnancy and childbirth, foreign mothers-to-be have exactly the same doubts and concerns as every future Italian mother.
Non-Italian mothers-to-be, however, experience this period in a socio-cultural context that is very different from their own. Women who do not speak Italian are especially at risk of not following the (healthcare and social) path that leads them to childbirth: medical examinations and tests, precautions, and general conduct to be followed during pregnancy.
This state of affairs conflicts with the principle that the Italian National Health System must guarantee everyone genuine access to services.
interlanguage selected a project manager to coordinate the six native-speaker translators and the six reviewers (an all-female team) and to manage direct contact with the AUSL Pescara contact persons.
The customer was involved throughout the process to ensure consistent and uniform translation choices.
The source document provides detailed information on both general topics (body care, hygiene and nutrition, the risks of smoking and alcohol) and more specific topics (protection of working women, screening and prenatal diagnosis techniques).
“Mamma consapevole” also contains practical advice on packing for the hospital, registering a newborn baby and choosing a paediatrician.
In terms of content, it is a dense text with at least two different linguistic registers:
In translating it, we aimed to make it as usable as possible for foreign women living in Italy.
In some key parts of the text, the Italian wording of the names of specific offices or documents was retained in addition to the translated version.
All this aimed at fully assisting foreign women in their everyday life and helping them to understand which office to go to, what document to expect or what test the doctor will order her to do.
The work on each language (and its cultural context) prompted specific choices.
For those with a non-roman alphabet, we decided to add the Italian name to the translation of the various antenatal diagnostic tests.
Once the translations were complete, we moved on to the layout stage using Adobe InDesign.
The graphics and DTP programmes use localised versions for specific languages, giving us all possible text management options.
Arabic, in this case, since it is a bi-directional language, required a reversed layout.
The Arabic version of the pamphlet also featured a visual adaptation: the belly on the cover is not uncovered, but clothed, reflecting AUSL Pescara’s deep respect for cultural diversity and awareness of the delicacy of any integration process.
The “Mamma consapevole” brouchure in six languages, which is regularly reprinted and distributed by AUSL Pescara, has become a valuable tool for both the customer and the target group of women living in the area.
Over the years, “Mamma consapevole” has:
For us at interlanguage, this project is especially important because of its inclusiveness. Because taking care of people’s health and their rights has a much deeper significance than any commercial brochure.
Moreover, this is one of the projects in which the linguist becomes an actor of cultural mediation, since empathy and human experience – in addition to linguistic ability – play a role in their contribution.
Finally, given that 80% of the interlanguage team are women, we feel 100% proud of this multilingual maternity project.