Obamacare Spanish-language website riddled with "Spanglish" errors

After launching more than two months behind scheduled, more problems for Obamacare's Spanish-language Internet hub

Published January 13, 2014 4:28PM (EST)

It'd be hard to imagine an Obamacare-related website's rollout going any worse than did Healthcare.gov's, but CuidadoDeSalud.gov — the Spanish-language equivalent — may be close.

According to a report from Ezra Klein and the Washington Post's Wonkblog (via the Associated Press), the Spanish-language Obamacare website has not only premiered well behind schedule, but is also riddled with "Spanglish" errors that make much of the site all but incomprehensible.

For example, Klein reports that the site translates "premium" into "prima," which is a word more often used in Spanish to refer to a female cousin. Errors like this are so prevalent, says the Associated Press, that critics have concluded much of the website's language must have been translated via a computer-generated module — a notoriously unreliable system.

More from the Washington Post:

Then, of course, there are the bugs: Some links on the site simply take people back to the English-language HealthCare.gov. Sometimes the site simply doesn't work at all. And the Obama administration has a lot less capacity in its Spanish-language call centers than in its English-language ones, so some Spanish speakers confused by the Web site are having trouble getting help on the phone, too.

Hispanics are particularly crucial to Obamacare's success. About 15 million Hispanics -- or more than 31 percent of the U.S.'s total Hispanic population -- are uninsured. That's a higher rate of uninsurance than for whites (13 percent) or blacks (21 percent). And because the median age for Hispanics in the U.S. is 27 while it's 37 for the rest of the population, many of those uninsured Hispanics are the young, healthy applicants that Obamacare desperately needs to sign up.

By Elias Isquith

Elias Isquith is a former Salon staff writer.

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