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Questionnaire translations in international studies

High-quality questionnaire translation is central to the quality of the data collected in cross-national and cross-cultural studies. We recommend that the translation methods be considered early on in the application and project planning stages, covering timing, personnel, and funding. Ideally, translatability and cultural relevance are already considered during the development of a source questionnaire to ensure a smooth translation process. 

Consulting on Translation and Translation Assessment Methods

The TRAPD procedure, which is known from the European Social Survey (ESS), serves as a framework:

  • Translation: Two parallel translations 
  • Review: Interdisciplinary team discussion with translators as well subject and survey experts 
  • Adjudication: Finalisation process
  • Pretest: Pretest among the target population
  • Documentation: Documentation of the entire process

We are happy to discuss possible implementations or alternative procedures with you and offer practical advice, for example for the drafting of project and translation instructions for questionnaire translators, for the documentation of a translation project or for the translation itself.

Consulting on how to Ensure Translatability and Cultural Relevance during Questionnaire Development

Already during the development of a source questionnaire, various methods or activities can be implemented to facilitate translation:

  • Advance translations or translatability assessments: A-priori translations of a source questionnaire that has not yet been finalised in order to identify possible translation problems
  • Annotation of questionnaires: Providing item-specific guidance to translators
  • Cross-cultural procedures (e.g. intercultural design teams, pretests): Improving translatability, cultural relevance, and comparability. 

Already during the development of a source questionnaire, we provide consulting services related to translatability and support you with our experience in cross-national research projects. 

Further Services for the Translation of Questionnaires

In addition to our free consulting services which are based on the notion of self-help, we offer more elaborate consultancy services, such as training for translation teams, participation in or lead of translation discussions, the development of item-specific translation instructions or of project-specific translation guidelines. Please note that these additional services are subject to a fee.

Here, you can access our form for consulting services. With this form, you can quickly and easily request individual advice from our experts.