Translation Verification instead of Back Translation

Translation Verification instead of Back Translation

Less-resource intensive, better documentation, higher quality

Wednesday | September 22, 2021

10.30 EDT (New York) | 15.30 BST (London) | 16.30 CEST (Brussels)

By popular demand, we’re presenting a new edition of a webinar by cApStAn founders by Andrea FERRARI and Steve DEPT: “Pros and cons of back translation in assessments and surveys”.

Join us on September 22 and we’ll tell you why experts judge that the back translation design is inadequate, but also why the gold standard does not need to be costlier.

To evaluate the quality and semantic equivalence of translated tests or questionnaires, what is regarded as good practice in 2021?

What are the typical issues back translation will and will not detect?

What are the alternatives to back translation?

What do they use in international large-scale assessments (ILSAs) such as PISA, TIMSS, PIAAC or PIRLS? What do they use in international attitudinal surveys (Pew GAP, ESS)?

Did some large-scale programs switch from back translation to translation verification?

How does this affect cost? What do we get for our money?

Telling examples from international studies – for which Andrea and Steve were commissioned to verify translation quality and cross-language comparability – will help you understand why some experts regard back translation as obsolete and why other experts still recommend to use it.

Don’t miss this informal, lively, well-documented session. Questions & Answers at the end.

More on the back translation approach in international data collection instruments:

Data collection in multiple languages has become commonplace. Principal investigators, survey methodologists, cognitive researchers, psychometricians or test developers who have administered or plan to administer instruments in several languages are aware that there are challenges involved. They know about the ITC Guidelines for Translating and Adapting Tests, or the Cross-cultural Survey Guidelines, or recommendations by the World Health Organisation such as in this example.

Richard Brislin, often cited about back translation, was well aware of the shortcomings of this approach and did not recommend its use as an exclusive evaluation method. Research by the late Professor Janet Harkness and colleagues, by Aletta Grisay, by Alisú Schoua-Glusberg, indicates that other forms of translation review and assessment may be more efficient than back translation. Nonetheless, the terms of reference in calls for tender may still request back translation of data collection instruments. How can we then pivot to the translation verification model?

About Speakers

Steve Dept, Founding Partner

Steve is one of cApStAn’s founders. He received his education in English, Dutch, French and German but he is essentially an autodidact and a field practitioner. In 1998, Steve was sought out to organise the translation verification of PISA 2000 instruments and, since cApStAn’s creation in 2000, Steve has supervised linguistic quality assurance in PISA and in over 35 international surveys and polls. His translatability assessment methodology is applied in small and large multilingual projects in both the private and the public sector. Steve is the driving force behind cApStAn’s adaptive strategy.

Andrea Ferrari

Andrea Ferrari, Founding Partner

Andrea is one of cApStAn’s founders. He was exposed to a multicultural environment from early on, living and studying in Canada, Italy, Australia, Greece and Belgium. He earned a degree in business engineering from the Solvay Business School, Brussels, in 1981, did a stint with a major multinational (Procter & Gamble) but switched to self-employment in 1987, as a freelance translator and speaker. In 1999 he participated in the first cycle of PISA as an Italian verifier, and quickly acquired a taste for the development of linguistic quality assurance procedures. In 2000 Andrea joined Steve Dept to found and co-direct cApStAn, where he supervises linguistic quality control methodology.