Translation challenges of cross-cultural research and program development.

Shin-Ping Tu, J. Carey Jackson, Chong Teh, Agnes Lai, Hoai Do, Lina Hsu, Irene Chan, Ben Tseng, Greg Hislop, Vicky Taylor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: Translation of cross-cultural surveys and programs pose unique challenges. This paper identifies potential pitfalls of current translation guidelines and presents solutions employed for one project. METHODS: We followed current guidelines for translation of survey instruments including forward and back translation, and also utilized qualitative methods to decenter survey questions. In addition, our project adapted translation by committee with a core translation team of bilingual/trilingual investigators and staff members with diverse skills and complementary degrees of proficiency in the languages and dialects of interest. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This approach resulted with a mechanism for emic equivalence, identifying and resolving dialectic and sociolinguistic concerns, selecting appropriate written Chinese styles, and providing appropriate linguistic training to interviewers. CONCLUSIONS: An understanding of the history of a people and its ramifications for the language are important components of the translation process. Allocation of appropriate time, resources, and skills are critical to the successful development of valid cross-cultural survey instruments and effective programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)58-66
Number of pages9
JournalAsian American and Pacific Islander journal of health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2003
Externally publishedYes


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