Challenges in adapting a survey: ensuring cross-cultural equivalence
Tuan-I Tsai PhD candidate, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Lauretta Luck Senior lecturer, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Diana Jefferies Lecturer, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Lesley Wilkes Professor, Western Sydney University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Background The increase in the number of international research studies means more surveys need to be adapted for use in different languages. To obtain valid cross-cultural study results, researchers often use translated surveys.
Aim To describe the translation process used, and lessons learned by a bilingual English/Mandarin PhD student and her three English-speaking supervisors when developing and translating an English-language survey for use in a study in Taiwan.
Discussion In evaluating the translation process in this study, the three criteria of content equivalence, semantic equivalence and conceptual equivalence are discussed in relation to the challenges these presented to the research team. Some of the ways the team addressed these challenges are also considered.
Conclusion The time available for the research and the ability of translators need to be assessed when adapting surveys for use in different languages and cultures. Sharing experiences and lessons learned in the translation process was worthwhile, as all members of the research team came away with new knowledge and an understanding of the need to ensure the final version of a translated survey is culturally congruent.
Implications for practice To accurately translate a survey into another language, it is essential that one of the researchers be fluent in that language. This guarantees the closest fit of content and semantic and conceptual meaning.
Tsai T-I, Luck L, Jefferies D et al (2017) Challenges in adapting a survey: ensuring cross-cultural equivalence. Nurse Researcher. doi: 10.7748/nr.2018.e1581
This article has been subject to external double-blind review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software
Conflict of interest
Published online: 01 June 2018
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