Trapped in Translation? ESS Translation Protocols Provide a Key

English title: Trapped in Translation? ESS Translation Protocols Provide a Key

Author(s): J.A. Harkness -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2004


The ESS translation context is complex: multiple languages, a source questionnaire finalized before translation begins, numerous countries sharing a language (e.g., French and German), and language minorities over 5% provided with their own translations, country budgets already stretched by other requirements for ESS fielding. The EU funded a work package to provide translation guidelines and requirements for countries participating in the ESS. The guidelines provided are based on ongoing basic and applied research in survey translation on how to implement survey translation and assessment through a holistic, team based process. The commonly used and originally envisaged procedure of back translation was successfully replaced with TRAPD – a translation, review, approval (adjudication), pre-testing and documentation protocol. Results and feedback from the first round of the ESS are positive and an increasing number of international projects are incorporating the basic idea of TRAPD in their translation production processes. At the same time, basic research within the ESS framework and in other studies suggests that questionnaire design is the ultimate issue. The paper outlines the theory and practice of TRAPD and using data from the ESS and other studies demonstrates how translators can help improve questionnaire designs.

Conference name: Sixth International Conference on Social Science Methodology

Location: Amsterdam

Start date: Aug 16, 2004

Type: Paper

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