English title: Questions about Translation – from the European Social Survey (ESS)

Author(s): Dorothée Behr -

Language: English

Type: Conference paper/poster

Year: 2007

Abstract

Questions about Translation – from the European Social Survey High-quality questionnaire translations are a prerequisite for data comparability in multilingual survey research. However, translating questionnaires is not as straightforward and simple as it may seem. Questionnaires are both special kinds of texts and tools of measurement and this turns questionnaire translation into a complex undertaking. The European Social Survey (ESS) is quite unusual in the approach it takes to translation. Not only are participating countries provided with guidelines on how to conduct and review their translations, they also have the opportunity to approach a "help desk" with queries they may have during the course of translation. The people behind this virtual help desk are basically researchers working at ZUMA, Mannheim, Germany and researchers attached to the ESS central co-ordinating office in London. They in turn contact other experts if and as the need arises. Against the background of the general support system for the translation process in the ESS the paper presents and discusses the questions asked by countries translating during Round 3 of the ESS. It presents what we might learn from these "FAQ" with regard to translations, translators, the information countries may lack and, ultimately, also source questionnaires. The aim is to use insight gained from analysis of why questions are asked and where and how misunderstandings occur to work towards a better and pro-active training and briefing of translation teams.

Conference name: European Survey Research Association (ESRA)

Location: Prague

Start date: Jun 25, 2007

Type: Paper

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