Practical Guidelines for Translating and Testing a Cross-National Instrument for Developing Countries: A Workshop Session (303649)*Elizabeth Dean, RTI International
*Clark Letterman, RTI International
Conducting cross-national research in developing countries presents instrumentation challenges distinct from those faced in countries with more developed research capacity. These challenges include selecting languages, translation, testing on a variety of platforms, measuring relevant local concepts, and ensuring consistency of meaning across multiple languages and cultures. As part of an international study of internet adoption, we tested, translated, and programmed a survey about access to technology, social networks, cultural identities, and economic resources. This instrument was fielded across multiple iterations in 15 countries and/or states, and in over 25 languages. In this workshop, we’ll present case studies based on our experiences managing this large-scale translation and testing effort. Case Study 1 will examine the process for selecting target languages. In many countries, multiple languages are spoken and language clustering in geographic areas is pronounced, leading to a dependency between the survey sample and selected languages. We will also evaluate the inclusion of two primarily spoken (not written) languages (Pidgin in Nigeria and Punjabi in Punjab, India.) Case Study 2 will showcase the evolution of our standardized approach to translation that allowed for country-specific customization of the instrument. This process was dependent on checklists as an organizational tool and an iterative testing and review process. Case Study 3 will describe technological challenges to translation and how they were addressed to minimize the impact on survey operations in the field. For example, in countries where no English was spoken, field staff were unable to read English language menu items on the Android devices used for data collection, requiring the extra step of translating the default tablet menus. This workshop will encourage and allow time for an extensive discussion among presenters and attendees.