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J Adv Nurs. 2007 May;58(4):386-95. Epub 2007 Apr 17.

Translation of scales in cross-cultural research: issues and techniques.

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Chung-Ang University School of Medicine, Department of Nursing, Seoul, South Korea.



This paper is a report of a study designed to: (i) describe issues and techniques of translation of standard measures for use in international research; (ii) identify a user-friendly and valid translation method when researchers have limited resources during translation procedure; and (iii) discuss translation issues using data from a pilot study as an example.


The process of translation is an important part of cross-cultural studies. Cross-cultural researchers are often confronted by the need to translate scales from one language to another and to do this with limited resources.


The lessons learned from our experience in a pilot study are presented to underline the importance of using appropriate translation procedures. The issues of the back-translation method are discussed to identify strategies to ensure success when translating measures.


A combined technique is an appropriate method to maintain the content equivalences between the original and translated instruments in international research. There are several possible combinations of translation techniques. However, there is no gold standard of translation techniques because the research environment (e.g. accessibility and availability of bilingual people) and the research questions are different.


It is important to use appropriate translation procedures and to employ a combined translation technique based on the research environment and questions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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