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American Association for Public Opinion Research

Webinar Details

Producing and Assessing Survey Questionnaire Translations

Ana Villar and Alisu Schoua-Glusberg
Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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About This Course:

Issues of survey translation have been highlighted for decades, with special emphasis during the past 15 years since the publication of Harkness and Schoua-Glusberg’s 1998 article and related publications. Rigorous procedures for questionnaire translation and translation assessment are crucial if one wishes to conduct adequate multilingual survey research. However, survey organizations and researchers conducting multilingual research continue to underestimate the amount of error stemming from translation processes and the amount of effort that translating questionnaires entails.

This webinar will review findings from research on survey translation and outline the main procedures, tools, and documents that survey organizations and researchers need to have at hand to produce high-quality survey translations. The target audience are researchers conducting multilingual surveys, whether they are directly involved in managing translation efforts or just interested in issues of measurement equivalence across languages. The webinar will cover both theory and practice in questionnaire translation and assessment. Examples will be used that will not require knowledge of a language other than English.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to appropriately plan and budget for survey translation.
  • How to select and set up the right translation team.
  • Steps and procedures to produce adequate translations: briefing, translation, assessment, and documentation.

About the Instructors:

ImageAna Villar is Research Fellow at the Centre for Comparative Social Surveys (City University London). She completed her doctorate at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln at the Survey Research and Methodology program, while working as research assistant at the Gallup Research Center. In her dissertation she explored the effects of answer scale translation and cross-cultural differences in response styles and response distributions. She has conducted research on the use of interpreters in telephone surveys and on translation assessment methods. In 2009 she joined the Political Psychology Research Group at Stanford University as Research Associate where she conducted research on methodological aspects of online panel surveys, nonresponse error and measurement error, and survey weighting. She also collaborated in the implementation and analysis of surveys on public opinion on global warming for the Woods Institute for Environmental Research. She is a member of the Translation Expert Group of the European Social Survey and is part of an ESS team developing a web tool for survey translation management.



ImageAlisĂș Schoua-Glusberg is a cultural/linguistic anthropologist (Northwestern University Ph.D., 1985) and survey methodologist. She has worked in survey operations since 1984, first at NORC at the University of Chicago where she was Director of the Survey Operations Center and Translations' Coordinator. She has directed large-scale, longitudinal surveys at NORC, at Harvard Medical School (Director of Survey Operations for the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods), Metro Chicago Information Center and IMPAQ International. She founded Research Support Services in 1996, which provides qualitative and quantitative research services, as well as instrument translation. She has presented and trained extensively on survey translation, including co-teaching an AAPOR short course on survey translation in 2004. She was a member of the US Census Bureau Expert Panel on translation and is a member of the European Social Survey Translation Expert Group. She is a member of the U.S. Census Bureau National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations. She has organized and managed translation efforts for numerous U.S. federal and academic surveys.