The translator’s perspective on translation quality control processes for international large-scale assessment studies

Britta Upsing, Marc Rittberger


International Large-Scale Assessment studies (iLSAs) like PISA (the Programme for International Student Assessment) and PIAAC (the Programme for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies) employ stringent quality control procedures for the translation of their test items. The translations are crucial: a test item should not become more or less difficult because of its translation, given that test results are used to assess and compare the competency levels of different populations across countries. This article discusses how PISA and PIAAC translation procedures have evolved from earlier translation quality processes, and the underlying assumptions about translation that have shaped this evolution. We then report on findings from a qualitative interview study with translators, reviewers, and translation managers who have been involved in PISA or PIAAC translation processes. The objective of the interview study is to analyse the quality control procedures from the perspective of translation players. How do translators prepare for and perform translations for iLSA studies, and how does this process compare with other translation assignments they receive? This comparison will give an understanding of whether translators, in general, believe the iLSA translation process and its quality control procedures provide adequate guidance for performing these translations. We finish by proposing recommendations for future iLSA translation processes.



international large-scale assessment studies, test translation, questionnaire translation, qualitative interview study

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