Introduction: Translation of questionnaires in cross-national and cross-cultural research


  • Dorothée Behr GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences
  • Mandy Sha


Translation of questionnaires has enabled cross-national and cross-cultural comparisons in the social sciences, psychology, quality-of-life research, education research, and business studies. Questionnaires are typically translated or adapted from a source language into one or several target language(s). Best practice includes parallel translation, team discussions, extensive quantitative and qualitative pretesting with respondents, and detailed documentation (Behr & Shishido, 2016; Harkness, Villar, & Edwards, 2010; Sha & Pan, 2013). But these methods are still unfamiliar to many in translation studies and the translation industry. In addition, experts in the subject-matter disciplines may lack knowledge about the state of the art in translation research. To encourage interdisciplinary exchange, translation scholars have started to reconcile translation studies and the field of questionnaire translation by combining the latest theories, approaches, and findings from both fields (Behr, 2009; Bolaños-Medina & González-Ruiz, 2012; Dorer, 2015; Kußmaul, 2007; Ozolins, 2009; Przepiórkowska, 2016).