Research Support Services
City University London
This chapter presents arguments showing that cognitive testing provides crucial information regarding how translated questions (as well as other texts used in surveys) are understood, the underlying cognitive processes that respondents undergo to answer them, and how this relates to respondents' interpretation of the same questions in the source language. This information can help improve wording choices in each language used in a study, increase cultural appropriateness of the text, as well as evaluate and improve comparability between translated questions and the original text in ways that cannot easily be achieved by requesting input from bilingual expert reviews.
The first section describes challenges found in multilingual research and different approaches to instrument production in multilingual research. The next section provides some context by describing translation procedures and translation assessment techniques for survey research. The third section reflects on the need for pretesting as part of the translation assessment procedures. The fourth section discusses idiosyncrasies of cognitive testing of survey translations and the fifth section presents examples of problems discovered through the use of cognitive testing of survey translations.