Translation Process

Many of our Optum health surveys are the most widely used measures of functional health and well-being in the world. This is in part due to the number of different languages these health surveys are available in. For example, the SF-36v2® Health Survey is currently available in more than 170 language translations. View this table for a listing of the translations for each of our health surveys.

Our translation process has its origins in the IQOLA Project and has as its goal the development of conceptually equivalent and culturally appropriate translations. The process involves professional and lay people fluent in the language for which the translation is being developed, and researchers with extensive translation experience.

A brief description of the process follows:

  1. Multiple independent forward translations by consultants who live in-country and who are native speakers of the target language and bilingual in English
  2. Translators place emphasis on conceptual rather than literal equivalence, and strive for a reading level appropriate for the country (age 14 or lower)
  3. Reconciliation of the independent translations into one preliminary translation
  4. Backward translation of this form into English and evaluation of the backward translation for conceptual equivalence with the original survey by U.S. researchers
  5. Debriefing interviews with lay people who are native speakers of the target language and living in-country to evaluate the clarity, common language usage, and conceptual equivalence of the translation
  6. Formatting and proofreading


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