Case Study: Clinical Test Battery Translation

Comms Multilingual specialises in the translation and adaptation of all types of clinical test, assessment or related material.
Contact Us

We offer expertise in both the clinical and industrial/organisational areas for tests and assessments. This is a very specialist area which demands a real understanding of the subject matter in order to achieve a successful result.


For several years, Comms has been involved in a major project in the clinical psychology area, which we have now adapted and translated into a wide variety of languages, including Chinese, Korean, Polish and Serbian.

Test Battery for Schizophrenia

One of our clients, based in the USA, produced a battery of tests aimed at testing the levels of cognition amongst patients with schizophrenia. This is a unique project which has major sponsorship from both a government body and interested commercial parties.

This client was looking for a translation partner who understood what needed to be adapted and localised to ensure the tests were meaningful in the target market.

As a result of our expertise in the area of clinical assessment translation and adaptation, Comms Multilingual was selected for the language adaptation part of this project.


The languages for the initial project were German, Russian, Hindi and Spanish. In addition, we provided an adaptation of the Spanish for Spain version for use in Central and South America.

Process Steps – Adaptation and Localisation

In order to ensure the success of such a translation and adaptation project, we believe that the work carried out prior to the start of the project is absolutely vital.

This is where the unique Comms quality control and preparation methodology comes into its own: the aim is to ensure that the translators have accurate and clear information in order to enable them to interpret and translate the text correctly.

Example of Adaptation and Localisation

As an example of things that needed to be adapted and localised, one of the assessments in the battery contained word lists. One of the birds in the word list was a bluebird.

A bluebird is meaningful to people in North America, but doesn’t really mean anything to people outside. It was very important to find an equivalent bird to a bluebird that people could relate to in different countries.

Otherwise, when asked to recall a list of words containing “bluebird”, people would have a lower chance of recalling this as it meant nothing to them. This would have an effect on the results obtained.

Hints & Tips

It is very important to allow enough time for both preparation and the localisation and adaptation part of the process within the overall schedule for your project.

Test Battery Translation Process

Once the adaptation and localisation process steps were complete, we started the translation.

The teams selected for this project were chosen for their expertise in the translation and adaptation of this type of material. They were qualified and experienced translators who also possessed qualifications and practical experience in clinical psychology.

We always test out our translators before using them and we take up references as well in order to ensure quality.

Forward Translation

We carried out the initial translation into the four languages and then the translations were sent to independent proofreaders/editors for quality checking purposes.

Comms Multilingual is currently going through the process of obtaining certification under the European Standard for Translation. It is a requirement of this standard that all projects should be translated and then independently proofread.

Back Translation

The next step was the back translation process, where the translated text is translated back into the original language (in this case, English).

This is an important part of our whole quality control process and is vital for projects like these. The translation was carried out by a native English speaker and proofread/edited by a second linguist.

Hints & Tips

It is important to ensure that only native speakers are used for translation. It is also important that different teams are used for the forward and back translations.

Linguistic Quality Control

We then moved on to the quality control phase, where expert reviewers carried out a thorough review of the translation.

We had been through various rounds of changes with the schizophrenia battery translation and adaptation. There had been suggestions and changes coming from a variety of different sources in each language and there were several different documents to be reviewed.

Glossary of Terms

In order to ensure that the same words were translated consistently throughout, we created a final glossary of terms in each language. We then carried out a consistency check of the vocabulary on all the documents.

Hints & Tips

In this particular case, our client had various native-speaker expert reviewers they could call on, to assist them with the expert review process.

If our clients don’t have access to their own native-speaker experts, then Comms can provide independent expert reviewers for our client projects.


Our client used their own multilingual typesetters to set the translated text into the final file format ready for use.

We reviewed the typeset documents to ensure that all the characters displayed correctly, that all the translated text had been included and that words were hyphenated correctly.

Some of our clients don’t have such internal support readily available to them, and in those cases, we can provide typesetting/compositing services in a wide variety of file formats. We will then provide your documents back to you completely ready to print.


Since the initial project, Comms has been commissioned to localise, adapt and translate this battery into many more languages.

This test battery is now being successfully used in a variety of different countries around the world to help in the diagnosis and therefore treatment of people with schizophrenia.

Please contact us with the details of your projects and we will be happy to provide you with a quotation.

ISO-certified Translation Agency - Comms Multilingual - ATC Certification Badge