Comms Multilingual is a specialist test and assessment translation company, focusing on the translation, localisation and adaptation of all types of test and assessment.
We offer expertise in the industrial/organisational, educational and clinical psychology areas, where a deep understanding of the subject matter is essential for the creation of quality test and assessment translations.
Choosing a Process for Assessment Translations
The assessment translation solutions we offer are fully flexible and depend on the type of content and your individual needs: translating a personality test presents different challenges to the translation of a cognitive ability test or to a multimedia SJT, for example.
Where item content is concerned, we generally recommend adding additional quality assurance steps to ensure the highest level of equivalence. For the translation of a feedback or development report, it may be possible to allow for a slightly “leaner” approach, where we simply translate the assessment’s report and then proofread it.
The aim here is to understand the nuances and ambiguities in a given text before beginning translation of a psychometric test, thus ensuring our translators’ interpretations are consistent with one another.
Dual Forward Translation
In some cases, you may prefer to follow the dual translation route. Here, we complete two independent test or assessment translations and combine them to form a final “best of both” translation.
We can add an extra level of quality assurance to your test or assessment translation processes by translating back into the original language, which can then be used to check the meaning is conveyed.
Where you are not able to recruit your own SMEs for a translation review, we can find a native-speaker expert in your domain to review and finalise the translation of the assessment produced by our linguists.
Once the initial test or assessment translation is complete, we use a combination of experienced human checkers and software tools to check accuracy, consistency and appropriateness of language.
When the test or assessment translations have been uploaded back to your delivery platforms or sample feedback reports generated, we check the end result in-context for any layout, display or formatting issues.
Comms Multilingual’s assessment translation solutions are based on years of experience, as well as our thorough knowledge of the ITC guidelines for translating and adapting tests and assessments, which helps ensure that translations of your assessments material are defensible.
After all, if the process for developing the original test was rigorous, then why shouldn’t the same be said any assessment translation?
You can read more about some of the pros and cons of back translation on our blog.
Considerations when Translating Psychometric Assessments
When translating a psychometric test into another language, there are a range of aspects that may need to be considered or localised, to ensure that the assessment’s translation is valid and defensible. This might include some of the following:
Ambiguous words such as “upset” can be translated in many different ways. In order to ensure a correct translation, clear definitions must be sought and provided ahead of the translation commencing.
Do acronyms such as “SWOT” need to be translated or are they in common use in the target country? Will an abbreviation be understood correctly by a non-native speaker?
What needs to be localised? In one assessment, we needed to translate an item about cricket. As cricket is the third most popular spectator sport in the UK, we therefore needed to establish and use a similarly popular team-based spectator sport in each country to ensure equivalence.
Are there things that just can’t be translated well? For example, the word “empowering” may need far more explanation in another language to really get across the meaning, which may not fit in with the requirements of the test.
Is there any reference to currencies? You can’t just take a currency and substitute it with another currency name. For example, the Italian lira used to have much higher denominations than other currencies; you couldn’t just talk about 1 lira as that made no sense, whereas nowadays you can easily talk about 1 euro.
Hear in the short video above one of our clients talking about their work with us in translating assessments that focus on sales personnel recruitment and development.
Test Translation vs. Test Adaptation
Translating a psychometric test aims to render test items and instructions in another language while preserving the original test’s structure and content. This approach, while useful for facilitating test administration in a different language, often fails to consider the critical cultural and linguistic nuances that can impact the test’s validity and reliability in the new context. As a result, simply translating a psychometric test may not accurately measure the intended constructs, leading to biased or unreliable results.
Conversely, adapting a psychometric test involves a more comprehensive and sophisticated approach. This process encompasses linguistic translation, but it goes beyond that, requiring careful consideration of cultural and contextual factors to ensure that the test functions as intended in the target population. Adaptation may entail rewording items, adjusting response options, or even replacing culturally inappropriate items to account for variations in beliefs, values, and experiences.
Extensive pilot testing and validation work are typically involved in this process to identify and address potential biases, preserve the test’s psychometric properties, and make it a fair and accurate instrument that is not only accessible but also relevant to the specific cultural group it aims to assess. In essence, the goal is to create a culturally fair and psychometrically sound test that accurately measures the constructs of interest in a way that is meaningful and valid for the intended population, acknowledging the profound impact of culture on test performance.
You can read more and see further examples on our guest blog post by psychometrician Joy Matthews-Lopez.
Previous Assessment Translation Projects
As a specialist assessment translation company, we are involved in translation, localisation and adaptation projects covering a wide variety of business, clinical and educational psychology assessments in many different areas. Read more about some of the projects that we have worked on.