EWCS 2021  - Questionnaire translation

To ensure the success of a survey such as the EWCS, the language versions of the questionnaire for each country must be of high quality. Since consistency and accuracy are key elements of a successful comparative survey, Eurofound implements intensive, rigorous translation procedures to achieve the best translations possible. Comparability or equivalence are a high priority as a straightforward word-for-word translation may not result in comparable data.

The language versions of the questionnaire for the EWCS 2021 extraordinary edition were based on the questionnaires already produced for the interrupted EWCS 2020 survey which had undergone a rigorous, state-of-the-art translation procedure based on five main phases:

  1. assessment of the translatability of the source questionnaire
  2. training sessions for translators and adjudicators
  3. translation of the source questionnaire using the translation, review, adjudication, pre-testing and documentation (TRAPD) approach
  4. translation of all other fieldwork materials
  5. translation pre-test

For the EWCS 2021 extraordinary edition, a total of 55 language versions of the questionnaire were developed for the 36 countries covered (EU Member States, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia, Norway, Switzerland, United Kingdom). A modified TRAPD approach was used given the limited number of changes which were made to the new questionnaire.

Where the same language is spoken in more than one country but with differences in language use between countries, harmonisation was applied. In this process, the translations drafted for each country were compared with the other translations of the same language before finalisation. In total, 11 language versions underwent harmonisation.

For languages used in multiple countries but which are very similar, the process of adaption was applied. This included the initial translation prepared by the country where there is a greater number of speakers of the language and its adaption for local use in the other countries sharing the language. In total, 18 languages versions underwent adaption.

The translation report describes in detail the steps leading to the translation and finalisation of all language versions.

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