DOI: 10.1177/135910457000100301 ISSN:

Back-Translation for Cross-Cultural Research

Richard W. Brislin
  • Anthropology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Social Psychology

Two aspects of translation were investigated: (1) factors that affect translation quality, and (2) how equivalence between source and target versions can be evaluated. The variables of language, content, and difficulty were studied through an analysis of variance design. Ninety-four bilinguals from the University of Guam, representing ten languages, translated or back-translated six essays incorporating three content areas and two levels of difficulty. The five criteria for equivalence were based on comparisons of meaning or predictions of similar responses to original or translated versions. The factors of content, difficulty, language and content-language interaction were significant, and the five equivalence criteria proved workable. Conclusions are that translation quality can be predicted, and that a functionally equivalent translation can be demonstrated when responses to the original and target versions are studied.