Who is the back translator? An integrative literature review of back translator descriptions in cross-cultural adaptation of research instruments

Kristine Bundgaard, Matilde Nisbeth Brøgger

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Back translation (BT) has received little attention in Translation Studies, but in the health sciences, it is considered the gold standard for quality assurance in the process of cross-cultural adaptation of research. Despite the widespread application of BT in the health sciences, limited focus seems to be given to the qualifications of the person actually performing the job, i.e., the back translator. Furthermore, guidelines on the BT methodology use a variety of terms to describe the desired qualifications of the back translator. Against this backdrop, this study set out to investigate how back translators are described in health sciences research studies on the translation of research instruments and how these descriptions match the literature and guidelines on the BT methodology. Based on an integrative literature review of 105 empirical studies within the health sciences, the results show that some studies provide no or extremely limited information on back translators; for instance, some studies do not even provide the number of back translators used. When the language and translation competences of the back translator are, in fact, described, a variety of labels are used, and these are sometimes vague or even conflicting.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPerspectives - Studies in Translation Theory and Practice
Volume27
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)833-845
Number of pages13
ISSN0907-676X
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Keywords

  • Back translation
  • cross-cultural adaptation
  • integrative literature review
  • medical translation
  • back translator
  • research instrument translation

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