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ESRA 2023 sessions by theme

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Questionnaire translation and the global crises – new challenges and opportunities

Coordinator 1Dr Brita Dorer (GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)
Coordinator 2Dr Dorothée Behr (GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)
Coordinator 3Ms Danuta Przepiorkowska (GESIS-Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences)
Coordinator 4Dr Alisù Schoua-Glusberg (Research Support Services)

Session Details

Recent global crises have entailed new challenges as well as opportunities also for the field of questionnaire translation. The pandemic has increased digitalisation in many aspects of daily life and working realities, and that has affected (questionnaire) translation, too. An example is the impossibility to meet in-person for Review and harmonisation meetings in the TRAPD scheme, which made alternative virtual formats more accessible and formalised. Survey mode shifts resulted in particular challenges, but also new opportunities for questionnaire translation, such as translating web-based self-completion surveys, or using interpreters in telephone interviews. The move away from face-to-face to self-completion surveys requires changes in questionnaire text, and thus new aspects need to be focussed on when translating these questionnaires, such as addressing the respondent correctly in their gender, which in f2f surveys is usually handled by the interviewer. Shorter turnarounds for spontaneous survey projects, for instance in war situations and with newly arrived migrant groups, require different methodological approaches, such as interpreting, translating on the fly, or translations by non-qualified questionnaire translators. The war situation and migration in general require larger numbers of languages offered at the national level, for enabling to include these population groups in the surveys.
This session invites papers on various topics related to the translation and interpretation of survey instruments. These may be related to the effects triggered by recent global crises (the war in Ukraine, the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change), some of which are described above, but also to more traditional issues in questionnaire translation. Further examples of topics include: translating for small hand-held devices, surveys with many languages for which no qualified questionnaire translators are available, developing best-practice guidelines for translating questionnaires under time and resource restrictions, translating established survey instruments for new population groups.