A multilingual international project such as the Survey relies heavily on good translation for its overall success.

Gallup Europe has extensive expertise in the delivery of surveys and in monitoring and tracking translation processes. Gallup’s Agnes Illyes and Peter Husztik lead SurveyLang’s work in this vital area.

Translation from master documents

All of the Survey’s master documents were developed in English, the working language of the project. A large number of these documents needed to be translated or adapted across the participating countries.

Documents such as the student, teacher and principal Questionnaires elicit information that is crucial for the survey. It was therefore important that they were translated in a way that ensured not only comparability of the processes followed but also rigorous quality assurance procedures. Other important documents that needed to be translated included test administration documentation, the navigation details on the testing tool and sampling documentation.

To ensure consistency and quality in translation across the whole project, SurveyLang used Gallup’s WebTrans (an online translation system) to track and manage the whole process. WebTrans enabled National Research Coordinators to follow translation developments step by step and allow SurveyLang overall powers of review and quality control.

A four-stage process

For key documents such as the Questionnaires, a rigorous process of double translation was required as a first step. Following this, a third translator created a version of the Questionnaires based on these two translations. In the third step, a translator back-translated this Draft local version of the Questionnaire into English. In the fourth stage of the process, this English version was checked against the source English version by SurveyLang.

In addition to instructions on how to use the WebTrans system, translators were provided with FAQ lists and translation guidelines covering issues such as syntax, vocabulary, spelling, context and awareness. Translators could also call on the SurveyLang translation team for support with any difficulties encountered in their work.