Guidelines for Translating and Adapting Psychological Instruments

Translated but unstandardised psychological instruments are widely used in non-English speaking countries. For many of these instruments meagre information is available on the method of translation, extent of adaptations, reliability, validity and other psychometric properties. This lack of information has unforeseen consequences for test-takers and decision making in clinical and other applied settings. In this paper it is argued that there is a need for guidelines outlining the minimum requirements to justify professional and ethical use of unstandardised psychological instruments. Eight criteria are suggested and all of these should be met in order to justify the use of unstandardised instruments in applied settings. Finally, it is emphasised that the use of unstandardised instruments should be viewed as temporary and tentative; the final aim of all translations and adaptations of psychological instruments that are to be used in a clinical or other applied context should be proper standardisation.
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