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Translation, Cross-cultural assessment, Instrument development, Instrument testing, Uncertainty Stress Scale



  1. Hilton, Ann PhD, RN
  2. Skrutkowski, Myriam MSN, RN


Cross-cultural influences affect perceptions and health practices, which are 2 areas of nursing concern. Culturally sensitive assessment instruments are needed, but many challenges exist in obtaining valid and reliable measurement. Translating questionnaires for cross-cultural research is fraught with methodological pitfalls related to colloquial phrases, jargon, idiomatic expressions, word clarity, and word meanings. It cannot be assumed that a particular concept has the same relevance across cultures. Simply translating an English version word-for-word into another language is not adequate to account for linguistic and cultural differences. Ideally, the perspectives of people from the culture about the concept of interest should be studied first, but often a practical alternative is to find and translate a tool developed in another culture. The purpose of this article is to describe important considerations in conducting translation for equivalence, types of equivalence, and strategies to translate instruments that promote equivalence and how to test the translated version for equivalence. These concepts and strategies are illustrated by describing the translation process of Hilton's Uncertainty Stress Scale into French and the use and testing of the French version with a French Canadian sample in Skrutkowski's study of perceived uncertainty in adult survivors of cancer.