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Developing a Systematic Process for Translation Expert Review: The Translation Appraisal System (TAS-10)


Sha, M., Park, H., & Pan, Y. (2010, May). Developing a Systematic Process for Translation Expert Review: The Translation Appraisal System (TAS-10). Presented at AAPOR 2010, .


Several approaches can be used to assess the quality of a translated instrument. The most cited method is Back Translation; however, recent literature recommends conducting an expert review because the results are more content relevant and there are fewer false positives among the identified problems (Harkness et al., 2009). Yet, formal procedures for Expert Review have not been well-documented. This paper describes research conducted to develop a systematic appraisal of translation by language experts.

This study is based on a translation review and cognitive testing project undertaken at the U.S. Census Bureau to pretest the Chinese and Korean translation of the American Community Survey (ACS) Language Assistance Guide (LAG). The translation covered a variety of topics, such as household composition, housing, income, and health.

The Translation Appraisal System (TAS) is a coding tool designed to assist the translation Expert Review process. Applying the concept of documenting question features by using an item taxonomy of the cognitive demands of a question (Dean et al., 2007), TAS is geared toward translated items and the common sources of translation problems. It guides language experts to complete translation Expert Review in a systematic way. We also conducted an experiment to examine the utility of the TAS to the Expert Review method. Four Chinese language experts and four Korean language experts assessed the translation of the ACS LAG and were assigned by experience (as defined by years of experience in translation and pretesting). The less experienced language experts used the TAS while the more experienced did not. Our hypothesis is that when aided with TAS, less experienced language experts can do as good of a job of Expert Review or even better than more experienced language experts. The number, type, and relevancy of the translation problems as well as time taken are examined.