• Poster

The Utility of Conducting Interviews in Multiple Languages on the World Trade Center Health Registry


Triplett, S., Zelon, H., Thalji, L., Murphy, J., & Dean, L. (2004, May). The Utility of Conducting Interviews in Multiple Languages on the World Trade Center Health Registry. Presented at International Field Directors and Technologies Conference, Phoenix, AZ.


The World Trade Center Health Registry is designed to assess the health effects of the World Trade Center (WTC) disaster of September 11, 2001. The Registry will follow participants to evaluate short and long term physical and mental health effects including those resulting from exposures to the dust, fumes, airborne particulates, on 9/11 and in the ensuing weeks as the fires burned. Persons who may enroll in the Registry include those who were in lower Manhattan on September 11, 2001; residents south of Canal Street; school children and staff enrolled in schools south of Canal Street; and persons involved in rescue, recovery, clean-up, and other work at the WTC site or Staten Island Recovery Operations between September 11, 2001 and June 30, 2002.

Registrants from this population represent many countries and speak a wide variety of languages. The most commonly spoken languages in New York City include English, Spanish and two Chinese dialects, Cantonese and Mandarin. Telephone interviewers may conduct the interview in each of these languages using a translated version of the Web based interview. In addition, the interview may be conducted in any one of over 140 languages for which translation services are available through a commercial, real-time translation service. This approach reduces the potential for bias due to the exclusion of foreign-language respondents, but it also involves costs beyond what would be incurred if these services were not offered.

This presentation examines our approach in terms of cost effectiveness and reduction of potential bias. Cost and selected demographic and interview data are compared under the assumptions that the interview was offered in English only; was offered in English, Spanish, Cantonese, and Mandarin only; and was offered in more than 140 languages. We will also include analyses of interview timing and completion rates by language and use of the translation service to assess the utility of our approach.