Translation of Questionnaires Into Arabic in Cross-Cultural Research: Techniques and Equivalence Issues

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Abstract

Aims:

To describe the translation process of nursing instruments into Arabic and discuss the equivalence issues arising from this process.

Method:

Review of the literature.

Results:

The Arabic language is essentially three different languages: Classical Arabic; Modern Standard Arabic (fuS-Ha or MSA); and colloquial Arabic (Lahja A’mmeya), which is itself divided into five different regional Arabic dialects. The Arabic fuS-Ha language is the dialect most widely used in the translation of instruments into Arabic. The literature reveals that only a few studies focused on the linguistic issues in the translation of instruments into Arabic. Brislin's back-translation emerged as the most common method widely used by researchers in studies with Arabic-speaking subjects, but not the perfect one.

Conclusion:

Linguistic issues in nursing research have not been sufficiently described and discussed in the context of Arabic language and culture. Although there is no standard guideline for instrument translation, the combined translation model is the most recommended procedure to use in cross-cultural research. Linguistic differences between the source culture and the target Arabic culture should be taken into account. Finally, we recommend the use of the fuS-Ha dialect and trilingual translators in the translation of nursing instruments into Arabic.

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