Text Mining a Self-Report Back-Translation

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Abstract

There are several recommendations about the routine to undertake when back translating self-report instruments in cross-cultural research. However, text mining methods have been generally ignored within this field. This work describes a text mining innovative application useful to adapt a personality questionnaire to 12 different languages. The method is divided in 3 different stages, a descriptive analysis of the available back-translated instrument versions, a dissimilarity assessment between the source language instrument and the 12 back-translations, and an item assessment of item meaning equivalence. The suggested method contributes to improve the back-translation process of self-report instruments for cross-cultural research in 2 significant intertwined ways. First, it defines a systematic approach to the back translation issue, allowing for a more orderly and informed evaluation concerning the equivalence of different versions of the same instrument in different languages. Second, it provides more accurate instrument back-translations, which has direct implications for the reliability and validity of the instrument’s test scores when used in different cultures/languages. In addition, this procedure can be extended to the back-translation of self-reports measuring psychological constructs in clinical assessment. Future research works could refine the suggested methodology and use additional available text mining tools.

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