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Many survey projects at national and cross-national levels use questionnaires developed in one language and translated into another. The quality of these translations is a crucial factor in determining the comparability of the data collected. Conversely, poor translations of survey instruments have been identified as frequent and potentially major sources of survey measurement error. This entry outlines key aspects of conducting and monitoring survey language translations.

Essentially, translation allows researchers to collect data from people who cannot be interviewed in the language(s) in which a questionnaire is already available. In countries such as the United States, long-standing linguistic minorities and newly immigrated groups make translation into multiple languages essential to ensure adequate coverage and representation of different segments of the national population. The 2000 U.S. Census ...

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