Translating Quality of Life Questionnaires II

Raoul Breugelmans

20 October 1999

R. Breugelmans continued last month's discussion of problems encountered in the translation and cultural adaptation of a quality of life (QOL) questionnaire on stroke.

Some examples of problems presented:

Translator 1: a.脚
Translator 2: a.脚
Reconciled translation: a.脚
After discussion with the client:  a.脚

In Japanese, both leg and foot are ashi. Although both are written using different characters, this was not considered clear enough, and it was decided to express foot/ankle as 'the part from the tip of the foot to the ankle'.
The audience pointed out, however, that 脚 for leg not necessarily exludes the foot.

Translator 1: 失敗
Translator 2: 間違い
Reconciled translation: 失敗
After discussion with the client:  失敗や事故

In patient interviews in other language versions of the questionnaire, a number of patients thought that mistakes referred to their strokes. To avoid confusion, it was decided to translate this item as 'blame yourself for mistakes or mishaps' in all language versions.
The audience felt that 事故 was too strong, and suggested that 間違いや小さな事故 might work.

Translator 1: 家事をする(例:掃除機をかける、洗濯、庭仕事)
Translator 2: 重度の家事作業を行うことに(例えば、掃除、洗濯、または家屋内の修理)
Reconciled translation: 重度の家事(例えば、掃除機をかける、洗濯、庭の手入れ)を行うことは
Suggested by back translator: 布団を干す instead of 庭の手入れ
After international harmonization: 重度の家事を行うこと

The number of people owning a yard in Japan was not considered large enough to justify this example.
The back translator suggested 布団を干す as a good alternative.
However, after international harmonization, it was decided to delete all examples, as they could be considered gender specific.
The audience pointed out however, that the item itself may be considered gender specific.
Also, it was pointed out that 重度の家事 is not natural Japanese. 体力を必要とする家事 was suggested as an alternative.

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