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Back-Translation Practices in Organizational Research: Avoiding Loss in Translation

Klotz, Anthony C; Swider, Brian W; Kwon, Seo Hyun; (2022) Back-Translation Practices in Organizational Research: Avoiding Loss in Translation. Journal of Applied Psychology 10.1037/apl0001050. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

As organizational research continues to globalize, scholars increasingly must translate established scales into languages other than those in which the scales were originally developed. In organizational psychology research, back-translation is the dominant procedure for translating scales. Back-translation has notable strengths in maintaining the psychometric properties of an established scale in a translated version. However, cross-cultural methodologists have argued that in its most basic form, back-translation often does not result in translations with acceptable levels of equivalence between original and translated research materials. Fortunately, there are complementary procedures to back-translation that can evaluate and strengthen the extent to which scale translations have achieved equivalence between original and translated versions of scales. But how often organizational researchers use and report these procedures in tandem with back-translation is unclear. This article aims to address this lack of clarity by evaluating the state of the use of back-translation in organizational psychology research by reviewing every study in Journal of Applied Psychology that has employed translation over the past nearly 25 years (k = 333). Our findings suggest that the majority of the time that researchers engage in translation procedures, they report having done so. At the same time, the details of these procedures are commonly underreported, making it unclear whether additional techniques beyond back-translation have been used to examine and demonstrate equivalence between original and translated versions of scales. Based on the results of our review, we develop a set of recommendations for conducting and reporting scale translations in organizational research.

Type: Article
Title: Back-Translation Practices in Organizational Research: Avoiding Loss in Translation
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1037/apl0001050
Publisher version: https://psycnet.apa.org/doi/10.1037/apl0001050
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Social Sciences, Psychology, Applied, Management, Psychology, Business & Economics, back-translation, research methods, International Psychology, transparency and openness, scale development, LEADER-MEMBER EXCHANGE, WORK-FAMILY CONFLICT, CONFIRMATORY FACTOR-ANALYSIS, ITEM RESPONSE THEORY, BURNOUT INTERVENTION PROGRAM, DEMANDS-RESOURCES MODEL, CROSS-CULTURAL RESEARCH, POWER DISTANCE VALUES, REPUBLIC-OF-CHINA, MODERATING ROLE
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > UCL School of Management
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10157013
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