Instrument translation and evaluation of equivalence and psychometric properties: the Chinese Sense of Coherence Scale

J Nurs Meas. Spring-Summer 2002;10(1):59-76. doi: 10.1891/jnum.


Translating well-established English instruments into target languages other than English and testing cross-cultural validity to prove that the same attributes are being measured in each cultural group or country are required before a multicultural or international study can be conducted and cross-cultural comparisons of study results can be applied. However, rigorous and systematic cross-cultural efforts to test the effectiveness of specific translation methods are rare. This article presents a model of translation processes and empirical validation of the translated instrument through description of the translation of a selected instrument--the Sense of Coherence (SOC) Scale--from English into Chinese. A cyclic process of forward translations, back translations, and expert evaluation of equivalence by bilingual and English speaking experts was conducted to achieve conceptual equivalence between the original and translated instruments. Empirical validation of the Chinese SOC scale data from a group of bilingual Chinese people demonstrated non-identical, but comparable, item and scale means and variances, internal consistency, and relationships to an external criterion. Advantages and difficulties of using multi-rounds, multi-experts, and multi-methods to establish translation equivalence and to validate the translated Chinese SOC scale are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • China
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internal-External Control
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychological Tests*
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Translating