Cross-cultural adaptation of the Health Education Impact Questionnaire: experimental study showed expert committee, not back-translation, added value

J Clin Epidemiol. 2015 Apr;68(4):360-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2013.07.013. Epub 2013 Sep 29.


Objectives: To assess the contribution of back-translation and expert committee to the content and psychometric properties of a translated multidimensional questionnaire.

Study design and setting: Recommendations for questionnaire translation include back-translation and expert committee, but their contribution to measurement properties is unknown. Four English to French translations of the Health Education Impact Questionnaire were generated with and without committee or back-translation. Face validity, acceptability, and structural properties were compared after random assignment to people with rheumatoid arthritis (N = 1,168), chronic renal failure (N = 2,368), and diabetes (N = 538). For face validity, 15 bilingual people compared translations quality with the original. Psychometric properties were examined using confirmatory factor analysis (metric and scalar invariance) and item response theory.

Results: Qualitatively, there were five types of translation errors: style, intensity, frequency/time frame, breadth, and meaning. Bilingual assessors ranked best the translations with committee (P = 0.0026). All translations had good structural properties (root mean square error of approximation <0.05; comparative fit index [CFI], ≥0.899; and Tucker-Lewis index, ≥0.889). Full measurement invariance was observed between translations (ΔCFI ≤ 0.01) with metric invariance between translations and original (lowest ΔCFI = 0.022 between fully constrained models and models with free intercepts). Item characteristic curve analyses revealed no significant differences.

Conclusion: This is the first experimental evidence that back-translation has moderate impact, whereas expert committee helps to ensure accurate content.

Keywords: Back-Translation; Complex measurement scale; Cross-cultural adaptation; Experimental study; Expert committee; heiQ.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Female
  • Health Education
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Psychometrics
  • Research Design
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Translations*