A review of guidelines for cross-cultural adaptation of questionnaires could not bring out a consensus

J Clin Epidemiol. 2015 Apr;68(4):435-41. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2014.11.021. Epub 2014 Dec 17.


Objectives: The aim of cross-cultural adaptation (CCA) of a questionnaire is to achieve equivalence between the original and adapted questionnaire. Here, we aimed to review the state of the art in CCA methods.

Study design and setting: We reviewed cross-disciplinary bibliographic databases for articles on methods and guidelines for CCA of questionnaires. Articles were first selected by their abstract and title, and then, we retrieved full-text English articles. References of selected articles were searched for additional relevant studies.

Results: We identified 31 guidelines and found no consensus in CCA methods. Most methods included use of committees, focus groups, and back translations. Evidence for the best methods is lacking, although clues indicate that back translation may not be mandatory.

Conclusion: Several methods are available for CCA of questionnaires. According to experts only, most would achieve comparable results, and choosing one is a matter of preference and logistic. More evidence is needed to support recommendations. Adaptation and validation of a questionnaire are two different processes that should be distinguished and undertaken with care.

Keywords: Adaptation; Concept; Culture; Guidelines; Method; Questionnaire.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Consensus
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Databases, Bibliographic
  • Humans
  • Language
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Translations