Calls to provide Western-developed psychometric tests in local languages

2.10 Calls to provide Western-developed psychometric tests in local languages

The distribution of (English-language) work-based personality questionnaires (both in and outside of their country of development), with acceptable technical data to suggest they may be useful in international organisational settings, has resulted in calls from industry to provide these questionnaires in a local language. Agreement to produce local versions brings with it a number of professional responsibilities as made public by various cross-cultural researchers and psychometricians (Bartram, 2001; Hambleton & Patsula, 1998; Van de Vijver & Hambleton, 1996). These responsibilities include having an awareness of the differing types of bias that may present during test translation, as well as during administration, analysis and interpretation of the data. Van de Vijer and Hambleton (1996) and Brislan (1980) provided guidelines on the translation of tests. Cheung (2004) added to this by providing some background issues that need consideration prior to “diving” into translation, adaptation and research of this nature in China. These issues include considering how familiar the local people are with testing, their proficiency in the language of the test, the accuracy of the translation, equivalence of the new test to the original at item, scale and construct level, cross-cultural differences in mean scores and how to interpret differences in scores. Ultimately, taking into account all of the issues involved in translation, adaptation and validation, it is advisable for non-indigenous researchers to have a passion for both the research and the people under investigation, rather than jumping on the “China bandwagon” and looking to gain as much as possible out of the emerging Chinese testing market. With this in mind, it is necessary to first question why the research is being carried out and what is the anticipated gain, not just to the researcher, but also to the literature and the local population under consideration.