Reviewing existing translations – checklist

Using existing translated materials may save you time and money, however to use them successfully it is essential that you review and focus test the materials to make sure they are going to have the effect you are hoping for.


Step 1: Consult with the original producer of the materials

Translated materials can be very context specific and are often developed with a particular target audience in mind. Remember, ethnic communities are not homogenous – there are age, gender, economic and geographic variables to consider. It may not always be possible, but talking to the producers of the original materials will assist you to determine whether the materials are appropriate for your particular target audience.

  • Who was the target audience of the original materials?
  • Was focus testing conducted?
  • Do they have documentation of any focus testing?
  • How have they used the materials?
  • How effective have the materials been to date?
  • How has the effectiveness of the materials been evaluated?
  • Can they provide any advice in relation to meeting your needs?
  • Are the materials copyrighted? Can you get permission to use or modify them?
  • Is there an English version of the materials?

Step 2: Check the currency of the health messages

As the health professional, it is up to you to determine whether the health messages and information contained in the resource are appropriate

  • Are the health messages accurate, current and complete?
  • Do the health messages reflect the values of your organisation?

Step 3: Focus test materials with the target audience

A focus test is a qualitative research method in which a facilitator leads a small group of people through a discussion on a selected topic. Focus testing can be used to explore reactions to and understanding of materials or concepts and is an effective way of ensuring that the message or information both reads well and is appropriate for the target audience.

  • Are the health messages relevant and meaningful to your target audience?
  • Does the material respect the values and beliefs of your target audience?
  • Is the target audience comfortable with the content and messages?
  • Are the materials appropriate for the target audience in format and style?
  • Is the language used culturally relevant?
  • Is the literacy level appropriate?
  • Is the use of medical terminology minimal or adequately explained?
  • Are the images or colours used culturally appropriate?
  • Is the message persuasive for the target audience?
  • Are written materials the best way to deliver this message or information to this particular target audience?

Download .pdf version ‘Review existing translations – checklist’. 

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