How to test your translation with the community

It is important to check your translated resource with the community.

You can do this by running a focus group or consulting with key informers.

This will help you find out if any particular words or expressions in the translated resource do not sound natural or are unclear.

You can also explore whether any particular issues about the topic are sensitive or culturally inappropriate within the community and need to be handled differently.

How do I recruit participants in a particular language group?

First, establish selection criteria for your participants, for example: languages spoken or literacy levels (if reading is required).

Once you have decided on the criteria, ask relevant multicultural services (such as migrant resource centres), ethno-specific organisations, social groups, and universities to assist with recruiting participants.

If you are having trouble recruiting participants through your own connections, be prepared to pay an agency to recruit participants. 

Do I need an interpreter?

This depends on English proficiency and project requirements. You may decide to use an interpreter to assist you.

In this type of situation, hold different groups for each language.

Do I need to pay participants?

It is not compulsory but a nominal fee to recognise the participant’s contribution and time is recommended.

What points should I cover when I check the translation?  

You should ask questions that specifically check the meaning, clarity and expression of the translated resource.

Consider specific terms in your resource (medical, jargon, slang) and see if they are clear in their language. 

Go through the resource paragraph by paragraph and ask the group to check the translation carefully and check if the meaning is clear.

Ask questions about the images and layout – are the images relevant? Do they help with understanding the information? Does the layout make the information easy to read?

Find out which format is preferred in their community to best convey the messages. Is a written format the best way to communicate this information? Would an audio file be easier for their community?

Make sure to prepare your questions beforehand and keep in mind, the questions are a guide and you may need to be flexible

Related Information

Using Teach-Back via an interpreter

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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.

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Language Services Guide

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