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Linguistic Validation: Our Process From A to Z

In some industries, a mere translation service is never enough to ensure linguistic accuracy, cultural adaptation, and terminology interpretation. For that reason, translation service providers (LSPs) offer multiple reviews and validation features to cover what lies far beyond the simple word-for-word translation. This, in fact, reflects a dire need across a wide-angle of sectors, especially those pertaining to life science and clinical research.

Linguistic validation is an extended process of translation and quality assurance practices that are aimed at verifying and refining technical documents and instruments. This specialty is mainly concerned with checking up on the reliability and conceptual equivalence of the various types of clinical outcome assessments (COAs), patient-reported outcome (PRO), clinical trials, and patient questionnaires.

It can be seen that linguistic validation services are mostly demanded by, yet not limited to, healthcare industries, pharmaceutical specialties, and other clinical research scopes. Generally speaking, other fields can also benefit from translation validation services on all levels, since the lack of appropriate and high-quality translation is considered a widespread problem.

Globally endorsed multistep process

The deployment of linguistic validation necessitates the application of a standard methodology that complies with the regulatory requirements set by the International Society for Pharmacoeconomics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR). Depicted in the graph below, linguistic validation process involves multiple end-to-end phases that eventually lead to a reliable and validated output.

Globally endorsed multistep process

Step 1: Forward Translation

Once you embark on the linguistic validation journey, you ought to hire professional and native linguists who are also familiar with the respective field of study. These veteran translators will be responsible for transcreating the original instrument independently and separately from each other.

Step 2: Reconciliation

Once this initial phase pans out, a new adept linguistic expert starts to assess and develop the forward translations into one coherent version. The compiled version must be equivalent to the original one and easy to grasp by an average native, especially when it comes to clinical trials and PROs.

Step 3: Back Translation

The semi-final translated version then gets translated back to the source language by a new translator or translators who have no access to the original instrument. Once done, the output of this “Back Translation” should be compared with the original source with the aim of identifying the discrepancies and coming up with a solid and error-free final copy of the previously-harmonized translation.

Step 4: Cognitive Debriefing

Make no mistake! The process is still far from done. As a sequel to these tedious translation and review efforts comes the implementation of an adequate “Cognitive Debriefing”. Some examples of this so-called patient testing surveys are diabetes patient satisfaction questionnaires (DTSQs) and audits of the diabetes-dependent quality of life (ADDQoLs).

This step is more like holding extensive focus group interviews to revalidate the translation from another standpoint. In this phase, patients, or questionnaire respondents, are required to give their insights on the readability of the instrument’s content as well as the cultural connotations of the used terms and icons. They shall also highlight any difficulties they find within the details of the documents.

Step 5: Final Review

Last but not least, the instruments subject to a “Final Review” process to set the seal on a final eligible and validated product. This one last step entails a revision by an industry practitioner and a final linguistic check-up by a trusted proofreader.

Now that you have realized how linguistic validation is a far cry from the typical translation review practices, you must have touched how fundamental selecting the best-in-class service provider is. When considering linguistic validation, make sure you go to the right source. 

Contentech is an ISO 17100 certified translation company that provides an array of technical and language services. Linguistic validation has always been among Contentech’s top areas of expertise, and we have been acknowledged by a large number of reputable clients, including Pfizer, Johnson and Johnson, and HillRom. Partner with us now and take advantage of our competent linguistic validation process.

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