The purpose of this paper is to give evidence for the thesis that if teachers using a questionnaire as a data collection instrument have the questionnaire items translated from one language into another, they cannot assume that the translated items are valid simply because they were translated. Even if the original questionnaire items were validated, this does not change the situation because the validity is context specific and is not an abstract notion that transfers from instrument to another. A questionnaire written in one language and translated into another is not an equivalent survey instrument. Meaning and intention are part of what makes a questionnaire valid, and they are not as easily translated from language to another as the words are. The cultural context of the second language is different, and so the meaning and intention of the word will be understood differently to some degree. It is concluded that any questionnaire translated into another language must again be subjected to further analysis and pilot studies to confirm its validity anew. (Contains 16 references.) (KFT)
Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (St. Louis, MO, February 24-27, 2001).