The ESS strives to achieve a principle of equivalence with regard to its translations. Translation procedures on the ESS are guided by the requirements outlined in the Survey Specification and the following key principles:

  • The ESS source questionnaire is designed in British English and then translated by each national team
  • Translations are required for each language used as a first language by 5 per cent or more of the population
  • The ESS follows the TRAPD methodology (Translation, Review, Adjudication, Pretesting and Documentation)
  • All national teams are provided with detailed Translation Guidelines and a Translation Quality Checklist which outline the procedures to be followed
  • Following translation, a selection of items are subject to the following translation quality assessment steps: translation verification and translation assessment by the team at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF)
  • All translated questionnaires must be pre-tested following the completion of verification and UPF translation assessment

Translation Expert Panel

The ESS translation process is overseen by the Translation team based at GESIS (Brita Dorer and Ulrike Efu Nkong) and in consultation with the Translation Expert Panel. The Panel's role is to advise the ESS on a regular basis on translation-related matters. These relate both to the general ESS translation strategies and to specific issues where the ESS Translation Team and/or the ESS Core Scientific Team seek external expertise. The current members of the Panel are:

  • Dr. Brita Dorer (Chair), Senior Researcher at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim
  • Dr. Dorothée Behr, Senior researcher and team leader (team “Cross-cultural survey methods”) at GESIS - Leibniz Institute for the Social Sciences, Mannheim
  • Dr. Patricia Goerman, Sociologist and leader of the Language and Cross-Cultural Research group, Center for Behavioral Science Methods, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, D.C.
  • Danuta Przepiórkowska, Linguist/Sociologist, University of Warsaw, Poland
  • Dr. Alisú Schoua-Glusberg, Principal / Survey Methodologist, Research Support Services, Chicago
  • Dr. Diana Zavala Rojas, ESS Senior Researcher and Deputy Director of the Research and Expertise Centre for Survey Methodology, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona

Associated and former members:

  • Dr. Ana Villar, UX Researcher at Meta, London
  • Dr. Zeina Mneimneh, Affiliate, Survey Research Center, University of Michigan and Researcher at Meta
  • Dr. Paul Kussmaul, Senior Lecturer at the Faculty of Translation Studies, Linguistics and Cultural Studies, University of Mainz (retired)
  • Dr. Beth-Ellen Pennell, Director, International Survey Operations, Survey Research Center, Institute for Social Research, University of Michigan (retired)

Related content

ESS documents on this topic

Publications on this topic

Journal Articles

Dorer B. (2021).
Advance Translation - The Remedy to Improve Translatability of Source Questionnaires? Results of a Think-Aloud Study. Field Methods

Repke, L. & Dorer, B. (2021).
Translate Wisely! An Evaluation of Close and Adaptive Translation Procedures in an Experiment Involving Questionnaire Translation. International Journal of Sociology


Dorer, B. (2020).
Advance translation as a means of improving source questionnaire translatability?: Findings from a think-aloud study for French and German, Berlin: Frank & Timme


Dorer, B. (2014).
Report on changes to existing translations applied by national teams in the ESS Round 5 questionnaire

Book chapters

Harkness, J. (2003).
Questionnaire Translation. In J. Harkness et al. (eds.), Cross-Cultural Survey Methods, Hoboken: Wiley