Sources of nonresponse error in the translation process of survey instruments: the impact of language mismatch and on-the-spot translation on the quality of birth date data

Saraç M., Koç İ.

International Journal Of Social Research Methodology, pp.1-13, 2020 (SSCI)

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/13645579.2020.1785088
  • Journal Name: International Journal Of Social Research Methodology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Criminal Justice Abstracts, Educational research abstracts (ERA), Political Science Complete, Psycinfo, Public Affairs Index, Social services abstracts, Sociological abstracts, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts
  • Page Numbers: pp.1-13
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


In data collection process of Turkey Demographic and Health Surveys (TDHSs), only printed questionnaire in Turkish is used. Therefore, on-the-spot translation was performed during the data collection process, rather than using printed questionnaires in Kurdish or Arabic. From the item-level nonresponse perspective, this study examines the quality of birth date data with two different but interrelated angles (1) impact of the language mismatch between language of interview and mother tongue of women; (2) impact of on-the-spot translation from Turkish into Kurdish and Arabic. The findings suggest that interviews with language mismatch and interviews conducted with on-the-spot translations, especially translations performed by local interpreters tended to produce high item-level nonresponse when compared with matched interviews. For this reason, an organized interviewer training session for increasing the effectiveness of on-the-spot translation with explanatory documentations and/or printed questionnaires in Kurdish and Arabic may be considered as options to decrease the item-level nonresponse further.