Guide for the Back Translation Review Process
are an important part of the quality assurance procedures when medical texts are translated. The process of back
translating texts consists of a set of specific steps meant to assure optimal detection of potentially dangerous
The first step
is, naturally, to extract the content to be translated from its original format and translate it into the
required language. A clinical trial to be held in
India, for instance, may involve documents to be translated from an English original into, say,
In this case, the
source language is English, while Bengali is the target language. The process of this initial translation is
generally known as the forwarding translation.
There are times
when a committee requires what is typically referred to as a double forwarding translation. Essentially, the
same content is translated by two separate translators independently from one another. A combination of the best
parts of these translations is then used as the version to be worked with.
This version is
then handed to another translator to be translated back into the initial source language, which in this case
would be English. This translator will have no knowledge whatsoever of the contents of the original text, in
order to ensure he or she is not in any way influenced by what they think should be
will, by the way, be a native English speaking individual who is also fluent in Bengali (or whatever other
language the text may have been translated into).
translation is then handed to a project manager, who will compare it sentence by sentence to the original
document. He will record his comparisons and any discrepancies in a grid containing a column for the original
text, a column each for the translated and back translated texts and a review comments
Each row of the
text is entered and compared, with any discrepancies worth re-checking being noted in the comments column. The
results of this comparison will then have to be discussed with the translators in order to determine whether the
differences will require a change.
For instance, the
original content may have used the term 'name of investigator', while the back translation resulted in the term
being 'name of doctor'. In this case, a change may be required, as the investigator in question may not
necessarily be a doctor and the patient may be confused by the terms used.
Whether it will
need changing depends on whether the term was translated wrongly into Bengali or back again, or whether it
actually makes no difference because there may be no different word for 'investigator' in Bengali and the term
'doctor' is used in either case.
By responding to
the query below the question, the translator can assist in determining if a change is required. Once all such
queries have been answered and necessary changes have been made, a second back translation will follow, again to
be checked in this manner until all rows are left without major discrepancies.