This article was originally published here
J Dev Behav Pediatr. 2021 Dec 1;42(9):717-725. doi: 10.1097/DBP.0000000000000968.
OBJECTIVES: Parent-report screening tools for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are widely used to promote early identification of children with or at risk for ASD. Most screening tools have been developed in English in the United States or United Kingdom; thus, translated versions are needed for use with culturally and linguistically diverse populations. Traditional translation methods include a forward translation, back translation, and review. However, when used in new cultural and linguistic contexts, this “forward-back” approach may have limitations, including differing psychometric properties compared with original instruments. This study presents a psychometric analysis of the forward-back translation methodology of an ASD screening tool.
METHODS: A retrospective chart review design was used to examine Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers-Revised (M-CHAT-R; Robins et al.) records from 2974 toddlers. Data were compared between caregivers who completed the original English M-CHAT-R and caregivers who completed its forward-back “Spanish-Western Hemisphere” translation to compare select psychometric properties of the 2 instruments.
RESULTS: Significant differences were observed between the 2 versions, including a higher overall risk score, higher initial screen-positive rate, and increased likelihood of leaving items blank among Spanish-speaking respondents.
CONCLUSION: Traditional translation methods seemed to affect select psychometric properties between translations of the M-CHAT-R. A more rigorous cultural adaptation approach may be necessary to maintain equivalence with the original instrument. Until new rigorous translations are available, it is recommended that language-specific screening tools continue to be used, along with recommended follow-up interviews, to avoid exacerbating existing health disparities.