Translation as an Ecological Tool for Instrument Development

  • Andrey Vinokurov Macro International
  • Daniel Geller Macro International
  • Tamara L. Martin U.S. Department of State


In this paper the authors outline the translation process involved in Macro International’s evaluation of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, and Georgia. IVLP is a long-running program in which professionals and prospective leaders from around the world participate in funded short-term visits to the United States to learn first-hand professional practices and values of American society and democracy. The authors highlight the importance of attending to the theoretical issues in, discuss contextual factors inherent in, and outline specific phases of the translation process, and present the modified decentering translation technique adapted for the project. They describe the types of translation equivalencies that were addressed and present findings that attest to the quality of the translation. They underscore the importance of the translation process as a qualitative tool for the instrument development that maps the contexts of people’s lives, documents emic-etic aspects of cross-cultural research, and fosters collaborations with all stakeholders of the research project.