Compare question texts in EVS 2008

What is the story of this page?

In EVS 2008 questions were asked in 65 languages/language versions.
An online variable overview allows for comparing the wording of all questions easily.
In this way, translation peculiarities and problems may be detected.
A rough understanding of the translation procedure helps to find out if other languages are affected.
We ask you to please report translation problems to us, as this may help other researchers for comparative analyses and will certainly improve the next EVS wave.
All indicated deviations will be listed in the table below.


65 languages and language versions

For EVS 2008 translations were required for each language used as a first language by more than 5 percent of the population of a country. Large efforts were taken to design a centralized translation process of field questionnaires in all participating countries. Even though the procedure was standardized and closely monitored, there may be translation peculiarities and deviations.

Some deviations in translation have been identified during the data processing and documentation. They are added as notes to the variable related documentation or listed in the table below. Other particular problems might still be detected by researchers by comparing question texts across languages, countries or waves. Comparisons across waves are supported for EVS 1999 and 2008. However, the focus here lies on the languages fielded in EVS 2008. For this wave, the English Master Questionnaire has been translated into 37 languages and altogether 65 language versions.

EVS2008Languages[14 countries have conducted the survey in more than one language. 13 languages were shared by different countries. The blue boxes indicate countries sharing one or more languages; shared languages are marked in red.]


In case of translation deviations in a particular language, other countries that share this language or languages belonging to the linguistic family might be affected as well. To check whether a translation problem might be related to one or more than one language, summarized information on the translation procedure as well as a short guide on how to proceed in case of detected problems is provided below.

Translation procedure

In order to increase the quality of the EVS 2008 Survey, the translation procedure has been harmonized and monitored by the EVS methodology group. A standardized setup of the EVS 2008 questionnaires was supported by a new web-based translation platform designed by Gallup Europe, WebTrans. The translation of the 2008 questionnaire was coordinated by CEPS Luxembourg and has been conducted differently depending on the country. Detailed information is available in Guidelines and Recommendations.

(1) Countries participating in EVS 1999-2000, or in WVS 1995 or WVS 2000 first checked the national translation of the questions used in EVS 1999 or WVS and corrected mistakes, if necessary. Each country then translated the questions that were newly introduced in the EVS 2008 questionnaire.

(2) When the translation of the EVS 2008 questionnaire in a certain language already existed, other countries sharing this language adapted it to its cultural context.

(3) Countries that did not participate in EVS 1999-2000 and that did not run through the adaptation procedure translated the whole questionnaire. The final version of the questionnaire is the synthesis done by the NPD, an external expert of two independent translations.

Country-specific information on Questionnaire Translation and Fieldwork Procedure can be found in the Online study description of EVS 2008, section III ‘Methodology and Processing’ (select issue and click on country names). For more general information, go to High-quality fieldwork.

Study_online(Click on image to access the online overview)

[In order to access information on ‘Questionnaire Translation’ and ‘Fieldwork Procedure’ in EVS countries, please

– Select an issue, e.g., Fieldwork Procedure
– Select a country: information will be visible
– Select further countries]

Online variable overview for an easy comparison of original question wording

The workflow for documentation of a national dataset with question texts in all languages fielded was designed by the GESIS Dept. Data Archive for the Social Sciences. The documentation process allows a variable related documentation according to DDI/XML standards. It ensures different output formats and offers users the possibility to choose between several approaches to the metadata.
If you want to check the original questions texts of EVS 2008 for country-specific deviations, please access the Online variable overview, or the Online Study Catalogue ZACAT, or the bilingual variable reports. They may help to check original question wordings within and across countries.

Variable_online1(Click on image to access the online overview)

[In order to compare question texts easily, please

– Select EVS 2008: all variables will be listed
– Select a variable: English question will be visible
– Select a language: original questions will be visible

– or search in English documentation for variable names/labels, question texts.]

How to proceed in case of translation peculiarities and deviations

(1) Detected problems should be checked first by reviewing the documentation of previous EVS and WVS waves.

(2) If the problem is found in a survey language used by several countries (e.g., Russian), the question should be checked in all other countries that adopted the affected language in their survey.

(3) Furthermore, we recommend checking the translation of other close languages in the linguistic family concerned.

(4) The findings during this procedure would allow a continuous improvement of the documentation of the EVS 2008 survey and would be a contribution to the standardization of the next EVS waves.


Language_families_kl(Click on image to enlarge)

[Red boxes contain EVS languages and the country/countries in which they were used.
Some languages are shared in several countries. The source questionnaire used for adaptation of the translation is marked in bold and italics. Countries using English field questionnaire adapted the EVS Master Questionnaire.]

Peculiarities and deviations in translation reported to date

In order to continuously improve the documentation of the EVS 2008 survey and the standardization of the next EVS waves, we kindly ask you to report any detected translation deviation to EVS(at)uvt(dot)nl or EVSservice(at)gesis(dot)org.

Table_Translation_kl(Click on image to enlarge)

[For each reported peculiarity or deviation in translation a short description as well as a link to more details of the problem is provided.
In addition, countries affected by the problem are listed.]