Community Participatory Translation Processes for Mental Health Screening Among Refugees and Forced Migrants

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Community participatory translation approaches combining professional translation with iterative back-and-forth expert committee consensus processes ensure cultural equivalency, accuracy, and clarity of meaning in translation. Although these standard methodological processes for instrument translation are established, they are often overlooked in some health-care settings when serving diverse populations. We present preliminary results from the Pathways to Wellness project translation process for the Refugee Health Screener-15 (RHS-15), an instrument developed as a valid screener for anxiety, depression, and posttraumatic stress disorder among refugee groups. The development process for the RHS-15 ensured that the best combination of items from refugee experiences were selected to enhance transcultural validity, reliability, and accessibility. We share two language-mapping diagrams from Somali and Russian languages in the process of translating the RHS-15, describe pilot testing procedures among a Haitian Creole translation group, and illustrate the linguistic, cultural specificity, and clarity achieved through community consensus-based translation as best practice.


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