Translating the abstracts in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (CDSR) into Chinese

Tags: Oral
Shen W, Lo H, (Betty) Chiu Y, (Cliff) Chen C, N Kuo K

Background: Evidence-based medicine (EBM) databases in Chinese play an important role in the promotion and application of EBM to the Chinese-speaking world (1.3 billion people). National Health Research Institutes (NHRI) in Taiwan has cooperated with the Cochrane Collaboration to launch a five-year project to translate all the abstracts of CDSR (around 3,600) since 2007. Objectives: To establish a quality assurance mechanism of the translation process for CDSR contents. Methods: Preparations for the translation include establishment of translation-aided information platform, recruitment of translators and reviewers (all physicians), design of translation and review procedure, and development of an English-Chinese glossary. The process of translation includes three major stages: 1) first draft translation; 2) internal quality reviews (two independent reviewers); and 3) external quality reviews (NHRI reviewers). The translation article might be returned for revision in stage 1 and stage 2, following the reviewer’s recommendation. Results: Up to March 2009, over 470 physicians from medical centers have contributed to the task. Over 2,300 abstracts are under the translating process. Among them, 196 abstracts have been reviewed by two internal reviewers. The most common suggestions pinpointed by reviewers were poor readability (47%), incorrect wording (15%) and inconsistency with the glossary (11%). Each abstract was revised 2.7 times on average before final approval. Only 14% of abstracts were passed by both reviewers in stage 2; 32% of first drafts were turned down by both reviewers. The data also showed significant improvement in subsequent revisions indicating a learning curve. Conclusions: The most important principle for translation is to ensure the reliability and readability. Our efforts in two-tiered quality review result in significantly proper translation outcome and ensure quality control. As a consequence, the translated articles will benefit health personnel as well as the general public. By conducting the translation project, we also strategically introduce Cochrane review and promote the latest EBM knowledge to those physicians involved.