Improving Translation and Cultural Appropriateness of Spanish-Language Consent Materials for Biobanks

Improving Translation and Cultural Appropriateness of Spanish-Language Consent Materials for Biobanks
Kathleen M. Brelsford, Ernesto Ruiz, Catherine M. Hammack, and Laura M. Beskow
Ethics & Human Research, September-October 2019; 41(5) pp 16-27
Open Access
Abstract
A growing proportion of prospective research participants in the United States speak limited or no English. We conducted cognitive interviews with native Spanish speakers to test Spanish-language translations of simplified and traditional biobank consent forms. Comprehension was generally high and did not differ by form. Most of those who received the simplified form felt it contained the right amount of information, compared with fewer than half of those who received the traditional form. Qualitative results allowed us to identify overarching issues related to tone, formality, and voice that may affect prospective participants’ trust and willingness to participate. Certain characteristics of written Spanish are seemingly at odds with recommended actions to simplify consent forms; thus, even when significant empirical effort has been expended to develop simplified consent materials in English, additional work is needed to ensure the accuracy, comprehensibility, and cultural-congruence of Spanish-language translations.

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