Purpose: Spanish speakers represented 13% of the U.S. population in 2015. Alcohol use in pregnancy, including Spanish-speakers, affects 1 in 10 U.S. women. The rising population of U.S. Spanish-speakers necessitates availability of Spanish-language tools to consistently measure alcohol consumption. This study compares existing Spanish translations of alcohol questionnaires to English questionnaire items and examines dialectal differences.
Methods & Data: Spanish-translations of common alcohol screening questionnaires, including AUDIT (1 translation, validated), CAGE (4 total, 2 validated), and TWEAK (1, unvalidated) were compiled from peer-reviewed articles, government-agencies and universities. Each item was back-translated to English separately (by two bi-lingual English/Spanish speakers with university degrees in Spanish), unified and compared for differences in meaning and dialect. Items were scored on translation quality: 3-“exact” translation, 2-“emerging” (minor differences only), 1- “different” (major difference in meaning).
Results: AUDIT received a strong average translation score (2.70) and was dialectally appropriate for U.S. Spanish-speakers. Validated versions of CAGE, scored 2.75 (Saitz et al.),
indicating many “exact” translations, and 2.25 (Pedrero Perez et al.) with a greater number of “emerging” translations. Weaknesses included study-sample populations and dialect-specific vocabulary not applicable to broader U.S.-Spanish, e.g., terms for “hangover,” “resaca” (Spain), and “goma” (Central/South America). Non-validated versions of the CAGE scored 2.5 and 2.25 indicating a greater number of “emerging” or “different” translations e.g., translation of
“hangover” to “discomfort from drinking the night before.” TWEAK translation scored 2.40 with broad dialectal representation e.g., “hangover” as “resaca, cruda, guayabo, goma, chuchaqui, ratón” and some “different” translations e.g., in “Eye-opener,” “in the morning” not mentioned at all.
Conclusions: There is need for future research efforts in the field of brain and behavioral health to standardize the Spanish translations of common alcohol questionnaires, modify to specific linguistic background, and validate in heterogeneous Spanish-speaking population in the U.S. NIH funding: R01AA021771
Rodriguez, D E.; L Enriquez; L Stacy; R Rai; L N. Bakhireva; and J Lowe. "Accuracy of Spanish Translation of Alcohol Screening Questionnaires for use In Brain and Behavioral Health Research." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/hsc-bbhrd/14