Overcoming the challenges of translating mental health instruments into sign languages

Kate Moore, Barry Wright, Danielle Moore, Richard Ogden, Katherine Rogers

Abstract


In the United Kingdom (UK), the Strengths and Difficulties Questionnaire (SDQ) is widely used in Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), and has been translated into over sixty spoken languages. It is used both as a screening measure of common mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, or anti-social behaviour, and also as an outcome measure within services. Clinical experience suggests that the SDQ has limited use within a Deaf mental health context due to linguistic and cultural differences arising. Translating diagnostic tools into British Sign Language (BSL) is important to provide valid assessment of common mental health problems in Deaf signing young people. In this paper the process of translating the SDQ from a written language (English) into a visual language (BSL) is reported, describing adaptations to the existing methodologies. The challenges of this process are discussed, with particular reference to the difficulties in translating for a population of signing Deaf young people, followed by suggestions of how these difficulties can be overcome.


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