Background: translation of Cochrane abstracts and Plain language summaries (PLS) is essential to the dissemination of evidence-based health care worldwide. The Brazilian Cochrane Centre has been producing and co-ordinating Portuguese translations of them since 1996. Currently, approximately 100 translations are done voluntarily each year by Brazilian healthcare professionals and revised by central translation co-ordinators in Sao Paulo before being published in the Cochrane Library. As the number and diversity of translators increased, the workload of revising the content and language of these texts also increased substantially and Cochrane Brazil translation co-ordinators created a project to improve the quality of the translations produced by volunteers.
Objectives: describe the creation, implementation and first results of a project to improve the quality of Portuguese translations of Cochrane abstracts and PLS.
Methods: we conducted an online survey to identify the main difficulties of our volunteers in understanding the original English texts (specific terms, words, sections), their experience/difficulties writing Portuguese and their main challenges in producing Portuguese versions of abstracts and PLS (phase 1). Based on the results of this survey and the most common translation errors, we produced a series of short educative videos on how to avoid and correct these mistakes (phase 2). These videos were uploaded and disseminated in a YouTube channel on March 15, 2019 and translators were invited to watch and send us feedback (through an online questionnaire) on the content, format and usefulness of each video using a Likert (0 to 10) scale (phase 3). We present viewers’ reactions to these videos, in the first month of publication.
Results: based on the results of the first online survey, we produced seven (5 to 8-minute) videos on the following topics: Verbal and nominal agreement; Abbreviations in scientific texts; Simplifying language; Signs, symbols and punctuation; Statistical terms; Technical terms; and Common wrong word usage. So far, 60 viewers have rated the videos. The content, format and usefulness of each video were rated as excellent (10 points) or very good (8-9) by all respondents, and all participants would recommend the videos to others. The videos on Statistical terms and Verbal and nominal agreement received the highest overall scores.
Conclusions: this innovative intervention to improve the quality of Portuguese translation was well received by Brazilian volunteers. The short videos were very well rated and deemed useful by all respondents. We continue to receive feedback from the translators and will assess the impact of this intervention on the quality of translations over the next months.
Patient or healthcare consumer involvement: high-quality, Portuguese translations of Cochrane material can help Portuguese-speaking healthcare consumers make better-informed decisions about treatments.