EDPQS Translation and adaptation checklist

Thinking about translating or adapting EDPQS materials? Use this checklist to get it right!

Tip: You can also download this checklist as a PDF document.

translated EDPQS materialsTranslating quality standards from one language to another is not as straightforward as just sending the materials to a professional translation company and proof-reading the translation. Prevention vocabularies differ between countries, and certain terms may not have easy equivalents in other languages. In addition, the EDPQS materials reflect a structured process of development involving many stakeholders, and so cannot be changed arbitrarily.

Therefore, please observe the following guidance when translating or otherwise modifying the EDPQS:

  1. Choose the most appropriate persons to do the translation – if possible, use a translator with experience of translating drug-related materials or sub-contract the task to a prevention expert with good language skills. Involve prevention experts on a continuous basis to review and improve the translation – do not leave the editing task until after the translation is completed. See also EDPQS Toolkit 4 (Step 3, Section 3.3).
  2. Ensure the prevention-specific terminology is accurate – a literal translation may not always be the best choice. It is more important that the target audience understands the standards as intended and that the terms are in line with the professional language used in the new context. Where equivalent terms are not available, it may be better to use phrases and descriptions instead of inventing new terms.
  3. Ensure consistency of standards terminology – the EDPQS use a consistent and standardised vocabulary (e.g. “standards”, “components”, “needs assessment”, “resource assessment”, “target population”). To avoid confusion, translations should also be consistent. We recommend starting by translating the list of project stages and components, and to use these translations throughout. The glossary at the back of the EMCDDA Manual can also serve as a starting point to agree on key terminology, but remember that the meaning of the terms only becomes clear in the context of the standards.
  4. Avoid changes to the structure and contents of the EDPQS – certain changes (including rephrasing or adding standards) will only be appropriate if they are well justified, preserve the meaning of the EDPQS and support the overall aims and values of the EDPQS, reflect a group consensus, and are clearly marked and/or documented (e.g. in the introduction or a methodological appendix). Before you make any changes, please check EDPQS Toolkit 4 (Step 3, Section 3.4) for further guidance
  5. Acknowledge your sources – it must always be clear how the new document corresponds to and incorporates the original EDPQS source material. If the EDPQS have been used as a source document, they should be referenced using the appropriate citation. Translations of the EDPQS should include a statement that the original English text prevails in case of any doubt. Endorsement by the Prevention Standards Partnership of any derived products may not be stated or implied unless explicitly agreed with the Partnership. See also EDPQS Toolkit 4 (Step 3, Section 3.6)
  6. For any documents originally published by the EMCDDA, the EMCDDA Translation guidelines must also be observed
  7. Before publishing the outputs of your work, please send a copy of the final document to the Prevention Standards Partnership (info@prevention-standards.eu) and, in case of an original EMCDDA publication, also to the EMCDDA (languages@emcdda.europa.eu). We may be able to provide useful feedback and to include your documents on relevant online portals.

Further guidance:

Further guidance on translation and adaptation can be found in EDPQS Toolkit 4 (“Adaptation and Dissemination Toolkit”). The toolkit includes of the following documents:

  • Introduction & Key messages
  • Step 1: Deciding what to do
  • Step 2: Identifying potential barriers and facilitators
  • Step 3: Undertaking the adaptation
  • Step 4: Promoting quality standards
  • Example projects

The toolkit shares the real-life experiences of eight projects where the EDPQS were used to promote quality standards in drug prevention, offering you a unique opportunity to learn from those who have already worked with the EDQS. “Top tips” summarise their most important pieces of advice to you. In addition, the toolkit includes many practical exercises which will help you relate the contents and recommendations to your specific work.

To access Toolkit 4, please visit www.prevention-standards.eu/toolkit-4/


In case of any doubts or questions, please contact us. If you’re looking for (examples of) translated EDPQS materials, please visit the resources or the country pages.