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Cicek Svensson

Cicek Svensson - web

Vicepresidente de Ventas y Marketing para EE.UU. y Canadá de Comms Multilingual. Anteriormente, Cicek trabajaba en una compañía europea de psicometría, por lo que cuenta con una amplia y sólida trayectoria en el sector.



Cicek Svensson Interview

by Antonio Pamos

1.- What does Comms Multilingual offer on regarding psychometric tools?

We are a language services company and we are highly specialized in the translation, localization, adaptation and validation of psychometric materials. In fact, more than 70% of our work is in the area of tests, exams and assessments. Our clients are market leaders from many different countries and we cover the full range of assessments for all age groups, from the clinical, neuropsychological and behavioral through to those covering aptitude, personality and cognition. We also cover exams and certifications in many different subject areas. Our wealth of experience in this area has enabled us to create specific process flows that are appropriate for this type of material in order to provide a successful outcome. Our processes are robust and they go beyond the ITC Guidelines on Test Translation and Adaptation.

2.- At your understanding, What steps must be considered to carry out a rigorous translation of a psychometric tool?

We adapt our process to each client’s/project’s needs, but as standard, the translation/adaptation of a psychometric tool would need the following main steps:

– Careful analysis of the source text to identify whether any cultural adaptation is required and to determine what process steps are required.

– Forward translation into the target language.

– Back translation from the target language into the source language.

– Thorough review of the Back translation.

– Review by SMEs.

– Finalization of the text according to the comments/preferences of the client’s SMEs.

Apart from this, we would always advise that a final check of the text should be carried out, once it is in its final format (whether that be online or typeset).

Any translated tools also need to be validated either by the client or us. We can offer both qualitative and quantitative validation services.

3.- Can you share with us the hardest assignment you have undertaken to adapt a tool to local culture?

We have done many very complex cultural adaptation projects, but the most difficult one was probably a clinical psychology test that we adapted and translated into many different languages. It was a test to assess the level of schizophrenia in patients and it involved several exercises that had been specifically created for a US target audience, including the following:

  • a money counting test
  • some everyday situations
  • an exercise where the respondent had to pay some bills
  • role plays etc.

All of the exercises included some situations that would not be applicable to many of the target countries, so we had to not only localize the cultural references, such as currencies, names of people and places, etc., but also redesign big parts of the test so it would be applicable to each country’s reality. Our localization and adaptation experts provided suggestions on how to adapt each exercise, as well as cultural information, and we adapted the wording together with our client before the text was translated.

4.- What are the latest trends on assessment? Gaming, Situational judgement, …?

We have been translating many ability tests (such as verbal and numerical reasoning tests), as well as an ever-increasing number of situational judgment tests in the last couple of years. We have also been doing quite a few clinical tests in several areas, including schizophrenia and quality of life. Many people are talking about gaming tests, but we have yet to see the demand there from our clients. However, we are sure that this will happen in the near future.

In terms of the translation side of things, end clients are becoming ever more knowledgeable about the translation and validation process and are expecting assessment companies to be able to prove that any translations have followed specific quality processes.

There is a growing gap between the ‘traditionalists’ in the business and the ‘early adopters of new practices’. We can see that the former still focus very strongly on traditional test formats and challenges (e.g. paper and pencil vs. computerized) while the latter try to identify people’s characteristics using games, apps and analyses of online behavior.

We see an ever-increasing number of new test formats such as video based SJTs, Webcam tests, Whiteboard testing, etc., which are definitely replacing the old paper and pencil versions.

The basic premise of testing (putting someone in an artificial situation and offering this person some stimuli in order to gather knowledge about this person and thus to be able to predict his/her behavior in a real life situation) is losing its ground. Nowadays, it is possible to directly observe and analyze a person’s real life online behavior. Theoretically, putting people in an artificial situation has become more obsolete.

5.- You have a global view of HR function, What are the main differences between European and American testing usage and legislation?

For European testing usage and legislation, our recommendation would be to follow the guidelines of the International Test Commission (ITC). At ITC’s website (, information can be found regarding Test Adaptation, Test Use, Computer-Based Testing, Quality Control, Test Security, Test Disposal, Test-Takers Guide as well as the ITC Statement on Using Tests for Research.

For American test usage and legislation, our recommendation would be to follow the American Psychological Association guidelines (APA). More information can be found at