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National Cancer Institute

TUS-CPS Translations into Other Languages

In pursuing its mission to estimate patterns of tobacco use in the United States, NCI is concerned about the potential for underestimating tobacco use among certain populations and for misinterpreting aggregated survey estimates. For example, national surveys of tobacco use often show relatively low smoking prevalence for Asian Americans. Results from state and local surveys suggest that those national survey estimates may be too low. One possible explanation may be that many national tobacco surveys rely on English-language interviews to gather data from Asian Americans. Asian Americans with limited fluency in English are likely to be excluded from participating in these surveys.

To address these concerns, NCI has translated its 2003 Tobacco Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUS-CPS) 1 into Chinese, Khmer, Korean, and Vietnamese. These languages were chosen because they are spoken with the highest frequency among members of the U.S. Asian-American household population.

The survey also was translated into Spanish to accommodate those in the population who speak only Spanish or who prefer to take a survey in Spanish.

This process began with careful translation by teams of culturally and linguistically-expert bilingual translators. The Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Spanish translations were then subjected to a rigorous review and pretesting process that included cognitive interview testing, pretesting with an empirical pilot study of 347 respondents, respondent debriefing interviews, and behavior coding of selected items. The Khmer version is a recent addition to the list of languages the TUS-CPS has been translated into, and it has not yet undergone extensive review or testing.

1: The version that was translated is the 2003 Tobacco Use Special Cessation Supplement to the Current Population Survey (TUSCS-CPS), which is part of the continuing series of Tobacco Use Supplements to the Current Population Survey.