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Consortium for Service Innovation

Translation Kit

This guide is meant to help you work through all the tasks that come with translating the KCS Library into a different language.  Generously shared by Tamara Amlung, who translated nearly all of the KCS content into German.

This guide is meant to help you work through all the tasks that come with translating the KCS Library into a different language.

It starts with the considerations you should make, before starting the endeavor. They will help you stay on track with all the minor decisions you have to make on the way.  

Then it walks you through the prep work and the different documents.

There is an extra section to allow you to validate any exam translations you might attempt. Throughout there are documents linked that you can reference.

Rules of Translation

What is a translation and what is a derivative work?

  • Take as few liberties as possible
  • Aim for formal correspondence
  • Stay consistent with your naming convention.

Formal correspondence is a term from linguistics and describes that a translation not only corresponds on the level of meaning but also on the level of structure. Depending on the language and structure, a 100% formal match is not always possible. Try to keep deviations as small as possible.

Correspondence Issues: Word Meaning

  • Develop a glossary with someone from the Consortium staff. Use this list as a base for discussion.

Correspondence Issues: Structural

These are possible considerations. The list is not conclusive.

  • Exchange structure for a similar structure in the target language
  • Replace noun-chains with genitive constructions
  • Consider different attribute structures
  • Switch sentence halves, if that makes it clearer
  • Maintain phrases while adjusting their position in sentence order
  • Ideas for particle based languages needed
  • For casus-based languages: consider utilizing cases to clear out sentences

Tips for Translation

Consistent conventions

  • Stick with fixed terms for official terms
  • Makes studying easier on the student
  • Try matching rhymes or abbreviations where possible
  • Settle the conventions largely before you translate
  • Mark terms you’re unsure about early – if you find a replacement later, you can find them more easily

Long timeline and little chunks

  • You have no deadline
  • Small steps make the work more doable
  • 1 chapter per day is sufficient to solve
  • Don’t take too long breaks – having the terms vivid in your mind makes writing easier
  • Look up words – but compare at least 3 suggestions to match the tone

Google Translate

  • Won’t be consistent with fixed terms
  • Based on back translation: formal correspondence is okay, but not brilliant
  • You still have to correct it sentence by sentence
  • Doesn’t help with graphics or formatting

On Graphics


  • Not all tables copy into writing software nicely
  • Tough to match with standard paper
  • Best adjusted by hand


  • Almost all SmartArt (Microsoft) based: you can recreate them
  • Microsoft Word shapes are a good base for the rest
    • Use the “group”-feature to secure your self-created graphics and copy them
  • Must recreate most, because the graphics don’t copy from the guides in an editable format

Publishing Formats

There’s 2 ways we’ve published translations so far:


  • Writing and layout in Word or similar program
  • Lets you use your own formatting/corporate design
  • Easy to upload
  • Not interactive
  • Printable
  • Hard to edit



  • Interactive
  • You get a copy and write in/paste in the translation
  • Needs to fix the links in the text
  • Hosted by Consortium
  • Easier to edit single parts
  • No influence on design

Recommended Order of Translation

If you don’t want to translate everything at once, here is an order that lets you build the library slowly and that grows with your clients.


  1. KCS Principles & Core Concepts
  2. KCS v6 Practices Guide


  • Both are necessary to pass the fundamentals exam
  • Principles is short and very forgiving to translate
  • Practices is at the heart of it.
  • Practices is your most important translation


  1. KCS v6 Practices Appendices (if skipped)
  2. Adoption and Transformation Guide
  3. Measurement Matters v6


  • Necessary to pass the KCS v6 Practices exam
  • Covers everything to be done in Phases 1 &2


  1. Success by Channel
  2. Knowledge Domain Analysis Guide
  3. Leadership in an Adaptive Organization
  4. Field Guide for KCS Program Management (accessible to Consortium Members only)


  • Valuable additional resources
  • Not exam relevant
  • Usually used in later phases of adoption


KCS v6 Fundamentals before KCS v6 Practices; Intelligent Swarming Fundamentals


  • Exams need to be translated even more dutifully
  • Prepare to validate your exam
  • For Exam translations, contact the Consortium


  1. Receive original Questions
  2. Translate questions
  3. Back-translate and validate linguistic side
  4. Fill in Exam Question sheet:
    1. Translated questions
    2. Translate categories
  5. Send exam sheet back to Consortium to be uploaded in eTrain
  6. Wait for confirmation
  7. Possibly validate diagnostic side (see Validation for instructions)


KCS v6 Fundamentals Online Course >> Managing in a Digital Economy, Digital Transformation Fundamentals; Intelligent Swarming Fundamentals
Instructions are being generated.


We are starting to upload finished translations into the MindTouch to offer them as interactive documents.

  1. Get a copy of the original document in the MindTouch (set to private, get editing rights)
  2. Copy section by section
    1. This applies to within each page, too. You can more easily keep the formatting equal this way.
  3. Remember to replace all the links with connections to the right documents.

Translation directly in the MindTouch can work, too. Contact the Consortium for more information and to get sections copied for your use.


Refers to: proving that your work is good and up to standard.

  1. Validate the quality of your translation -> Backtranslation
  2. Prove that the test works as well in your language as in English (diagnostic value proof)


  • Used a lot in machine translation training and validation
  • High focus on formal correspondence


  1. Translate Exam into target language
  2. Give translation to a second translator, fluent in English and the target language
  3. Have second translator translate your version back into English
    1. Tell them about the “formal correspondence” requirement
    2. Share your glossary terms
  4. Compare both English versions
    1. Mark any and all differences
    2. Use at least 2 markers (like different colors) for: synonymous in meaning vs (slight) difference in meaning. Ex.: walk vs go -> synonymous; walk vs run -> difference in meaning
  5. Review differences together: how did the difference come to be?
  6. Adjust translation wherever the interpretation lead to a difference in the back translation
  7. Repeat if necessary/ no agreement is possible

Goal: no differences in meaning anywhere, some synonymous differences. When in doubt – be nitpicky!

Data Gathering

How to sample data for validation of diagnostic value:

  1. Contact the Consortium for a Pilot:
    1. Transfer translation into the official exam sheet
    2. Wait for exam sheet upload
    3. Test Run
  2. Find sample group (recommended: more than 30)
    1. Negotiate conditions for participation
    2. Be clear on ground rules (exam completion time, inclusion- or exclusion criteria)
  3. Sign up sample group
    1. Ask Consortium staff for rights and intro to signing people up
  4. Log into eTrain
  5. Go to “My Reports”
  6. Scroll down to “Courses taken by users”
  7. Choose participant
    1. Codify users you have already analyzed to avoid doubles
  8. Click number of course you are analyzing
  9. Click exam details
  10. Copy answers into “Data”-Excel-Sheet
  11. Repeat until all participants are transferred into the Excel-Sheet

See first Sheet in Excel-File for instructions on how to transfer your data.

Notes on Sample Groups

How big does the sample size need to be?

If you want to know the most economical sample size, you can use G-Power to calculate that.

  1. G-Power is a free program you can download. Install and open.
  2. Use the following settings:

Tails: Two
For the next 3 Fields, you have to make some decisions.
Effect Size: How big of a difference between the versions can I tolerate?
    Only small effects are tolerable -> 0.1
    A medium difference is acceptable -> 0.3
    As long as it’s no big difference, it’s okay -> 0.5
α-Error: How sure do you want to be of your results?
    99% sure -> 0.01
    90% sure -> 0.1
    80% sure -> 0.2
Power:  How sure do I want to be that my finds aren’t a fluke?
    95% sure -> 0.95
    90% sure -> 0.9
    80% sure -> 0.8

3. Press “calculate”
4. Check the number under “total sample size.”That is the number of test takers you need to recruit.

You can “tweak” the numbers you chose until your available sample size is enough. Do note the values you input and report them, so we know the error margins you accounted for.

Pre-set teams and Quasi-Experimental data

Unless you have enough individuals to fill your sample size, you will likely cooperate with a company or a pre-set team.  That is a quasi-experiment by default.

Meaning: Other performance factors will be at play, that don’t randomize out.

Solution: Note every factor that you believe might influence the collective performance of your sample group. You can add a column in the data sheet to keep track of those factors.

Known Factors that influence exam performance:

  • Course type (Online vs Workshop; ~5% difference)
  • Course language (native vs. secondary language; ~11% difference)
  • Time of test taking

Inference from Data

You cannot refer anything from this data besides the diagnostic value of the translation in comparison to the original.

Further insights will likely require inferential statistics and multivariate analysis.


The t-Tests shows us, if our results show a significant difference between the test group and the control group. You find the values in the data sheet under “Reference Data"
Option 1: You find the t-Value in the data sheet at the top of the page.
Option 2:

  • Download Jamovi (statistics software)
  • Upload a .csv file of your data sheet with your data AND the reference data
    • Remember to give your test group a name under the “Group” column
    • Click the 3 lines
    • Special Import -> select your .csv
    • In “Data” tab, go to configure
    • Set Exam score scale to continuous (ruler-symbol)
  • Go to “Analysis”-Tab
  • Select t-Test
  •  “for unpaired samples”
  • Dependent Variable: Exam Score
  • Grouping Variable: Group

If p > 0.2, the groups are too different -> either the translation is too different or other factors apply.


In Jamovi as well, use Option 2 from t-Test for instructions on how to upload data.

  • Go to “Analysis”-Tab
  • “Factor”
  • “Reliability Analysis”
  • Add ALL single items (1-23)
    • If the program notes that a certain item is causing issues (usually no variance), you can exclude that item. Please note all excluded items and send the note with your results.

A number around 0.4 is close to the original.

Reference Values
N = 47
Passed = 97.9%
Average Score = 85.1
Standard Deviation Score = 9.02
Variance = 81.3
Cronbach’s α (Reliability/ internal consistency)* = 0.424

Screen Shot 2023-04-19 at 5.15.45 PM.png

*excluding Item No. 3, due to lack of variance in sample data

Who can help?

If you find yourself struggling with any of the steps above, the software or similar, contact Tamara Amlung.

For questions regarding getting started on a translation glossary, MindTouch access, exam translations, eTrain access and expectations of effect sizes and significance testing, contact

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