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Translation and cognitive testing of personal well-being questions into Sylheti and Urdu

Report on findings from the translation workshops and cognitive interviews

Published: April 2018

This report presents the findings of a NatCen pilot research project, commissioned by the Office for National Statistics (ONS), translating the harmonised personal well-being questions into the Sylheti and Urdu languages, and cognitively testing the translated questions with monolingual participants.


This project aimed to understand more about the linguistic and cultural relevance of four ONS personal well-being questions to people living in the UK who may have limited English:

  • Overall, how satisfied are you with your life nowadays?
  • Overall, to what extent do you feel the things you do in your life are worthwhile?
  • Overall, how happy did you feel yesterday?
  • Overall, how anxious did you feel yesterday?

The research also sought to establish methods for appropriate translation and understanding of cultural issues, which may shape responses and implications for use of the questions both in translation and in English.   

Read the report here.


Key findings

  • We established a final set of recommended translations, to be used when interviewing monolingual speakers of Urdu and Sylheti.
  • The project highlighted a range of issues for future researchers to consider in the cultural and linguistic interpretation of translated questions.



The full report gives insight into our methods; we've included our final resources here as well, in both Sylheti and Urdu.

Sylheti resources

Urdu resources