Cross-cultural adaptation of the Intelligibility in Context Scale for South Africa

Michelle Pascoe, Sharynne McLeod

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
41 Downloads (Pure)


The Intelligibility in Context Scale (ICS) is a screening questionnaire that focuses on parents' perceptions of children's speech in different contexts. Originally developed in English, it has been translated into 60 languages and the validity and clinical utility of the scale has been documented in a range of countries. In South Africa, there are 11 official languages, yet few assessment materials are available in languages other than English. In this article we describe the cross-cultural adaptation of the ICS into a screening tool encompassing all South Africa's official languages in addition to English. Objectives were: (1) to describe the linguistic and conceptual equivalence of the 10 translated versions compared to the original ICS; and (2) to evaluate speech-language therapists' (SLT) perceptions of the usability and value of the ICS translations in the languages of South Africa. Twenty-five participants translated the ICS into 10 official languages of South Africa using forward and back translation and community checking. Next, a survey of 23 SLTs practicing in South Africa, and semi-structured interviews with five SLTs working in Cape Town, took place. The conceptual and linguistic equivalence of the adapted materials for each language was considered. Concepts that were challenging to translate from English into many of the Bantu languages included those relating to immediate/extended family, acquaintances, strangers and hearing/understanding. Linguistic challenges in translation related to dialectal differences and the use of pronouns. The SLTs in the sample found the ICS easy to use and saw it as a useful component of assessment especially when working with families who do not share a language with the SLT. Overall the study contributes to the development agenda of SLTs working in South Africa by creating and trialing the ICS in all the countries' official languages to improve access and quality of services offered to all the families they serve.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-343
Number of pages17
JournalChild Language Teaching and Therapy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016

Grant Number

  • FT0990588

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