The Behavior Analyst

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 127–135 | Cite as

A General Methodology for the Translation of Behavioral Terms into Vernacular Languages

  • Javier Virues-OrtegaEmail author
  • Neil Martin
  • Gabriel Schnerch
  • Jesús Ángel Miguel García
  • Fae Mellichamp
Original Article


As the field of behavior analysis expands internationally, the need for comprehensive and systematic glossaries of behavioral terms in the vernacular languages of professionals and clients becomes crucial. We created a Spanish-language glossary of behavior-analytic terms by developing and employing a systematic set of decision-making rules for the inclusion of terms. We then submitted the preliminary translation to a multi-national advisory committee to evaluate the transnational acceptability of the glossary. This method led to a translated corpus of over 1200 behavioral terms. The end products of this work included the following: (a) a Spanish-language glossary of behavior analytic terms that are publicly available over the Internet through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and (b) a set of translation guidelines summarized here that may be useful for the development of glossaries of behavioral terms into other vernacular languages.


Behavior analysis Glossary Spanish Translation 



The authors are indebted to the members of the advisory board Dr. Tomás Jesús Carrasco Giménez (Spain), Dr. Maricel Cigales (USA), Dr. Carrie Dempsey (USA), Dr. Esteve Frexa i Baque (France), Dr. Maria Xesús Froján Parga (Spain), Dr. Oscar García Leal (Mexico and Spain), Dr. Aníbal Gutiérrez (USA), Dr. Rocío Hernández Pozo (Mexico), Dr. Camilo Hurtado-Parrado (Colombia), Dr. Sarah Lechago (USA and Argentina), Dr. Wilson López (Colombia), Dr. Rafael Moreno Rodríguez (Spain), Dr. Jose Navarro Guzmán (Spain), Dr. Celia Nogales González (Spain), Dr. Luis Valero Aguayo (Spain), and Dr. Alejandra Zaragoza Scherman (Mexico). Also, Dr. Brian Iwata answered terminological questions posed by the first author. This article does not constitute an official position of the BACB. Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Javier Virués-Ortega, School of Psychology, The University of Auckland, Tamaki Campus, Private Bag 92019, 261 Morrin Rd, Auckland 1072, New Zealand (E-mail:


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Copyright information

© Association for Behavior Analysis International 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Javier Virues-Ortega
    • 1
    • 6
    Email author
  • Neil Martin
    • 2
  • Gabriel Schnerch
    • 3
  • Jesús Ángel Miguel García
    • 4
  • Fae Mellichamp
    • 5
  1. 1.University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand
  2. 2.Antam Ltd.LondonUK
  3. 3.University of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  4. 4.Spanish Institute and St. Paul’s CollegeUniversity of ManitobaWinnipegCanada
  5. 5.Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.LittletonUSA
  6. 6.ABA EspañaChiclana de la FronteraSpain

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