Market research questionnaires can already be a mine-field, even when they’re composed in a single language: who do you ask? How should the questions be phrased, and could they be considered leading? Will your findings be accurate? Are all possible responses accounted for in the multiple choice answers?
But when you need your survey to take into account speakers of another language, or even take a product or service across a number of different regions, these issues become ten times more challenging – just as with any other advertising or web content that represents your business to customers.
In an increasingly globalised, online world this challenge is more common than ever, even for small companies: market research is a rapidly growing business, across product development, consumer satisfaction surveys (CSAT), politics, news and current affairs. Depending on the complexity of the data you’re collecting, either machine translation or a human can be a cost-effective solution. However, low quality translation can result in data which is of limited use – or not usable at all – because of badly worded or misleading questions.
Research is also an effective communication method in its own right – if Facebook has taught us one thing, it’s that people can’t resist a survey.
However, it’s often surprising when working with very distant cultures that even basic concepts which marketers take as a given, simply don’t translate, and less care is often taken than with traditional advertising. And if you get it badly wrong, in the age of the internet, that error will likely stick around for some time, with broad, unpredictable reputational implications. So when you really need to seek global opinions, having an effective localization partner who can translate surveys and responses is absolutely essential.
Really good localization teams can not only help with picking the right questions, and unpacking potentially problematic phrasing or idioms, but also bring essential knowledge of target demographics, social groups, and cultural sensitivities. Supporting documents or images might also need the eye of a skilled translator.
At the end of the day, the benefits of using a good localization provider in your market research are twofold: not only will you avoid potential errors and pitfalls – we can help enhance the value of the data you collect, giving you more bang for your buck.