5 challenges when conducting multilingual quantitative research

Customer reviews and opinions are a key part of customer service for many organisations. Because of this – Market Research techniques, such as questionnaires and surveys – are becoming more and more important. Have you ever thought about the difficulties and challenges when trying to conduct multilingual quantitative research though? We have…globe connecting computer mouse

  1. Reaching people overseas

The physical location of your respondents will obviously be the first issue you may face. If you’re a UK company, trying to conduct research with respondents in Japan for example, how do you go about this? Yes you can send them an online survey, but if the questions are in English, how can you guarantee they’ll be fully understood? In many circumstances it’s better to conduct research either face-to-face or over the phone, so that questions can be fully explained and expressed in the right tone of voice. Telephone interpreting services can be the best approach here, as linguists who are specialists in market research (MR) techniques, and native speakers of the language in question, can guide your respondents through the process in their own language.

  1. Confusing or leading questions

I’m sure you’ve attempted to answer a survey question before, and thought, hang on a minute; I can’t really answer that in the way I really want to? Questionnaires can be confusing, and professional MR companies spend a lot of time and effort ensuring questions are not misleading or one-sided. This is one of the difficulties when translating survey questions, as the tone and style of the question has to be considered in multiple languages. If you are working in partnership with a Language Service Provider on this, it’s essential that a full in-depth discussion is carried out prior to translation to ensure each question is of a particular style and tone.

The tone and style of the question has to be considered in multiple languages.

  1. Cross-cultural differences in survey responses

International market researchers surveying respondents from more than one cultural background have to be aware of the potential source of misinterpretation caused by cross-cultural differences. If we compare Australian and Asian respondents for example, the latter are more likely to exhibit a mild response style leading to less extreme points. This could impact on the way questionnaires are formulated for different countries, as not all surveys are suitable for all audiences.

It’s essential that questionnaires are not only translated, but linguistically and culturally localised for the audience in question.

  1. The need for speed

More often than not, organisations conduct surveys to gather the views of their respondents in advance of company developments, changes or new product launches. Because of this, time is of the essence, and data needs to be gathered and analysed quickly. This puts pressure on translation companies to deliver both the translated survey, as well as the translated responses in a timely manner, so as not to hold up and organisational advances.cloud padlock

  1. Concerns over data security

When gathering the likes of customer feedback, I’m sure you don’t want your competitors or the general public getting their hands on the survey results before you do? There is always a concern when outsourcing language services that files and sensitive data may be passed from pillar to post during the translation process, so it’s essential to do everything possible to keep this data safe and secure across the entire supply chain. Make sure your Language Service Provider is using secure Translation Management Systems to handle this process.

If you need any further assistance or advice when conducting multilingual quantitative research overseas, then please do not hesitate to contact us using the enquiry form below.

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