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  • Writer's pictureVicky Nothnagle - DTP Services Manager

A Guide to Translating Qualtrics Market Research Surveys

In an increasingly interconnected global marketplace, understanding the nuances of diverse consumer bases is crucial for businesses seeking to expand their reach. One effective way to achieve this is by translating market research surveys into foreign languages. Qualtrics, a widely-used survey platform, offers a seamless process for this endeavor. In this blog post, we'll walk you through the essential steps to ensure accurate and culturally sensitive translations that resonate with your target audience.

Step 1: Survey Planning and Design

Before diving into the translation process, it's essential to plan and design your survey with a global audience in mind. Consider cultural differences, language nuances, and regional preferences to create a survey that is inclusive and relevant across various demographics. At the very least, you should consider localizing your screener and demographic questions to be accurate for each country you’re targeting. This will assure a higher level of completes and more accurate data. If you’re handling the survey translation internally your in-country teams should be able to give you guidance around localizing this content, otherwise you can rely on your translation services provider to handle this important detail.

Beyond localizing demos and screeners it may be important to localize individual questions, depending on your target audience and locale. Cultural differences in certain countries can require you to rephrase the way a question is asked, or even eliminate certain questions, to make sure your data is not misleading or inaccurate as a result. A professional market research survey service will offer this guidance (often at no extra charge) prior to the translation step. This is usually called “Localization Consulting” or “Source Review”.

Step 2: Exporting the Survey

Once your survey is ready, log in to your Qualtrics account and navigate to the survey you wish to translate. Click on the "Survey" tab and then select "Translations." From there, choose the source language of your survey and click "Export Translations" to download the translation file.

Working outside of Qualtrics for the translation workflow is an advantage because it allows you to leverage translation technology such as AI, Translation Memory, and Translation Glossaries. These are all important tools that translators use to improve productivity, and provide time and cost savings. Since Qualtrics is not a translation platform the internal translation environment is not designed to leverage these technologies. Particularly with the advancement of AI in the Market Research Translation process, it’s becoming more and more critical to leverage these technologies in order to retain competitive pricing for translation. Read more about this in Step 3.

Step 3: Translation

You have a few options for translating your survey: internal translation teams, translation software, professional translation services.

a) Internal Translation Teams:

  • As mentioned above, if you’re using internal resources for translation you’ll want to make sure you’re leveraging translation technology to improve accuracy and reduce cost and timing. Tools like translation memory, AI like Google NMT, translation glossaries, and translation style guides, are all critical assets for your internal team to take advantage of.

  • Adopt a quality standard that will work for your team and provide measurable metrics for assessing your translation output. For example, many translation companies rely on the ISO standard to guide their quality management.

  • If you don’t have internal coverage for all of the languages you’re translating into it’s always an option to employ individual professional linguists or team up with a Multi-Language Vendor (MLV) to handle overflow and non-standard languages.

b) Translation Software:

  • Utilize machine translation tools like Google Translate or Microsoft Translator for a quick and cost-effective solution. This is often acceptable for jisting, or when in combination with a human editor, but make sure you proceed with caution and never use the raw output directly.

  • Carefully review and edit the machine-generated translations to ensure accuracy and cultural appropriateness.

  • This option is suitable for straightforward surveys and open-ends, but may require more manual input for complex language structures.

c) Professional Translation Services:

  • Hire a professional translation service or a freelance translator with expertise in market research and the specific industry.

  • Ensure the translation company you work with has a formal quality management process.

  • Professional translation services may provide a higher level of accuracy and cultural sensitivity, especially for complex or industry-specific content. This is particularly important when translating life science / healthcare related surveys, or survey with complex terminology.

Step 4: Translating in Qualtrics

If you do work outside of Qualtrics for translation, you can import the translated file back into Qualtrics. Navigate to the "Translations" tab, select the source language, and click "Import Translations." Upload the translated file, and Qualtrics will automatically populate the survey with the translated content. This is the easiest way to implement your translations back into the platform. We suggest an “Online Validation” step following the import which would involve a speaker of the language taking the survey as if they were a respondent and making sure that functionality is intact and everything is linguistically sound (now that they can see it in context).

Step 5: Quality Assurance

Regardless of the translation method chosen, conduct thorough quality assurance to ensure the accuracy and coherence of the translated survey. This includes the Online Validation step mentioned above, and on-going QA steps such as Translation Memory Management, Translation Terminology Management, and even training your AI tool to improve future translations.


Translating Qualtrics market research surveys into foreign languages is a pivotal step toward a more inclusive and comprehensive understanding of diverse consumer markets. By following these steps and carefully considering linguistic and cultural aspects, businesses can gather valuable insights that transcend borders and contribute to informed decision-making in a globalized world.

If you would like more detail about the process, or how you may be able to better leverage technology to improve your current process, contact us today.


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