• Rick White - Director of Client Services

Survey Translation Approaches: 3 Platforms

Updated: Sep 23, 2020

If this is your first time looking into market research translation, then you’re in luck! It’s very likely that your chosen survey platform already has a way to handle translation. Most platforms allow you to translate surveys and send language-specific links to respondents—if you already know their language preferences—and allow respondents to adjust the language via drop-down menus. There’s some variation in how each platform handles translations, but most platforms all fit into the same general translation process framework. Because we’ve already discussed Confirmit survey translations in another blog, we’re going to focus here on three other survey platforms: Qualtrics, FocusVision Decipher, and Survey Gizmo.

Qualtrics Market Research Translation

Qualtrics has the ability to handle translation directly within its platform. But doing so can come with a drawback: your translators won’t be able to apply Computer Assisted Translation (CAT) tools. It may also be difficult for your translators to use web-based translation tools if they’re located in regions of the world where internet connectivity isn’t as reliable as we’re used to here in the United States. The good news is that Qualtrics offers an export option. You can export your survey as either an Excel or XML file. Both of these file formats are great, because they’ll allow your translator to use CAT tools. (We personally prefer receiving XML so that we can use our proprietary XML-based technology to improve the translation process.)

The export from Qualtrics will include both the source English, and a place to insert the translation for each language. The Qualtrics export file includes a section with the source language and a corresponding section for the translation. After your survey has been translated, your translators will send you the survey. All you need to do then is import it back into Qualtrics’ translation interface, and your survey is ready to go.

FocusVision Decipher Market Research Translation

Decipher also allows you to add translations directly in the platform. Again, this makes it difficult to use CAT tools. Luckily, Decipher also has an export option. Once you add each of your languages to the survey, you will export an Excel file for each language. This Excel file contains columns for “Original” and “Translation,” each containing the original English text. Your translators overwrite the text in the “Translation” column and send back a bilingual Excel file for each language. Within the platform, you will separately upload the bilingual Excel file for each corresponding language.

Survey Gizmo Market Research Translation

Survey Gizmo has a nice feature that gives you another option: “Copy standard messaging for this language from an existing project.” This is a feature that Translation Memory can help with on the translation side, but being able to do this within the platform can speed along the process. If you’ve previously translated scales, error messages, instructions, or other elements, you can simply reuse them as long as the context hasn’t changed. Just like the other platforms, Survey Gizmo allows you to either translate within the platform, or export a file for translation.

For all of the reasons previously mentioned, we prefer to receive an export to get the most out of CAT tools. Survey Gizmo has detailed instructions to export and import for translation. Your export will be in CSV format, and you will receive a bilingual CSV file for each language back from your translation vendor.

Always Test!

Regardless of which platform you use, market research translation generally includes one last very important step: Online Translation Testing (OTT). Especially with any platform where you can add HTML within the questions, you’ll want to be sure that your formatting has been preserved in the translated version.