Using XML for Market Research Survey Translation
Updated: Sep 24
Here at Language Intelligence, we work with many market research clients. We’re all too familiar with the usual challenges of survey translation—an error-prone overlay process, tight turnaround times, last minute updates . . . the list goes on. Usually, the common denominator that exacerbates these challenges is the practice of translating within a Microsoft Word document. In situations like this, someone will have to go through the survey, after the translation is complete, to copy and paste the translated version into the XML file. But this manual process can be error-prone, time-consuming, and costly.
The Old Way: Overlay
The manual copy-paste overlay process can lead to errors, a more time-consuming process, and therefore higher project costs. Questionnaires in Microsoft Word won’t typically contain all text needing translation (e.g. error messages). When these items are eventually identified in the XML file, an extra step to the translation process will need to be added, increasing time and cost even further.
The XML Way: No Overlay
You receive the translated version in XML, so all your programmers have to do is import it into the platform. This easy, automated process means that there is no chance of introducing errors during the overlay process. All items requiring translation, even hidden text, get translated the first time around.
The Old Way: Timing Issues
Tight timelines are always a challenge in survey translation. The copy-paste overlay process can be extremely time-consuming. By translating the survey while it’s being programmed, you might save some time on the front end. However, the copy-paste overlay step is likely to add that time right back on the back end.
The XML Way: Speedy Turnaround
When translating in an XML file, the copy-paste overlay process is once again eliminated. The translation you receive is ready to be imported into the platform and go to field!
The Old Way: Update Hassles
Updates from the client are a reality of most survey projects. When you translate in Word, identifying and translating these updates can add a great deal of extra time and cost to the process. Version control issues also become a concern.
The XML Way: Update to Your Heart’s Content
Language Intelligence realizes that updates are bound to happen. We’ve developed an in-house tool to address just this issue. If the file for translation is in a Confirmit XML format, for example, we can quickly identify exactly which sections of the file have changed and quickly send them out for translation. This process saves not only time, but money. Linguists won’t have to review the entire file to determine which sections require translation. As long as the question IDs and overall structure of the file match the original, we can ensure that the file being translated reflects the most up-to-date version of the survey. New questions can be added and old questions can be deleted.
The Old Way: Difficult Client Review
Clients often want to review the translation once it’s completed. When reviewing the translation in Word, we would hope that anyone reviewing the file would correctly use tracked changes. However, that’s not always the case, and version control may become a challenge. Without linguists able to easily approve client changes, there is a high probability of introducing errors into the translation. The Word document may also look slightly different than the final survey will appear online.
The XML Way: Happy Clients
Although our proprietary tool intellireview™ can handle other file types, XML is where it really shines. If your translation is in an XML format, the reviewer can review the survey in context and in its final format. Any embedded images or graphics will also pull into intellireview™ for client review. Using this tool, all changes will be tracked in one centralized version so that any edits can be reviewed by linguists for accuracy prior to implementation. Any client changes that introduce errors into the translation will be rejected and with comments from the linguist. Switching to XML for translation is easier than you think and the benefits are great. If you want to learn more about what we can do to help you with your survey project, check out our market research translation services page.