Your next research project is starting to take shape; the plan is to interview participants in several countries around the globe. Whether it comes up in discussion with your client, an internal stakeholder, or a thought you’re quietly contemplating yourself, the question arises: “Can’t we just field this in English?”
Suppose your research aims to support a marketing plan that resonates with consumers of different backgrounds. In that case, the answer should be a resounding “no!” (or nein, não, non, không) to moving forward with a global study lacking translation into the language of the target audience.
Consider the results from multi-country studies conducted by CSA Research and Gallup, which indicate a strong consumer preference for visiting websites and purchasing products in a consumer’s native language. It is not a stretch to venture that consumers might hold similar views on participating in a research project that lacks the necessary translation.
As budgets constrict and timelines shorten, it may be tempting to view translations as a “nice to have” item on your research agenda. Still, there are significant and meaningful advantages to multilingual research. Before you start your next global research project, here are 3 benefits to translating your research materials into the target language:
Improve Data Quality
Global market research is tied to high-stakes business decisions; skimping on translations can result in low-quality data and missed business opportunities. Think about the time and effort invested in crafting your initial research materials – don’t lose this professional touch on global projects! Translating your research can help mitigate potential misunderstandings by allowing research participants to read and respond to questions in their native language.
Richer, deeper insights rely on both the participant and the researcher communicating effectively. Even among participants who indicate a working grasp of English, differences in response may emerge when presented with the same set of questions in English versus a participant’s native language. Verbatim responses may suffer from a dubious interpretation of the question posed and a limited ability to respond in a 2nd language. An investment in the appropriate translation and localization nets higher data quality.
Expand Your Available Participant Pool
Whether you seek a low incidence target or a general population audience, the available sample pool dwindles significantly when the appropriate research translations are not available. Some sample providers may lack the necessary profiling required to target outside of their native language, or worse, might be unwilling to collaborate on your project entirely.
Market research lacking translation limits the available subset of research participants, often significantly, and can introduce bias. Can you confidently speak to market trends based on a skewed language base of a particular geography? A limited participant base may also impact your ability to achieve the necessary quotas to produce reliable insights.
Difficulty sourcing suppliers and reaching the appropriate audience may also impact your project fielding length, eating up valuable time. A smooth and efficient fielding process allows for time to craft actionable insights from the resulting data. With the various factors that come into play fielding a market research project, reaching the broadest swath of potentially qualified participants can help keep your project timeline on track.
Improve the Participant Experience
It is no secret that recruiting research participants can be a daunting task. The immediate outcome of a poor research experience may be a decreased conversion rate. The larger ripple effect can be felt across the full research ecosystem, limiting consumers’ trust and willingness to participate in further research projects.
It is the responsibility of researchers to consider their part in promoting a positive user experience. Reducing attrition is not merely the responsibility of panel companies, sample suppliers, and respondent recruitment agencies. All research professionals must work in lockstep to create a positive environment that promotes the value of participating in research.
How can we encourage participants to share their time, thoughts, and opinions? How can we treat participants respectfully and build trust to promote future participation? How can we encourage difficult-to-reach populations to engage with research? Providing the appropriate translations is just one way you can do your part to help improve the respondent experience, which helps ensure a sustainable future for all research efforts.
As the voice of the customer at the table, market researchers must give special consideration to the language and dialect of that voice. Linguistic accuracy and cultural nuance factor heavily into the quality of insights.
Consider translation as an integral part of your project from the very start. Partner with a trusted translation service provider to ensure your project plan includes the appropriate time and budget considerations. The translation is an investment that offers a significant ROI in terms of increased data quality, expanded reach, and improved study participation.