We were at MarketingWeek Live! on Tuesday and Wednesday this week, occupying a stand in the Insight section of the show.
Market Research is an interesting sector for us with an increasing demand for translations of screeners, questionnaires, verbatims and web content.
Our largest Market Research client is a global company headquartered in France. They have 125 individual accounts with us in France alone, and we have been working with them in Asia and other countries in Europe.
If you would like more information on this please see our website page about professional language translation services for the market research sector.
As with translations for any industry there are some important details, and working practices to understand, so I thought I’d note down here the things that we know:
Turnarounds are Key
This is usually the biggest concern of our clients. Their clients want real-time information, quickly, in order to make key decisions. All the points below are aimed at doing a great job in the best possible, most efficient turnaround times…
We say it time and again, for all industries, but this is vital. It’s not enough to work with a translator who is native in the target language and is qualified in translation. They need to know the specific industry, and they need to be briefed well. So that the right translators are in place in time for the tight turnarounds required for Market Research Translations, it’s important that clients can give their translation agency a heads up in good time. A quick call to say “we are going to have some questionnaires for a health and beauty client in two weeks that will need to be translated into French, Italian, German, Russian and Simplified Chinese” can save a lot of time and stress later on.
Don’t direct your respondents
Our clients put a lot of effort into phrasing questions and multiple choice answers just right, so that the respondent isn’t subtly drawn to any particular answer. It would be a shame to lose all of that in translation, which is why we carefully brief our translation teams to be conscious of this and keep things neutral.
The files we are sent for translation vary according to the way the client works. Often we are sent text files that are output from the software packages used to create the content. These include directions for coding – to guide the user through the questions in the right way. For instance, “if the respondent answers question 1 with option B, they should go straight to question 6”.
Obviously the coding doesn’t need to be translated, so again it’s vital that the translators are briefed correctly and familiar with this kind of work. We have some clever filtering tools that we can use to quickly exclude the coding from word counts and translate-able content, so that we only charge for what needs to be done, and remove the possibility of messing up any of the coding. The filter adds the coding back in to the document before return to the client.
Popular software packages for translating Market Research content are ConfirmIt, various SPSS packages (recently bought by IBM), and quite a multitude of others. Often clients have to do tedious copy, paste tasks to get the text out of these packages and into MS Word or some other more common format, to make translation easier. The translated texts then have to be copy, pasted back into the software packages after translation, even more tedious when you consider the text has often been translated into 15 languages or more.
There are ways around this, to avoid the copy, paste tasks. XML is an option in some tools – you can export to XML and import from XML. Most modern translation agencies can handle XML well and with few issues these days. Another option for agencies is to use a third party conversion tools like 2x4SmartTranslate. This tool allows you to input ConfirmIt, SPSS or IBM questionnaires in their native format, export an MS Word file of translate-able text, translate that using translation memory tools (see below), and then re-import the MS Word file before exporting back to the native format. There is a cost involved in using the conversion software, but some clients see that as a worthwhile investment, to outsource demoralising work and speed up the whole process.
This is really useful for Market Research translations. The number of fuzzy matches tends to be high because of the nature of the questions, so really significant savings on cost and time can be gained. Add to this the ability of Translation Memory tools to safely filter out the translate-able text from coding, and it becomes extremely useful in doing an efficient job.
If you would like any more information please don’t hesitate to get in touch.