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Survey Translation Services: Guide For SaaS Companies

Posted by Ethan N. on February 13, 2024.

Market research and customer feedback are crucial for any SaaS company looking to improve their products and better understand their users. However, many modern businesses operate on a global scale and their customer bases represent a diverse array of languages and cultures. This is where survey translation services become an invaluable tool for collecting localized insights.

In this article, GTE Localize will provide an overview of the important translation process and offer some best practices and considerations for SaaS companies looking to work with translation providers. 

1. What Is Survey Translation?

Survey translation is the process of converting a survey from one language to another while maintaining the original meaning, context, and intent. It involves more than just direct word-for-word translation, as certain linguistic structures, idioms, or cultural references may not directly carry over. 

Professional survey translators have an intimate understanding of both languages involved as well as the nuances of different cultures. They can translate surveys effectively while ensuring the translated versions are tailored for and will be clearly understood by native speakers.

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2. The Importance Of Survey Translation Services

2.1. Reaching a Global Audience

For SaaS companies targeting international markets, survey translation services are crucial for reaching a global audience. By using survey translation services to covey the languages spoken by their target customers, SaaS companies can gather valuable feedback and insights from a diverse user base.

2.2. Improving Response Rates and Data Quality

Conducting surveys in the language that respondents are most comfortable with can significantly improve response rates and data quality. When surveys are available in respondents’ native languages, they are more likely to engage with the survey and provide accurate and thoughtful responses.

2.3. Ensuring Cultural Sensitivity

Survey translation services play a vital role in ensuring cultural sensitivity. Different cultures have unique values, norms, and linguistic nuances that can impact survey responses. By working with professional survey translators who have cultural expertise, SaaS companies can ensure that their surveys are culturally appropriate and avoid any unintended biases or misunderstandings.

2.4. Enhancing User Experience

The user experience is improved overall when surveys are provided in the native tongues of the respondents. It demonstrates how much the SaaS provider appreciates and cherishes its global customer base. Increased client loyalty and satisfaction may follow from this.

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3. Common Challenges Of Survey Translation Services

3.1. Lack Of Equivalent Terminology

One of the significant challenges in survey translation is the lack of equivalent terminology between languages. Surveys often contain specialized terms and concepts that may not have direct translations in other languages. This can lead to confusion and misinterpretation of survey questions and responses.

To overcome it, survey translators should have a deep understanding of the subject matter and the specific terminology used in the survey. Collaboration between the survey researchers and translators can help ensure that the intended meaning of the survey questions is accurately conveyed in the translated version. Additionally, creating a glossary of terms and providing context for difficult concepts can aid in maintaining consistency and accuracy across translations.

3.2. Regional Dialects

Regional dialects pose another challenge in survey translation. Languages often have variations in vocabulary, grammar, and pronunciation across different regions. It is necessary to be aware of these regional differences and adapt the translations accordingly.

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Survey translation services should use native speakers or translators with subject-matter experience in particular areas to overcome this difficulty. They can offer insightful information on regional accents and cultural quirks, ensuring that the intended audience understands the survey questions. To find any possible problems with regional variances and make the required corrections, comprehensive language assessments and pilot testing are also essential.

3.3. Consistency

Maintaining consistency across translated surveys is crucial for data comparability and analysis. Inconsistencies in terminology, style, or formatting can lead to confusion and inaccuracies in the survey responses.

To ensure consistency, survey translation services should establish clear guidelines and standards for translators to follow. These guidelines should cover aspects such as terminology, tone, formatting, and translation style. Using translation memory tools or creating a centralized database of approved translations can also help maintain consistency across multiple surveys or survey iterations.

Moreover, regular quality checks, including proofreading and back-translation, can further ensure the accuracy and consistency of translated surveys. Feedback from survey respondents and researchers can also be valuable in identifying any issues or inconsistencies that may arise during the translation process.

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4. Professional Survey Translators Vs. Automated Tools

While automated translation tools have come a long way in recent years, there are still some tasks that require human nuance, care, and cultural understanding that machines have not yet mastered. Survey translation services are known as one such task that often demands a human touch. 

However, with budget and timeline pressures constant concerns for businesses, the appeal of speed and affordability that automated tools provide can be hard to resist. So how do professional human translators compare when put head to head with automation? Here is a deeper look.

  • Tone, Voice and Cultural Context

One specific area where human localisation experts can offer more nuanced translations is in conveying the appropriate tone and voice for different cultural contexts. Automated tools may struggle with translating implied meanings, colloquialisms, or sarcasm accurately. They also cannot account for regional variations in what is considered polite, professional, or sensitive in terms of subject matter and word choice.

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Professional translators are trained to understand these cultural nuances and how they differ between source and target languages/regions. They can help ensure the intended voice and level of formality come through in a way that is natural for that cultural context rather than feeling awkward or out of place. For sensitive topics like healthcare, politics or brand perception, these sociolinguistic factors are important for obtaining accurate, unbiased data.

  • Quality Assurance and Post-Editing

While machine translation is getting more adept, it still produces draft translations that require human review and modification. For mission-critical tasks like international surveys, errors or inaccuracies are unacceptable. With automated tools alone, businesses would need large QA teams to validate translations, which is time-consuming and expensive. Professional translation services mitigate this need through rigorous quality control processes. 

Experienced translators and editors proofread each other’s work to catch any issues. Terminology databases and translation memory tools are also leveraged to ensure consistency. As a result, the human-translated content requires little to no post-editing, saving valuable time and resources. For surveys especially, launching identical versions simultaneously across all target languages is important for fair, apples-to-apples market research results.

In short

In today’s global business environment, the ability to conduct multilingual surveys is invaluable for gaining valuable customer insights and growing an international customer base. However, attempting translations without expert help risks compromising data quality and turning respondents away. 

By relying on certified survey translation services from GTE Localize, a professional translation agency, companies can confidently expand the reach of their surveys worldwide while maintaining the utmost quality and integrity of results. It is a strategic investment that pays off in the form of richer global market research.

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