Multilingual Surveys: Increase Effective Feedback on a Global Scale

Surveys are a powerful tool that communicate useful data and unlock valuable insights for organizations both big and small. They can help business leaders learn about the thoughts, needs, and desires of customers and employees – which allows them to guide their business in the right direction.

With the popularity of online surveys, it is easier than ever to reach your audience and collect more information. However, just because you can distribute your survey as-is across the globe, doesn’t mean that you should. Translation is an important, but often forgotten step in the global survey process that gives you the ability to harvest the most accurate and authentic data.

Let’s take a look at what makes surveys such a powerful tool, and what survey translation can mean for your organization.

The Power of Surveys

We’ve all been asked to take a survey at one point or another in our lives, but what exactly is their role in the business world and how do they help companies grow?

Customer Surveys

You may think that the age of high-tech analytics has decreased the need for customer surveys, but in reality, surveying is just as beneficial as it ever has been. Customer questionnaires can reveal:

  • Performance of customer-facing units: Measure customer satisfaction in settings such as retail locations and with customer service teams.
  • Inefficiencies and issues in processes and delivery: Customer input on delivery experience can be used to improve the shipping process, packaging, and more.
  • Potential product improvements: Product surveys show what customers like and don’t like about the products or services they purchased.
  • Consumer demographics: Surveys aren’t developed solely to learn about the customer experience post-purchase. They can actually be utilized to gather important consumer data that will inform your marketing team so that they can formulate a strategy prior to selling a product.
  • Demand for products that haven’t gone to market yet: Have a product idea? Get a pulse on the demand before manufacturing even begins.

Surveys reveal how consumers think, rather than simply how they act. These insights on behavior, values, and satisfaction give companies the ability to improve and fine-tune products, services, and marketing tactics.

Workplace Surveys

According to the National Business Research Institute (NBRI), “the importance of the annual employee survey cannot be overstated.” Surveys issued internally can be used to gauge feedback on a number of things such as:

  • Employee engagement: These surveys reveal the level of employee dedication – both to their job and to the company – and focus on elements like accountability, communication, and workplace relationships.
  • Employee satisfaction: Satisfaction surveys tell employers how happy their workforce is, what sorts of issues they face, and what opinions about the company they hold.
  • Culture and climate: These help companies understand the feelings, perceptions, and opinions regarding the culture and work environment.
  • Exit surveys: When employees leave, exit surveys give Human Resource departments an idea of why that person is leaving, and how they can prevent future turnover.

All of these types of workplace surveys are usually conducted with one goal in mind: collect data so that weak points can be identified. The data allows company leadership to improve policies and practices in order to create a better work environment yielding greater employee satisfaction, higher retention rates, and boosted productivity.

The NBRI summed up the need for surveys across the board with the following statement: “No executive wants to run an organization without a firm grasp on the two most important human factors controlling their destiny: the thinking of their employees, and the thinking of their customers.”

Survey Translation

It’s easy to see why surveys are an indispensable tool enabling businesses to thrive, but there’s another element that will boost the impact of your polls and questionnaires: survey translation.

Why Survey Translation Is Important

If your company operates on an international scale, making your surveys available in multiple languages provides you with even more data. Survey translation is a critical tool that allows your marketing researchers and managers to effectively include non-English speakers in the coverage and data provided by your survey.

Translation also demonstrates an appreciation and respect for the needs and opinions of a diverse group, which goes a long way with customers and employees.

From a customer survey standpoint, this data can be segmented to pinpoint unique product development and marketing opportunities based on location demographics. With internal surveys, you may discover specific issues or roadblocks that non-native speakers may face in the workplace that aren’t apparent with native speakers of a single language.

How It Works

When initially created, the wording and syntax of survey questions are carefully crafted. The same care must be taken when translating. Failure to properly translate surveys can result in the respondents not understanding the questions, causing skewed and inaccurate results.

With surveys, simple word for word translations oftentimes aren’t sufficient to accurately convey the meaning and intent behind the questions. Cultural differences must also be considered when localizing survey content to meet audience needs.

Once the original source-language survey has been developed and finalized, a translator translates and reviews the document to identify any difficult words, phrases, and concepts in the target language. Because they are translated by native-speakers and subject-matter experts, new surveys will flawlessly read as if they were originally written in the target languages. Cultural nuances, specific audience demographics, and ease-of-use for the target audience will all be taken into consideration.

After painstaking translation, editing, and proofreading, the last step in the survey translation process is Quality Assurance. Here, the translation team compares the target-language survey to the original to ensure that each question’s intent has remained the same. When the final product is delivered to the client, it is ready to be immediately shared with audiences.

The Results

Now that you’ve successfully distributed your survey in multiple languages to employees and customers, it’s time to get some results. If your survey included open-ended questions, it may be difficult to understand the responses. A survey, no matter the language, doesn’t do your company much good if you can’t properly analyze the data you receive.

A professional translation company will help make sure that you can clearly interpret the results and responses of surveys. This is just one of the ways that translation services can be catered to your project’s exact needs.

In Conclusion

Surveys are extremely useful tools that can reveal even more information if translated into the languages of your intended audiences. Whether you’re a company selling globally and searching for customer insights, or a business surveying your international workforce, accurate translation is critical in order to obtain reliable results. With the help of a professional translation agency, your surveys will have a global reach, and be able to effectively take the pulse of your intended audiences.