All About Website Usability Blog – Holly Phillips

Summary of “It’s Greek to Me: Best Practices for Multi-Lingual Surveys”
October 30, 2009, 4:01 am
Filed under: usability basics, usability testing

Just attended a webinar by Vovici about multi-lingual surveys.  Most of it was common stuff (translate to get higher response rates, better data quality; schedule enough time for professional translations; back-translate for quality checks; remember holiday schedules, etc.) 

But there were a few interesting points:

  • Graphics and icons may be inappropriate or confusing for specific cultures
  • Some scales exaggerate cultural issues – likert scales can be particularly difficult.  Safe choices are constant sum, MaxDiff (most important / least important)
  • Remember to factor in the cost of translation for the invitation, reminders, and any fulfillment messaging if the survey is translated
  • Translators should have excellent understanding of English, the target culture, the industry, and survey research (do NOT in-source the translation or use basic translators without knowledge of surveys)
  • Brief the translators ahead-of-time on the intent of the survey
  • For the translators, create a glossary with the English terms and the traget language  terms for consistency
  • Don’t put survey deadline on Friday since that may be Saturday in some regions

Good beginner’s guide to multi-language surveys, but sure wish they would have addressed some of the really tough issues like  finding good sample sources in under-developed countries or differences in cultural expectations / legal restrictions for online surveys.


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