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4 ways translation can deliver international research success

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in Market Research

The nature of the workplace has, over the years, become more international in scope, reflecting the changing dynamics of an ever-globalised and interconnected world. In turn, this has fundamentally changed the way many organisations and their diverse workforces operate.

This is especially true of market researchers, who are increasingly engaged in multi-country research projects. More and more they are being tasked with producing studies that deliver greater insight into how clients work at an international level, as well as providing stakeholders all over the world with access to richer and more collaborative studies.

Securing such projects, however, is more competitive than it has ever been – bids need to be distinct and show authority. Translation is a key feature of this and in this article we take a look at how demonstrating knowledge of this asset – as delivered by a language service provider – can increase competitive advantage.

Here are four key things to note:

1. A great project brief sets the scene

A high-quality brief ensures that new stakeholders are brought into a project with full knowledge of what is required of them to effectively meet the expectations of their deliverables (in a speedy, accurate and cost-effective way).

Crucial details that need to be outlined to your translation provider include the languages that are needed, the length of the survey (in words or minutes), when the master survey will be ready and delivery deadlines at every stage of the project.

Additionally, if you’re going to be carrying out surveys in numerous countries, it is important that you identify the native languages of the respondents in the sample and their specific dialects. For example, there are notable distinctions between the German language in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

2. Technology amplifies the workflow process

Informing your translation provider of the software you use to carry out surveys helps your agency better advise you on how to best coordinate the translation workflow. For instance, most survey scripting software now supports XML – exporting and importing this way reduces the labour-intensive activity of copying and pasting into Word and then overlaying back into the software.

It is also worth drawing attention to how leveraging translation memory can produce fantastic efficiencies. This tool automatically matches sections of similar or identical text from past projects for use in the future. A translator then simply accepts the match or lightly edits it.

As memory is added to over time, savings can grow to anything up to 75 per cent of the total time and cost of translating everything from scratch. Moreover, you are not charged for the same translation twice.

While you may have worked with multiple language service providers in the past, it is always advisable to focus on one agency – especially when it comes to translation memory. Most can aggregate past translations from multiple providers – simply get these organisations to send you a TMX file (an interchangeable file format) of the work. If not, past translations can still be effectively used and aligned into a compatible structure.

3. Centralising and automating key tasks makes collaboration easier

Forward-planning allows you to develop a thorough overview of your project. It’s advantageous to use a centralised editing platform, as this provides all stakeholders the opportunity to review, amend and collaborate on the master document. It’s ultimately a faster and more effective way of working.

For example, it is often the case that time is lost using decentralised working methods, such as converting and transferring files into more “user-friendly formats”, when it comes to carrying out reviews.

Likewise, with late changes or updates to a master survey being commonplace in research, such outdated approaches are not conducive to quick turnarounds. A leaner, more automated process, however, offers a far superior experience. As a case in point, some translation providers have tools that can identify changes to a source survey, meaning you don’t have to.

Automating coordination ties into this – you can, for example, streamline communication between all parties through the integration of systems via APIs, thereby reducing manual file transfer processes.

And, with industry analysts estimating that between 30 to 50 per cent of all time on international research projects is being spent on coordinating related tasks between the various parts of the supply chain, this can result in sizeable gains.

4. Invest in your translation provider for strategic excellence

Working in a strategic way with your translation provider will go a long way towards enhancing the quality of your work and, in turn, strengthen your research bids. After all, a mutually-beneficial approach to projects actively encourages both parties to do more.

Consequently, the most productive of partnerships align systems, processes and cultural values to ensure efficiency and seamless sharing of knowledge or expertise. From your point of view, this investment can deliver a wealth of best practice advice and know-how to help you do translation markedly better than your competitors.

To set your translation partnership up for success, be transparent about the way you work and create open communication channels for regular sharing of feedback. Agreeing a method for evaluating your provider’s performance and setting expectations also helps establish a consistent baseline for their delivery standards.


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