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Why translation is essential to international market research

in Market Research

More organisations than ever before are either looking to expand their reach beyond domestic audiences or have already evolved their operations to be more international in scope, appreciative of the fact that there are plenty of opportunities to be seized throughout the world.

As the 21st century continues to unfold, this trend in the number of enterprises going global will gain traction, with advances in technology making it easier to work with and engage all stakeholders at the most optimum time and location, either virtually or in person.

Moreover, enthusiasm for operating across multiple markets will be even greater, again because of the obvious benefits that come with expanding your organisation’s reach (more revenue streams, access to new talent and better insight). Going global simply makes good business sense.

However, the work required to develop enterprises in this manner – or maintain successful globalised businesses – is extensive and ongoing. Fundamental to this is having a good understanding of new and prospective international audiences and how they’ll respond to new products or services.

To achieve this, businesses will need to carry out or commission an agency to conduct research into markets, but not the kind they’re used to. Instead of a singular approach to designing, gathering, recording, analysing and interpreting information, there will be a need for more bespoke approaches that are localised to deliver the most accurate data in the most useful and relevant way.

And essential to all of this is translation, which ensures that all your efforts, materials and data are accurately expressed and captured, so that when it comes to analysis and then the forming of a report, everyone is confident of the integrity of project. Quality translation therefore provides your international market research with the legitimacy it needs.

The value is in the professionalism of a language services provider tasked with carrying out this important feature of market research at a global level. Without this assurance, you run the risk of delivering a flawed study, one which can be compromised early on.

For example, if in the early stages of generating questions for a questionnaire you fail to localise the language, much of the original meaning can be lost and/or be understood in a different way. Resultingly, a respondent’s answer can either be distorted or completely useless (the response basically being a response to a “different” question).

One mistake in one market is bad enough, but imagine that being duplicated across multiple samples and, moreover, everyone being oblivious to the anomalies. This can have serious repercussions and what a business may think it understands about a particular market may be wide off the mark.

Which, of course, is not what organisations expect, as Didier Truchot, founder, chairman and chief executive officer of IPSOS, explained in ESOMAR’s 2014 Global Market Research report. They have high standards and expect as much across four key areas.

This includes security, meaning research needs to be free of errors and completely compliant; speed, which concerns quick turnarounds ; simplicity, referring to “easily digestible and easily actionable research”; and substance, of which which Mr Truchot says:

“For each of our projects, we need to be sure we’re creating some set of information – insights that will bring to our clients an output where we can really learn something – not just providing information for the sake of providing information”.

Seasoned translators are a vital component of enabling project to confidently tick off these four areas. Those that specialise or have a background in the research industry, for example, will be aware of the importance of the four areas stressed by Mr Truchot and furthermore be knowledgeable about concepts, processes and terminology unique to this sector.

That level of comprehension, skill and nous is invaluable and when it comes to international market research you cannot afford to make any concessions with translation. You want, after all, the security that comes with professional language experts to ensure you are able to benefit from the most authentic research.

And, when you’re operating at a global level, that assurance – that what you’re getting back has been meticulously executed – is just what you need to stand out, to be competitive and, best of all, to have a little bit of edge.

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