Translation in the Market Research Industry

Market research is the process that links the end users to the marketing contact through information used to identify and define marketing opportunities and problems, generate, refine, and evaluate marketing actions,  monitor marketing performance and improve understanding of marketing as a process.

Marketing research specifies the information required to address these issues, designs the method for collecting information, manages and implements the data collection process, analyzes the results, and communicates the findings and their implications.

Market research is a necessary tool to reach out to the customer, in order to understand their needs and help target products and services offerings based on the exact needs of the customer.

But, what if your target audience is a non-English speaking audience?

In order to truly understand market research results from a foreign market, high quality translation is a necessary process that needs to be understood and properly implemented.

Market research translation can be a valuable tool for success in reaching new markets; either you are a small company trying to reach out to new markets or a multinational corporation working on fine tuning their products and services for a global market.

In order for a global market research effort to be successful, several components need to be adequately implemented.

-        Content creation: Questionnaires need to be created while keeping in mind that a translation phase will follow (referred to in the localization industry as internationalization).

-         Experience: The translators and editor need to have a thorough understanding of the language and culture in which they are working; a mistranslation in this vertical could literally make or break a company.

-        Objectives: The entire production team working behind the scenes needs to have a clear understanding of the survey objectives, the audience and the results.

Below are a few indicators of a good market research translation:

-        Market research translation is not similar to any other translation project. It’s important for questionnaires, surveys and other materials to demonstrate an understanding of the cultural and social norms of the target audience in order to get accurate results, while the questions should be worded in a way that lead to meaningful conclusions.

-        Choose an experienced market research translation partner: The translation teams should not only have the proper experience but also the right tools to ensure the ultimate success of the project. The ideal translation partner should have the engineering capabilities to work on the coding and software initially used to create the original questionnaires, as well as an ability to put the finished product into the right format.

-       The perfect translation partner should have a proven track record of completing high quality projects on time. With market research translation, there are often strict deadlines that must be met, specific tools to be used and detailed processes to be followed. Choosing the right partner could be a huge influence in making your project successful.

At ABLE Innovations, we have the experience, the tools and the knowledge to make your international research project a success. We welcome any opportunity to discuss your current and future projects and to guide you throughout the process.



5 reasons NOT to use Machine Translation

Machine translation (MT) is a computer based technology that allows the user to translate from one language to another without any human input. MT uses HTML or XML strings to extract the content to be translated and replaces each word with its equivalent in the target language.

It is important not to confuse MT with Translation Memory (TM) tools. Translation Memory tools are widely used by professional translators to keep translations consistent between projects.  As opposed to MT, CAT tools are human based technologies and can also be thought of as banks where the translation is saved as the translation is being processed.  It allows the translators to shorten the turnaround time and review existing translations from previous projects in order to maintain the same terminology, style and industry specific jargon (Legal, Pharmaceutical, etc.)

The first web-based MT tool was developed by SYSTRAN in the early 90s.  It offered a simple web interface, where one could enter a few words which would then be automatically translated into the target language – similar to a bilingual dictionary. Over the last few years, Google Translate has emerged as the leader in this field. Google recently announced that its translation tool translates the equivalent of one million books a day.

Considering the growth over the last few years, MT will be a major player in the translation industry in the near future. That’s the reason ABLE Innovations is keeping a very close eye on its development, and contributing to its growth as much as possible.

If you are looking to translate one or two simple words from one language to another, MT can be the way to go in most cases. However here are five reasons NOT to use MT for professional applications:

-A machine will always be a machine: Unlike human translation, MT does not understand the context of the translation.  Is the translation intended for a first grader or a brain-surgeon?  MT will generate the same results regardless of your target audience.

-Content creators invest a considerable amount of time in making their content appeal to their specific audiences. Whether you are translating Shakespeare or the sport section of today’s newspaper MT will generate the same results which could lead to a complete misunderstanding of the translation.

-In any language, an action or an item could be described or written in an almost unlimited number of ways (i.e. car, vehicle, automobile, etc). In some instances only one word would fit the definition. MT is not smart enough to understand that, which may lead to confusion for the intended audience in some cases.

-Even if it appears cheaper up-front, machine translation can end up costing more in the long run.  If you dump a large amount of content, you risk receiving nonsense in return.  The cost of having a professional translation firm resolve quality issues can result in longer overall turnarounds and additional costs.  ABLE Innovations highly encourages all of its clients to consult us before using MT.

-Company image: in today’s fast growing world, content is available to the intended audience instantly, which means that there is no room for error. While some companies think they are saving by using MT, their image could be at risk and that can cost a considerable amount of time and money and restore.

At ABLE Innovations, we are always looking for new technologies to help us shine in the industry and consistently provide outstanding language services to our clients. Although we are following MT’s development very closely, it is simply not yet the magic bullet it may seem.


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