July 5, 2021

How Interpreting Can Support Market Research

When businesses go global, their target audience not only broadens quantitatively but also becomes more diverse from a cultural and linguistic perspective. This growth brings countless new opportunities for firms in an expansion journey, but it also comes with the bigger challenge of understanding a wider range of customs, needs and desires, and how to cater to them successfully.  
Market research is a vital tool to gain insight into these global audiences and provide organisations with the key data that will support their international growth strategies. In this context, where consumer feedback, opinions and comments come in a range of different languages, accurate translation becomes a core necessity to ensure these insights are accessible and understood in different markets across the world. 
The power of interpreting in market research 
Translation is essential in market research, especially for quantitative research methods: surveys or polls, for example, can be translated into a range of different languages to suit the specific needs of a client. Machine translation can also be implemented for specific projects in which cost and time efficiencies are a top priority, and multilingual responses can be processed through coding to speed up the finding of insights. 
However, it may be a different story when it comes to qualitative methods, where capturing the nuances of a particular language and even the smallest inflections of an individual’s speech are vital to gain an in-depth understanding of what they are saying. In a one-on-one interview or a small discussion or focus group, for example, the tone and nuances of what is being said may get lost in a transcript and/or in a later translation. The interviewee may resort to humour or irony to give feedback on a product, which may pose challenges to machine-aided methods of translation, or even when translating a direct transcript. 
In these cases, sim trans can be an invaluable tool. While interpreters work largely on the linguistic level, rendering what a speaker is saying into the target language, they also work with non-verbal cues including gestures and body language to decode as accurately as possible what is being communicated. They can also factor in changes in tone or inflection to obtain a clearer picture of what the speaker is saying, which results in a richer, more accurate interpretation into the target language. Interpreters can also carry out this work remotely, through videoconference or telephone, or even asynchronously, using a recording of the session. 
Likewise, if, for instance, the interviewee uses local expressions or slang terms or phrases to reply to a question, a native interpreter will be able to provide an adequate equivalent in the target language on the spot, where a direct translation would otherwise become meaningless. A voice-to-text software used to obtain a transcript of the conversation might struggle with this task, in turn impacting the quality of a later translation. Post-editing from a human linguist would be needed to make amendments, therefore multiplying the steps a researcher needs to unearth insights in a multilingual project. Interpreting can help streamline this process.  
In this sense, sim trans has the advantage of immediacy: there is no need to wait for a transcript and a translation of what was discussed to understand what the results of the session were. This helps to reduce turnaround times and makes relevant insights available to researchers without further delays.  
Moreover, sim trans can help ensure consistency across large, multimarket research projects. Using interpreters means the same formats can be implemented across different markets, with questions being asked in the same way, no matter the language. 
Interpreting is a powerful force that brings down linguistic barriers and gives businesses everywhere the opportunity to better understand their target audiences, even when they don’t share a language or a culture. THG Fluently specialises in multilingual market research and works with a network of native interpreters with solid industry expertise, so businesses can rest assured that not even the slightest detail of consumer feedback gets lost in translation. 
At THG Fluently, we’ve been providing interpreting services to the market research sector for almost 20 years. In that time, we’ve learned what it takes to support organisations seeking to gain a deeper insight into global audiences. So, if you’d like to learn more about how we can support your business by providing interpreting services for your next project, feel free to get in touch.
Did you know we have a dedicated bookings portal for our interpreting clients? It allows you to book interpreters on demand, manage your bookings, and much more — all in the same place. So, if you’re working on a multimarket project, you can get the language support you need quickly and easily. Take a quick tour of our portal here.

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