Sunday, April 04, 2010

Translating Surveys

Jeffrey Henning of VoVici has a series of excellent articles about preparing multilingual surveys and questionnaires. He does not start at the translation process, but goes further back and concentrates on designing. His advice:

(1)The biggest mistake you can make is to assume that you simply have to translate the English questionnaire into other languages.

(2) When you think about the problem as one of localization, you realize that you need different editions of the questionnaire for different markets.

(3) Write the master questionnaire with translation in mind.

(4) Design the questionnaire up front to minimize open-ended questions.

(5) A survey translation is not just a translation of the survey itself.

(6) Don't submit the master questionnaire for translation until it is "final final".

(7) Back translate the survey into the native language of the survey author.

And the DON'Ts?

(1) Do not use free translation software.

(2) Don't give it to someone who is not a professional translator.

(3) Don't be in a hurry. Give it plenty of time.

(4) Don't be stingy on back-translating.

(5) Don't under-budget. It costs.

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