Why Translate Your International Surveys?


Sara Maria Hasbun

Teal Flower
Teal Flower
Teal Flower

Are you translating your international surveys?

English represents only 25% of all online users, and only 5% of the world’s speakers. Whether you are conducting market research, due diligence questionnaires, or private equity surveys, there is a good chance that you can grow your advantage by including at least one other region in your portfolio.

Consider SurveyMonkey, one of the world’s largest providers of survey software. Five years ago, 85% of SurveyMonkey’s surveys were in English.

Now, the platform supports 17 languages, with over 45% of their users residing outside of the US. With the vast majority of SurveyMonkey surveys being launched by companies rather than individuals, this shows how important international surveys have become to the business community.

Reasons you should consider translating your surveys

Reduce dropout rates

Survey respondents are more likely to complete your survey if they don’t have to struggle to understand it. In the fields of due diligence and private equity, it may be true that most of your respondents may have high levels of English proficiency. However, even proficient English speakers prefer to read and write in their native language.

Increase accuracy

Even if your respondents know English, you will collect more thorough and more accurate data if you reach out in their own language. When surveys include qualitative data, your data coders will find it much easier to categorize and analyze data that was translated well.

Expand your reach

If your surveys are designed to provide you with insight into international opportunities, then you will multiply your potential with each added region.

To ensure an effective translation strategy for your international surveys, make sure that your translation provider understands the intricacies of survey localization. Successful survey localization includes considerations related to the survey platform requirements, piping and logic, regional terminology, cultural considerations, and survey coding.

Case Study

Let's consider a due diligence survey that examines the brand penetration of a target company in India, with customers throughout all 8 states.

It would certainly be possible to collect some data with an English survey, as the Indian populace famously has very high levels of English proficiency.

However, did you know that 8 out of every 9 Indian internet users access the internet in a non-English language?

Translating your survey into Hindi (the official language of business in India) could potentially deliver multiple more respondents, not to mention clearer and more ample data.

And translating your survey into any of the other official languages can win you several hundred million more respondents. Adding Bengali alone yields access to your market’s segment of India’s 97 million Bengali speakers.

A successful due diligence survey will, in this case, take into careful account any cultural differences between the various regions, and will adjust piping and logic accordingly. Business differences can also be accounted for: if we already know that consumers in the state of Kashmir don’t have access to a specific product, the survey can be coded and translated in a way that removes that product from the survey, and that keeps your data clean.

Even as the pandemic has caused an overall decline in dealmaking, regional diversification can yield strong returns. For example, with Brazilian deals growing an impressive 400% between 2019 and 2021, you can bet that many investors were happy to go the extra step and localize their research and due diligence into Portuguese!