Posted By P & L Blog

International online testing of product concepts and brand perception requires multilingual surveys. Best practices in international market research show that your prep work needs to go beyond translation.

The survey template will need to allow for different languages. The number of words in the survey will increase when you translate it into languages like Spanish or German. Leave extra space in the design of the template, or consider using a slightly smaller font.

Brand names can differ from one market to another so make sure your questionnaire is correct for each country.

Are there any weights and measures in the survey? Double check that they are correct for the markets where the study will take place.

Use local units of currency. The use of commas and decimals in numbers can be different than in the U. S.: $1,000.00 would be written as $1.000,00 in some countries.

Some of your graphics and icons may be unfamiliar to some respondents. Look for images that are more commonly used in that region. Icons as simple as exit signs are not the same in every country.

The online survey is only one part of the translation project. Any point of contact with the participants needs to be in their languages including:

Invitation emails
Introductory text
Captions on buttons (Back, Next, etc.)
Any validation or error messages
Messages thanking respondents for their participation

If you are inviting people to participate by email, remember that greeting strangers by their first name is considered rude in some markets. Using titles and last names to address respondents can increase the number of respondents.

Participants in some markets will not provide the personal information (age, income, level of education, etc.) commonly requested in market research surveys in the U. S. Reduce the number of personal questions to increase response levels.

For more tips to save time and money on your next translation project, visit  Request your FREE copy of "14 Things You Can Do to Stay on Budget".

By Janine Libbey, Partner, P & L Translations, Nashville, Tennessee

Janine Libbey developed her expertise in international marketing, multilingual communications and advertising working on some of the world's best known consumer brands. She has worked for a publishing company in Barcelona, a record label in Madrid, and ad agencies in Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Hispanic market.

P & L Translations is certified as a Women Business Enterprise (WBE) in Tennessee by the Governor's Office of Diversity Business Enterprise.

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Myth #4: Translations can be done in a couple of days.

Fact: If it took you two months to write manual, it’s going to take time for someone to translate it, someone else to edit it, and a third person to proofread it. Each project is unique: the number of words in the original document, the complexity of the subject matter, and the quality of the writing in the original all affect turn-around time.  Reputable translations services companies will explain this to you.


Myth #5: Translations are too expensive and I won’t get my money’s worth.

Fact: Translations cost less than the development of your original documents and allow you to reach many more customers than you can in English.  Translations deliver a high ROI on a relatively small investment.


Myth #6: Most internet users speak English so I don’t need my website translated.


Fact:  Only 30% of internet users worldwide are English speakers.  Usage studies show that customers are four times more likely to purchase from websites in their language and they will spend twice as long on translated sites. 


Myth #7: In this economic climate, we shouldn’t be investing in translations. 

Fact: In a downturn, a great marketing strategy is to expand in foreign markets. Decreasing demand at home does not translate into shrinking sales abroad.  Make your website and product information accessible to your foreign customers by offering them in their native languages.


To learn more about how you to use translations as part of an effective business strategy, visit 


P & L Translations specializes in translations and bilingual copywriting services for companies targeting new markets and new consumer groups.


P & L Translations: When it comes to translations, we mean business.

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Translations are an essential part of any business strategy to expand overseas. Businesses that don’t offer their customers information in their native languages may be losing ground to foreign competitors.  Here are the most common myths about translations and the facts that dispel them.



Myth #1: Anyone who speaks another language can translate.


Fact: Just because you speak English doesn’t mean you are a writer.  The man in Accounting who took Spanish in college may be able to translate some written correspondence, but more complex documents, marketing materials and your website should be handled by educated professional translators.


Myth #2: Translating is just substituting one word in English with another in the target language.


Fact: English has approximately twice as many words as Spanish.  Exchanging one word for another just won't work.  A skilled translator makes sure that the nuances and subtleties of your text are present in the translated version as well.


Myth #3: Free on-line translations are accurate and good enough for me.


Fact: Computer or machine translations lack the ability to identify nuances or even, in some cases, to correctly identify words.  Something as simple as the “Contact Us” section on our website was translated on-line into Spanish as “Contact the U.S.”.  Is that what you want for your company?









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