Market Research

How to create & review a high-quality multilingual survey

As the name may suggest, multilingual surveys are surveys offered in different languages to reach a wider audience. In turn, this provides greater market insights alongside a deeper understanding of consumers from diverse backgrounds. Both small and large businesses can benefit from getting feedback from clients from diverse demographics. Let’s look at how to create and review a high-quality multilingual survey for the best results.

Why multilingual surveys matter

Did you know that, while English is often regarded as the most widely used language across multiple countries, there are actually over 7000 languages worldwide and only 25% that actually do speak English in any capacity. Even with a good grasp, it can be difficult for non-native speakers to understand the nuances behind the questions being asked in market research surveys. This means that only offering feedback forms in one language can not only limit the information you can receive, but there will be no guarantee that the responses will be relevant or accurate.

To carry out highly accurate market research, it’s imperative to gather responses from a broad and diverse respondent pool. This will allow for a more comprehensive understanding of various markets and enable more informed decisions about your product and service offerings.

The process of creating a multilingual survey

Aiming to reach global markets? Market research is your key asset. Feedback is crucial for obtaining real-time, relevant business data. It offers insights into the performance of your products; services; staff; and customer-service. It also helps identify strong points and areas needing improvement.

Here’s a suggested roadmap to guide you in creating an impactful multilingual survey:

1. Define a target audience

This may seem like the most obvious thing to do when creating a high-quality multilingual survey, but it is undoubtedly the most important thing you can do. A target audience is the specific group of people that you want to reach and gain information from, so it can be worthwhile to define a customer profile. This should cover the intended age and location of the participant, alongside other pertinent information like gender and income. Once these have been defined, you can begin to curate your survey around more tailored questions including interests, shopping habits and more.

2. Consider cultural differences and localisation practices during translation

Once you have a good idea of your target audience and have created the survey that will give you the deepest market insights and feedback, it will be time to get it translated. But a straight translation won’t be good enough to optimally get the actual information you need. You will need to consider having it localised to ensure that no information or sentiment is lost. A specialist language company could be your best bet in this instance, as they will understand all the cultural nuances of a host of demographics, as well as language syntax and even vernacular to provide the right level of understanding and context to the questions asked.

3. Reviewing and improving your multilingual survey

When the above steps are complete, roll out your survey for a limited time or to a small percentage of your demographic. Then review the answers in relation to the questions to ensure everything was understood by the readership. Be sure to collect the exact locations of the recipients taking the surveys, to properly understand how specific demographics respond.

Best practices to consider when creating a multilingual survey

There are a host of best practices that you can implement to improve the surveys you provide to ensure that your surveys hit the mark every time and in every language:

Choose a base language

Begin your survey in one primary language. Using a base language ensures clear, accurate, and meaningful questions. It reduces the chances of ambiguity, allowing you to achieve the desired level of detail and depth in the responses. 

Maintain uniform response order

This promotes consistency and eases data interpretation. Ensuring consistent response order across all language versions of the survey helps to avoid confusion when collating and interpreting data. It also guarantees that responses are comparable across all versions, ensuring unbiased results.

Review responses across languages

Compare data across versions to ensure accuracy. This helps to ensure that no nuances or meanings are lost in translation, which could potentially skew your results. 

Identify common issues

Spot recurring problems to target relevant solutions. By identifying recurring issues across different language versions of the survey, you can hone in on common areas of concern or improvement. This insight can be instrumental in making necessary adjustments and ensuring the survey’s effectiveness.

Language-specific reporting

Keep reports in each language distinct. Doing this helps in understanding the nuances and specific sentiments of the respondents from different linguistic backgrounds. It also makes the analysis more accurate and comprehensive.

Native analysis and review

Use a specialist service for native data analysis to ensure a high level of linguistic and cultural understanding. This allows for an in-depth analysis that takes into account language nuances, cultural contexts, and regional peculiarities that could impact survey results.

Use data for future decisions

The data collected from multilingual surveys can inform future business and marketing strategies. They can reveal trends, preferences, and opportunities within diverse markets, enabling more targeted and effective decision-making.

Successful multilingual surveys: a case study

There are a host of businesses that can benefit from multilingual customer experiences and the case studies are apparent across a host of industries. One of the most prominent companies to make use of multilingual surveys is AMSCREEN, the company built and run by Sir Alan Sugar. This company has utilised multilingual surveys for decades to help them to reach the right audiences as they sell advertising space, to ensure that they partner the right companies with the right locations for maximum impact.


Multilingual surveys will allow businesses to have access to a greater level of data and at a much higher quality. This is alongside the benefits of building better client relationships, reinforcing brand sentiment, and getting faster survey results. Combined, localising your market research survey can help you to tap into a broader and more diverse consumer base.

Review your existing survey strategies by contacting a professional language services provider to help you to create the best multilingual solutions for your business today.

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