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Quality in market research translation

By Katie Reed | March 7, 2023 | Blog Market Research Translation Tips

It goes without saying but we’ll say it anyway: quality in market research translation is vital. It informs every decision in the translation process from linguistic selection to pre-delivery checks.

In this blog we look at the key aspects of ensuring quality in market research translation, including the value of ISO certification, the online quality control process (or online QC) and the importance of using experienced Project Managers to oversee the project from start to finish.


Quality standards in translation

In most industries, ISO standards are recognised as providing peace of mind not only in the processes being followed but also reassurance that the end product, result or service is the best it can be. There are two standards relevant to quality in market research translation.


ISO 17100

Applicable to all translation for all industries, ISO 17100 is an internationally recognised standard and considered to be the gold standard in translation quality. The standard include all aspects of the translation process that directly affect the quality and delivery of services, including processes, translator qualifications and technical resources.

In addition to the linguist’s own quality checks, the standard includes full revision, also known as proofreading, by a second, equally-qualified linguist. This additional step provides peace of mind that any potential remaining errors or inconsistencies have been caught and corrected. Expert Project Managers will then conduct their own thorough quality checks before the final product is delivered to the client.


ISO 20252:2019 (E)

ISO 20252:2019 (E) is the international standard for market, opinion and social research. It demonstrates commitment to quality research, adherence to legal requirements and confidentiality among other things.

Covering the entire research process, it includes a section on translation, the competence and experience of the linguists and the process to be followed. Compliance with this standard is an essential part of outstanding quality in market research translation.


Online quality checking (online QC)

Online quality checking (online QC) is a critical step in the quality assurance process. A dummy run-through as a respondent enables the linguist to review their translation in situ and check for any previously unidentified display, piping, insert or routing issues. It also checks that desired respondents are not screened out and, if they are, which end page they see. Avoiding potential issues can save on inconsistent data and a costly relaunch.

Online QC is particularly useful when dealing with non-Latin alphabets and character languages, such as Arabic and Chinese. It may include various levels of checks, either with the translator who worked on the survey or with a second proofreader in the event a second opinion is required.


Experienced project management

An experienced Project Manager not only oversees the translation project from start to finish, they also help with planning of the project. This expert intervention smooths the process and also reduces back and forth between you and your end client.



The first task of the Project Manager is to prepare a quote for your project. As part of this process, they will prepare your files, screening the text for complexities and duplicated copy to guarantee the word count and cost are accurate. Their expertise should also enable them to identify potential challenges and anomalies for the linguists, saving time in the long run. As they work on your files, they will familiarise themselves with your project, speeding up the process when they get your go-ahead.


Selecting and liaising with linguists

Often before your project has even started, the PM will be liaising with linguists, handpicking them based not only on their language combination and specialist subjects but also an understanding of each translator’s strengths. They also handle any queries, pre-screening and grouping them to forward to you, saving time during the project and after its delivery.


Managing project timelines

A key element of any project and time-sensitive market research projects in particular is the deadline. Knowing when the translations will be ready is vital. Your Project Manager will provide realistic and achievable timings, taking into account project size, linguist availability and quality assurance procedures. The deadline, once confirmed, should not be subject to change, leaving you safe in the knowledge your overall project timeline won’t be affected.


Ensuring quality

In any discussion on quality in market research translation, pre-delivery quality checks are pivotal. Scheduled into the overall project timings, they should follow industry best practice, ISO 20252, as previously discussed but may also include proprietary procedures. Quality from a PM point of view starts with the selection of the best linguists available, following establishes processes and final checks prior to delivering the translations. Their industry and client-specific experience plays a starring role in their ability to meet expectations and deliver to deadline.


Handling client feedback

It’s crucial, in a tightly-run market research project, that any feedback from you or the end client will be reviewed professionally and promptly. Time is of the essence so feedback and potential file updates should be expedited. When you know end clients will review and feed back on translations, letting your PM know up front will help speed up the process.


The TLF quality process

At The Language Factory, quality assurance is our top priority and plays a key part in each stage of our process, from ensuring your documents are translation-ready and hand-picking the right linguist to checking the completed translation before delivery to deadline.

Working across a range of sectors, including market research, healthcare, marketing, PR and advertising, travel and tourism, and HR and employee development, our global network of experienced specialist translators, market-leading technology and expert Project Managers, ensures you receive flawless translations and a seamless end-to-end service.

For more tips and advice download the TLF Ultimate guide to translation for market research or contact us to discuss your next translation project.


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